Wine Futures refers to buying wine after it is made, but before it’s bottled. At times, samples are made available for tasting in the tasting room or to the wine trade. The wine is generally bottled and shipped anywhere from 6 months to two years later. In addition, Futures are offered at a price below what it will retail at when it is released.

When we visited the Santa Barbara region in 2006 and we purchased Futures from Rideau Vineyards. We chose their Premium tasting and had the opportunity to taste two futures: 2005 Iris’ Estate Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley and the 2004 Iris’ Estate Syrah, Bon Temps Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley. When we tasted the Viognier it has an amazing finish of banana. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. The Syrah was very good as well. We purchased a case of each and it was shipped 6 months later, when it was released.

Once you taste Futures, will it taste the same when it arrives at your doorstep? Sometimes. I will tell you that the Viognier didn’t have that banana finish I tasted in the tasting room. It had flavors of pears. Still a very good wine, but I was disappointed that the banana finish wasn’t there. And I don’t even like bananas!

My suggestion if you purchase futures is to purchase through a winery you trust. Many times, wineries will offer futures to their wine club members or email list. If you know and trust the winery (and wine maker) and know they produce quality wine to your liking…. go for it!! You most likely won’t be disappointed. Especially if the winery is a small production winery or the vintage that is being offered is a small production. Don’t wait, because when you do decide, it might be to late and there will be none available.