Cameron Hughes: An American Négoçiant

We discovered the wines of Cameron Hughes in 2007; our first purchases included Lots 29,  34, and 35: Lake County Meritage, and Rutherford and Yountville Cabernets, respectively. We soon followed up with 75- and 100-year-old-vine Shiraz, and more California Cabs (including more of the Lot 35. What a great discovery, that our friend Julie Bettis had turned us on to!

Soon, although we had an ownership interest in a wine shop, we were buying over half our wines from this discovery. So what is the story behind this interesting American Négoçiant?

Cameron Hughes grew up in Modesto, California, and learned about wine from his father, Steve, who was involved in the wine industry as a salesperson, and winemaker. After getting a degree in marketing, Cameron decided wine was more interesting, so he used his–and his father’s–wine trade contacts to find wines. During the wine glut in the mid-2000s, he found excess wines from premium wineries, placed his Lot Number label on them, and sold them to major chains (e.g., Costco), and online subscribers, like us. 

The Lot concept is interesting; when a new wine comes out, we buy a bottle or two, and if we like it a lot, buy a case. Some lots offer only several hundred cases, and sell out within days of their release. Others have enough quantity (1000-3000 cases) that they stay around for a while. And, when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Cameron Hughes is passionate about his wines, and does a personal video review of each lot his company releases. And, his wines are not just from California; in our first year as a customer, we bought wines from South Africa, Italy, France, Argentina, Spain, and the above-mentioned Australia. More recently, CHWine has offered wines from Washington and Oregon, in addition to continuing to find affordable wines from California.

Of course, in addition to value wines, Cameron offers an annual “centenary” lot; see this introduction to Lot 400 (now sold out); and other very special wines. If you are interested in excellent wines at value prices, check out!