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Spring Members Party 2023 9

Our Futures Program: The Top 6 Things You Should Know

Posted: Aug 4, 2023

Imag­ine buy­ing wines before they have even left the bar­rel, let alone hit the shelves of your favorite store! For two decades, Beck­men Vine­yards has been open­ing our cel­lar doors each fall, offer­ing a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to taste our lim­it­ed-pro­duc­tion red wines, as they patient­ly mature in oak bar­rels. Read on to find out every­thing you need to know about the work­ings of our annu­al Futures pro­gram, and why this could be the best wine invest­ment you ever make.

1. What are Futures and why should I be interested?

Our Futures Pro­gram is a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for our cus­tomers to get a sneak peek at some ear­ly wine sam­ples and get to know the wines from their incep­tion”, says our wine­mak­er Steve Beck­men. When you pur­chase wines through our Futures pro­gram, you’re get­ting the best pos­si­ble price at any time. The oppor­tu­ni­ty is golden.”

Wine Futures, also known as en primeur” (mean­ing as a first’ direct­ly trans­lat­ed from French), is a tra­di­tion that can be traced back all the way to the 18th cen­tu­ry in Bor­deaux, France. The prac­tice entails offer­ing wines for sale while still in the bar­rels, typ­i­cal­ly a few months after the har­vest and long before they have matured enough to be bot­tled and offi­cial­ly released to the mar­ket. This pre-pur­chas­ing mod­el served as a prime oppor­tu­ni­ty for all wine lovers to secure their share of high­ly sought-after wines at a very desir­able price point before they became avail­able to the gen­er­al public.

The tra­di­tion was born from Bor­deaux wine­mak­ers’ eager­ness to get a sense of the market’s recep­tion to their hard work. They began sell­ing their wines ear­ly to mer­chants. Over the cen­turies, this evolved into an annu­al event, allow­ing for buy­ers to secure wines at poten­tial­ly low­er prices, while winer­ies got ear­ly fund­ing to sup­port their pro­duc­tion. This con­cept spread rapid­ly to wine regions across the world from Bur­gundy to Napa Val­ley, and now right here to San­ta Bar­bara Coun­ty.

Unlike tra­di­tion­al prac­tices, we’ve tak­en a cus­tomer-friend­ly approach in San­ta Bar­bara Coun­ty, where pre-orders are not charged upfront. Instead, buy­ers are billed only when the wine is released, between Octo­ber 2023 and April 2024, spread­ing out the payments.

2. What wines are included in the 2023 Futures program and what makes them special?

The 2023 Futures pro­gram at Beck­men Vine­yards includes a care­ful­ly curat­ed selec­tion of small pro­duc­tion wines, many of which are antic­i­pat­ed to sell out after the Futures and quar­ter­ly club ship­ments. Among these exclu­sive offer­ings, the Purisi­ma Red Wine stands out as a unique col­lec­tor’s item, not avail­able in the quar­ter­ly ship­ments, mak­ing the Futures pro­gram the ide­al place to pur­chase it. What tru­ly sets these wines apart is that they are hand­picked by Steve, the wine­mak­er, rep­re­sent­ing some of his top choic­es from the vintage.

The six wines includ­ed in the 2023 Futures pro­gram are:

  • 2022 Purisi­ma Moun­tain Vine­yard Grenache Libre A French Rhône-like Grenache, show­cas­ing vibrant fruit and spice with a well-struc­tured grace.

  • 2022 Purisi­ma Moun­tain Vine­yard Syrah Clone 1 The 22nd vin­tage with the clas­sic allure of clone 1, com­bin­ing the rich fla­vors of bacon fat, choco­late, and deep dark fruits.

  • 2021 Purisi­ma Moun­tain Vine­yard Syrah Block Six Cool vin­tage and superb struc­ture high­light this clas­sic, min­er­al­ly Block Six Syrah, promis­ing grace­ful aging for 20+ years.
  • 2021 Purisi­ma Red Wine A Futures exclu­sive, this 100% Syrah show­cas­es the finest Block Six selec­tion, a rar­i­ty often sold out upon release.

  • 2021 TLB (Thomas Lau­rence Beck­men) Bold and vibrant, this wine, named after our founder Tom, is accen­tu­at­ed with 15% Syrah, adding a live­ly ten­sion to its fruit flavors.

  • 2021 Estate Caber­net Sauvi­gnon This offer­ing is a deep and rich dance of pre­ci­sion and bold struc­ture, an entic­ing jour­ney in every glass.
3. How can I participate in the Futures Program and what does the process look like?

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pro­gram is now more sim­ple and acces­si­ble than ever, with bar­rel tast­ings being car­ried out both on the Beck­men Vine­yards estate as well as online. You can also sub­mit a Futures pre-order with­out tast­ing the wines.

If you’re near­by, join us for on-site Futures tast­ings on Sat­ur­days and Sun­days at 1pm from Sep­tem­ber 30 to Octo­ber 22 at a cost of $50 per per­son. Steve leads tast­ings on Sat­ur­days on our patio, while Kip (our Tast­ing Room Man­ag­er) hosts on Sun­days, often in our inti­mate cel­lar room for small­er gath­er­ings. You can also arrange a week­day tast­ing with Kip by appoint­ment. Live tast­ings promise an immer­sive expe­ri­ence, com­plete with a cheese­board from a local cheesery and an intro­duc­tion to our six select wines.

Futures event 2
Winemaker Steve Beckmen presents Futures wines.

If you can’t make it in per­son, you can still expe­ri­ence the rich­ness of our wines through vir­tu­al Futures tast­ings on Zoom on spe­cif­ic dates in Octo­ber. Led by our Sales Direc­tor, Jeff Beck­men, these tast­ings cost $50, inclu­sive of a kit that con­tains 50ml sam­ples of the six dif­fer­ent wines, their details, and our wine­mak­er’s tast­ing notes, plus ship­ping (for peo­ple liv­ing in hot places like Texas and Flori­da, we rec­om­mend FedEx refrig­er­at­ed ship­ping due to poten­tial weath­er delays).

4. How does pre-ordering work?

The six wines includ­ed in the Futures pro­gram can be pre-ordered from August through Octo­ber. We require a three-bot­tle min­i­mum pre-order for each wine, and ground ship­ping is includ­ed on all wines if the total pre-order is 12+ bot­tles. A tast­ing fee is also refund­ed with each 12 bot­tle pre-order; two tast­ings would be refund­ed with a 24 bot­tle pre-order.

The six wines will be bot­tled and released at dif­fer­ent stages between this fall and spring of next year, so as your pre-ordered wine becomes ready, you will be charged for your allot­ment. For exam­ple, if you pre-ordered the Grenache Libre you will be charged when it is released in April 2024.

You can sub­mit your pre-order here.

5. What advice does Steve have when tasting these wines?

Con­sid­er the ener­gy and feel of the wine. Think about how it’s hit­ting your palate and how it fin­ish­es. Is it soft­er, rounder, or more tan­nic? These are all clues as to how the wine will have aged once it arrives at your door”, Steve advis­es.

Wines sold at Futures are dis­count­ed at the low­est price they’ll ever be offered at,” Steve says. This is a chance to secure the bot­tle you’ve always want­ed and keep it in your cel­lar for years to come, pos­si­bly even a lifetime.”

6. How does the Futures program reveal the winemaking process at Beckmen Vineyards?

For near­ly twen­ty years, Beck­men Vine­yards has opened our cel­lar doors to our mem­bers for a rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to taste a lim­it­ed selec­tion of our small pro­duc­tion red wines still aging in oak bar­rels. Beyond the unde­ni­able pur­chas­ing val­ue that Futures offers, Steve also notes the edu­ca­tion­al ben­e­fits it can bring. Futures can real­ly enhance a drinker’s under­stand­ing of the wine. You’re tast­ing it from its infan­cy and once it’s evolved, so you real­ly begin to under­stand what’s hap­pen­ing to the wine through­out its time in the bar­rel”, he explains.

Guests learn how the wine was grown, why it was made, and what deci­sions ulti­mate­ly went into craft­ing the par­tic­u­lar wine before them. Tast­ings are car­ried out by Steve him­self, and guests make notes on each wine’s qual­i­ties as they go along. It’s a real­ly fun and inter­ac­tive event that our com­mu­ni­ty looks for­ward to”, says Steve. Being able to expe­ri­ence wine through its dif­fer­ent stages of devel­op­ment is hard to come by, as most peo­ple will only ever taste the wine once its final iter­a­tion enters the mar­ket. With Futures, how­ev­er, the rela­tion­ship with the wine you pur­chase is lengthy and intimate.

The track record shows that it’s hard to go wrong. Beck­men Vine­yards wines sold dur­ing the Futures pro­gram have his­tor­i­cal­ly been some of the best we’ve ever pro­duced, with many sell­ing out before even becom­ing avail­able to the pub­lic. After all, as Steve reminds us, Great wine is always great.”

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