A Right Bank Bordeaux red with 93 Parker Points for under $45; a bottle of 2008 Pianconello Rosso di Montcino at 50% off. Deals like these — available online, and for a limited time only — are the currency of wine flash sale websites. A growing trend in the industry over the last few years, think of the concept as impulse purchasing re-imagined for the card-carrying wine nerd in-the-know.
As more of these online marketplaces continue to sprout up across the Internet, keeping track of the differences between them can be a challenge. Who offers the biggest discounts? Where should I go for great user reviews? Can I get free shipping with that? Check out this guide to some of the web’s major wine flash sale sites.
Cinderella Wine. Imagine Bacchus as your Fairy Godmother, delivering bargain-priced bottle temptation directly to your inbox. The site is an addition to Gary Vaynerchuck’s expanding Wine Library brand, and it works like this: every night at 9:00PM EST, a bottle of wine goes on sale and when it sells out — poof — the killer deal that could have been yours magically turns into a pumpkin (icon). The site takes a Geico approach to showing just how much money you’re saving, displaying Suggested Retail Price, Wine Library Sale Price, and Best Price on the Web to compare against their marked-down tag. Social interaction is heavily encouraged, displaying running member commentary on the wine of the night.
Wines ‘Til Sold Out. The name pretty much sums it up: starting at midnight EST, a single bottle of wine is put up for sale until supplies run out. Expect to see discounts ranging from 30% to 70% off retail and competitive Internet prices — plus factor in the added bonus of free shipping. Keep an eye out for their special “marathon” promotions, a midnight to midnight mass sale on a large variety of wines.
Winery Insider. This is a private members only site, but as is the case with most of these wine flash sale operations, sign up is free. Here, the sales are labeled “events,” and feature three different bargain bottles at up to 80% off retail price. Events begin at 8:00AM PST and members are notified of the specials via email, with a window of between 44 and 72 hours to decide if you want to spring on the deal. The site also offers a unique special feature they call a “sommelier sourcing service” for consumers interested in purchasing upwards of three cases.
Vinobest. A French group-buy site where the more members buy, the greater the discount fore everyone. The items up for group sale show in real time just how many people have purchased the wine and how much it has lowered the price. Other cool features include suggested dish pairings, ideal serving temperature, and projected shelf life, in addition the stander tasting notes and vineyard specs. Facebook savvy weeks should check out their application, which helps recruit more like-minded shoppers. Just be sure to keep a translator handy, some key details (the wine on offer is sold only by a box of 12 bottles) remain in French.