In the online wine world, the tempo is typically fast-paced as most push for quick reactions under the threat of selling out soon. The flash sales sites habitually push for a rapid ”Add to my cart” response, but others play the same uptempo game.
Most emphasize their miniscule allocations and spectacular one-time only price. Then there are the special case only deals and clearance sales with their limited inventory adding to the charged tempo.
Built upon a rapid response pace, what is emerging in online wine selling is kind of an anything goes attitude. They don’t want to give you sufficient time to think, to make a decision based upon what they are saying.
And what they are saying often tends to be misinformation and associations that are not logical.
Many descriptions and background narratives for the wines on sale often stray way beyond normal and often come across as frenzied hype. Are they trying too hard to close the deal?
You can judge for yourself on Monday.
Here are common sales pitches that fall into the trying way too hard to hype an over priced wine.
#1 The 100 point Reference to Winemaker and Vintage
The wine is “Made by a 100 point winemaker.” Or by someone who apprenticed with a 100 point winemaker. Add “legendary winemaker” and “icon” as well.
And not to forget the references to the “greatest vintage ever.” A few vintages have been rated 100 points.
The faulty logic is that it is the wine that earned 100 points from some person, well regarded or otherwise. NOT the winemaker. And that wine has nothing to do with the one presently on sale.
A personal example is that I once got a hole in one, a perfect shot. Haven’t had one since and my current game is, well, not perfect.
And vintage assessments, rating are only to be taken as general guidelines, not quality guarantees. Humans make wines and humans are prone to make mistakes. Even under the best conditions.
#2 The Expanding Neighborhood
Next is the faulty neighborhood association, as in this Cabernet was made from a “Superbly mature and well-drained Cabernet Sauvignon site on rocky, east-side of Oakville District AVA, next door to Screaming Eagle.” Or next door to Harlan Estate, Montelena, Silver Oak or Petrus.
Problem with this is that the neighboring property could be a swamp or more likely not a duplicate from The Truman Show. I once owned a home flanked by two one-percenters. Each of them drove Porsches. I drove a Prius and mowed my own lawn. But we were neighbors.
#3 Huge Discounts of 50-70%
Huge savings, heavily discounted prices. While 50, even 70% off retail seems like a can’t miss deal, beware.
Obviously, some of these are being dumped for a reason, usually getting too old. Or from someone, producer, wholesaler, retailer, who needs some cash to stay in business.
However, It is not unusual for some wines to be made only for online sales. Known as private labels in the industry, there are many custom made wines sold online.
These are the majority of wines from big sites like tastingroom.com, nakedwines.com and winc.com. The site can declare the wine’s retail price is $150 and then offer it at whatever low price looks good. The wine is said to be exclusive which may also mean it was custom made from somebody’s leftover wine.
However, you should get at least 20% off retail to make buying online worthwhile.
To verify full retail prices, I use www.winesearcher.com. It tracks prices at retail around the globe and also at various wine auctions.
Also, go to the producer’s website, if there is one, to find the real retail price.
A few recent examples of false logic and misinformation :
|“With World Class Winemakers like: Helen Turley and Merry Edwards, one could say B.R. Cohn is one of the Most Influential Producers in History!”|
Really, in history? No, you truly can’t just say that because it isn’t true. Neither works there now and haven’t set foot there in years, maybe decades. And what means “influential”?
“No other vintage has more 100 point Napa wines than 2015.”
One might ask, “So what?” More wineries now and more critics. Some writer just awarded 27 Napa wines from 2015 a perfect score.
And here is a over the top example of winemaker hype, vintage hype, and tenuous neighborhood claim all in one:
“It all started in 1996…hinging on the mastery of 100pt Philippe Melka. After 16 years of crafting world-class small lot mountain Cabernet Carlo Di Ruocco hung up his hat. 2012 marks the end of a Legend! Ardente Winery, located at 1500 feet on the rocky volcanic slopes of Atlas Peak neighbors the famed Pahlmeyer Estate. From a classic vintage.”
What a jumble of non-sequiturs and irrelevant info. Why did he hang up his hat?
For more tips and to see which sites offer the best wine deals, go to