|Owner(s)||Cameron Hughes, Jessica Kogan, Sam Spencer|
|Link to this site|
Founded by Cameron Hughes and partner Jessica Kogan in 2001, this is an international negociant in the true European model, sourcing wines from many wine regions of the world and offering several brands including The Flying Winemaker, Hughes Wellman, RockRidge, Evergreen, CAM Collection and the Cameron Hughes Lot Series. Cameron Hughes, whose background was in the bulk wine industry, buys oversupply quality wine from top wineries and resells it for bargain prices. A major buyer of the wines is Costco, but the wines are also sold through national grocery and independent retailers in all 50 states, as well as the website.
In the 2007 vintage, three Carneros Pinot Noirs were offered under the Cameron Hughes label: Lot 110, Lot 125, Lot 142, all priced at less than $18. The fruit came from some excellent, but secret, sources. In 2008, business boomed during the recession. There was more supply and consumers were focused on value and wineries were reluctant to sell their own labels at deep discounts, yet needed the cash flow. In 2011, Cameron Hughes Wine will bottle 120 wines, for a total of 400,000 cases. By 2014, Cameron Hughes Wine consolidated production into three facilities.
Sam Spencer is now a partner and full-time winemaker for the company. The winery still buys ready-to-bottle bulk wine, but the majority of the wines are produced with grower and winery partners to the winery's specifications. Grapes have also been purchased for high-end Napa projects.
Hughes never discloses the source of his wines on the Lot Series wines preserving a winery's anonymity. The winery source is often high-end, but the winery may need to move out surplus inventory, generate cash flow or make full use of capacity. The wines are of high quality and cover a variety of styles.
In 2013, Cameron Hughes Wines started packaging some wines in kegs using the Free Flow Wines system for on-premise accounts.
The wines are sold online (the French wine offerings are only available online) and distributed through large retailers such as Sam's Club and Costco in 38 states.
2012 Cameron Hughes Lot 409 Central Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $16. A large negociant producer producing a diverse range of wines with lot numbers on the labels. This wine was sold by Costco. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas of black plum, black currant, cardamom spice and toasty oak really attack the senses. Soft and easy to drink with suave tannins, sporting mid weight flavors of black plum, cassis, black raspberry and spicy oak. A good value priced wine that will please depending on the drinker’s tolerance for oak. Score: 87. Reviewed February 8, 2015 ARTICLE »
2009 Cameron Hughes Lot 276 Los Carneros Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $11. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. With vigorous swirling, aromas of dark plums, black currants and raisin emerge. Very ripe in character featuring plum and blackberry flavors with a vein of oak and spice. Restrained tannins and very approachable. Available at Costco. Good (-). Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »