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This week I sit down with Cameron Hughes, the man some folks are dubbing the robin hood of wine. Hughes owns no vineyards, makes no wine, but he has an inside connection to some of the best wineries that do. The way the model works is many top wineries produce wine that either doesn’t fit in to their profile or they make too much of a wine. That’s where Hughes steps in. He buys up the excess lots and then markets them under his own label and sells them direct on his website or through Costco. Because Hughes bypasses traditional middle men and marketing fees, he’s able to offer incredible wines for about $10 bucks.
Now I know this all sounds too good to be true. I was skeptical myself. I’m very concerned about craftsmanship and it seems that if this excess wine was any good, it would be selling, or the wineries would market the wines themselves. I don’t know why I decided to listen to Hughes. I guess part of it was the Two Buck Chuck, or Charles Shaw cheap wines phenomenon. While I don’t drink it everyday, Charles Shaw is a good drinkable wine and it’s cheap. I was curious why I’d want to pay more. As you’ll hear in the interview, there is no comparison. Hughes wines are superior to Charles Shaw and only for a few bucks more.
If you are in Chicago, Hughes will be in store at the Lincoln Park, Glenview and Oakbrook Costcos this weekend telling his story. My personal favorite was the Lot 14, a nice spicy 2003 Merlot.
If you have Adobe Flash installed, you can play the file right on this site, below, by pressing the play button. If not, download the file and play it on your PC or on an MP3 player here: Cameron Hughes Interview