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What's the deal with Wine Expo?

I've gone to Wine Expo a few times and read their newsletters and talked to Roberto. I haven't really loved any of the four or so wines they've recommended.

I'm curious about it, though, since their philosophy is to sell wines you've never heard of. In fact, I was told, "We don't sell any big labels because they charge more for their wine. We sell cheaper wine that's just as good." Which makes it hard to comparison shop. When I mentioned wines I've read about in Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator, I've been told, "We don't sell that, but we have one from the vineyard next door and it's just as good."

There was one I did like and I comparison-shopped it and found it for $4 cheaper at just one place in NY. Granted, that was only one wine and there are many reasons a wine would be cheaper in one place than another. But I wonder if that's their business model? To sell wines you'll have difficulty comparison shopping so you won't know what its price should be?

I am not trying – at all – to besmirch their reputation. With your input, I might even go back. But what's the deal?

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  1. You be a clever one. Their business model is indeed "to sell wines you'll have difficulty comparison shopping so you won't know what its price should be." That, said, they have some great stuff.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Adsvino

      Sorry...but hogwash. Are you privy to their business model or just guessing? Their model seems to be: finding and introducing wines to their clients that are not found in the mass market of 30,000 case production plonk. Where else are you going to find several types of Valtellina? Paulo Bea is a producer I wish I could find, but happily WE carries several Bea wines. Their selection of Champagne rivals the best shops in the city. I've been shopping at Wine Expo for many years, driving from Silverlake, and am just a very happy customer. Finding these low production Italian wines and Champagnes is nothing short of awesome! WE is a great asset to the other fine shops in this area. One thing I feel confident about is they are not out to rip people off.

      Try using one of the on-line wine searchers to comparison shop. I promise you won't find much of WE's stock in So. CA. And remember, it costs to ship from out of state and there are weather issues to consider when shipping. Heck just driving dowm to OC to pick up wine costs about $10 in gas.

      1. re: Grog

        Just to let you know: Adsvino is in the trade...

          1. re: Grog

            And my own 9 & 17 licenses coming any time now from the ABC's desk.

            Geez... this board is in desperate need of some real winos, for Pete's sake!

            1. re: RicRios

              Plenty of them over on the wino board

              1. re: Servorg

                Which board are you referring to? Isn't this the 'wino board'?

                1. re: Midlife

                  No, the post was originally on the LA board.

                  1. re: Diana

                    Thanks. The mods usually seem to caption the transfer posts so you can tell they started elsewhere. At first I had no clue where Wine Expo was until I recognized Roberto as Roberto Rogness, recognized from another board.

              2. re: RicRios

                Ric, drop me a post at adsvino@yahoo.com.

          2. re: Grog

            Privy to business model. And I don't mean to slight them in any way, the expo is my favorite wine shop.

        1. we don't think they do this to make it difficult to comparison shop, but WINE EXPO certainly does have a point of differentiation. many of their wines are better paired with food while the wine spec & enth. usually have to be able to stand on their own. the WINE EXPO is a jewel, but they are definitely not mainstream and are not trying to compete with the WINE HOUSES, the 20/20'S, or even the COSTCO'S of the world.

          we've had terrific wines from there, but most have been italian grapes and the italians don't exactly sip their wine for cocktails like we do. it's part of their meal.

            1. re: RicRios

              Thank you, that was very informative.

            2. I bought some wines from Wine Expo of varieties that I had never known ($15). I later had a reason to look them up in the Gambero Rosso Wine Guide and they were rated wines. Perhaps, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator are not the best references for Italian wines. I have found the Gambero Rosso ratings very reliable. I have had many good Italian wines that were not listed in the guide, but listed wines are usually exceptionally good.

              1. Speaking of Wine Expo, how are their tasting dinners?