Geyser Peak gets a new owner – can that save the brand?

geyser peak

“Seriously — someone put riesling in this?”

Geyser Peak, once a great cheap wine brand, has seen sales fall by one-half and quality sink perhaps even more

Dear Robert Pepi Jr.:

I see you are the consultant for the new owners of Geyser Peak, once one of California’s great cheap wine brands. This is welcome news, given your family’s long tradition with sauvignon blanc, the varietal that made Geyser Peak one of California’s great cheap brands. Is it possible that you can convince the wine’s new owners to restore its $10 sauvignon blanc to greatness?

I ask this because American wine drinkers are eager for a $10 California label that offers consistency, quality, and value. Because, as we have too often noted on the blog, that’s almost impossible to find anymore. Geyser Peak was once once of those wines and a member of the $10 Hall of during the blog’s early days. In fact, the Big Guy used to joke that he knew it was summer in Texas when he started drinking Geyser sauvignon blanc.

But that hasn’t been the case for a long time. Your new bosses are at least the brand’s fifth owners since 2007, and the last owner drove sales from around 300,000 cases a year to half that. And no wonder. The last couple of times I tasted the wine it was, to be polite, crummy. Who mixes riesling with sauvignon blanc unless there is an ulterior motive?

Plus, the quotes I read from the new bosses didn’t fill me with confidence: “500,000 cases. … growth potential. … expanded sales force. … honing our focus.” Shudder – nothing about making quality wine in any of that, is there?

Earlier this year, a leading wine industry analyst said California desperately needs “sexy brands at $7 or $8 per bottle. …” Which you and the new owner have the chance to do with Gesyer Peak (and a $10 price would be fine, too). Grape prices have declined, so it will be possible to buy better quality grapes to put in the wine. The brand has a long history of quality – how more reassuring than marketing it as, “Great Geyser Peak wine is back, baby!”? And maybe you can even convince the new owner that this would be the perfect way to bring younger consumers to wine – cheap, fruit forward, and a product that tastes like wine.

As always, I am ready to help in any way I can.

Yours in quality cheap wine,

The Wine Curmudgeon

Photo: Librestock, using a Creative Commons license

7 thoughts on “Geyser Peak gets a new owner – can that save the brand?

  • By Bob Foster - Reply

    Geyser Peak, it its heyday was NOT a cheap wine.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      I’m referring to the price, which was around $10, and not the quality of the wine. The quality was top-notch, and is much missed.

  • By Kellie Anderson - Reply

    Miss the heck out of Geyser Peak. Like Italian Swiss Colony up the river, the big guys just treat her like a tank farm. Sad.

  • By Beth Niles - Reply

    We felt so utterly confused and betrayed the year they added Riesling. The resulting product went from a consistent, go-to staple, house pour to two thumbs down, unpalatable and it’s been a real chore trying to find anything close to replace it with at that $8-10 price point. Come on Geyser Peak! Give us back that zingy, refreshing, crisp, dependable girl next door Sauvignon blanc we can count on. You can do this!

  • By Lisa Ehrlich - Reply

    In 2000 when I signed on at Jim Beam Brands to work on Geyser Peak it was already in decline. It was an awkward fit for a company without a wine culture, and it was not a strong enough brand to carry the few other struggling brands in the portfolio. Plus, after the purchase, JBB was saddled with some overpriced grape contracts that made it hard to deliver the price/value for which Geyser Peak was known. Even with four talented winemakers on the payroll, we couldn’t save Geyser Peak from a downward spiral. Who knows, maybe Geyser Peak is due for a retro resurgence? I wish the new owners the best.

  • By Eric Awes - Reply

    Nothing can save this brand as it’s been “kicked around the block” to many times. Same story with Buena Vista. This is happening world wide thanks to corporations Who are in the wine business that have no business being in the wine business.

  • By Hari Seldon - Reply

    well, now the search is on for a Sauvignon Blanc that will sell for under $10 ($8.99 like GP SB used to sell for, back in its heyday) to take the place of the Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc. I hope we don’t have to scour the galaxy to find one

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