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'Private' online wine sales and limited time sales -- are you buying?

It's amazing how many of these new online wine sale sites are popping up -- Cinderalla Wines, Rue La La, Wine Spies, Wines Till Sold Out - just to name a few.

Are you guys buying?

I'm lucky to be living in SF, where just about anything I can possibly want is available in a brick and mortar shop.

That said, even if I was in Belgrade, Montana (love that place), I would probably take it easy on the online sites because I hate buying wine blind.

What do you guys think of these sites? Is it changing your behavior?

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  1. i live in new york - westchester county and LOVE the sites you mentioned above - tillsoldout and cinderellawine in particular...the posted reviews help a ton as does checking out cellar tracker for some "real" reviews...be aware that on tillsoldout some high rated wines from jonathan newman frequently appear--not that they are bad wines just that he is the importer and tends to score them on the high side...but all in all fantastic way to buy wine that may be out of your budget normally or to try new stuff...cinderellawine has a great msg board for reading what others are thinking about the nights offer...worth it imo...

    1. i live in los angeles, and although i subscribe to wtso, i've never bought from them and probably never will.
      there is a wine broker about 6 minutes from my house who offers excellent pricing without needing to buy 4 bottles at a time. i go to the broker, buy a bottle, try the wine, and if i like it will buy 3 more bottles within 24 hours.
      i prefer to use other people's ratings to select a wine for first-time-one-bottle purchase. will only buy more if I know that I like it.
      not too much a fan of playing craps with my wine money.

      3 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        Most serious wine drinkers I know -- the ones who spend at least a few hours a month buying wine and drink everyday -- are not buyers.

        The folks who are buyers are newer to the wine game, and those more fixated on ST/RP/WS ratings as proof enough that the wine is good.

        1. re: kaysyrahsyrah

          "The folks who are buyers are newer to the wine game, and those more fixated on ST/RP/WS ratings as proof enough that the wine is good."

          Se non e vero, e ben trovato.

          1. re: RicRios

            my 'well conceived' opinion is based on a small data set - about 20 wine drinkers that I have talked to in the past couple months about buying habits changing or not due to these new web sites.

      2. I look at all the sites mentioned, but it is not often I buy from them. To me, Wines 'Til Sold Out usually has about 6 great deals a year, and the rest are crap shoots. Buying much less this year, but buying much more quality wines. Been stocking up on the '07 heavy hitting Napa cabs for the most part from my mailing lists. -mJ

        1 Reply
        1. re: njfoodies

          Have you pre-tasted? I've found much of the '07 juice to be hit or miss, even though it was scored well (if you care about such things).

        2. I'm not buying, but it certainly is an indication of how much trouble the wine market is in.

          1. I buy almost solely from Wine Library, Cinderella and WTSO.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DaleJ

              So how do kaysyrahsyrah's comments above fit your profile?

              "The folks who are buyers are newer to the wine game, and those more fixated on ST/RP/WS ratings as proof enough that the wine is good."

            2. I agree that it's hit or miss on these but I have found some incredible deals on a couple of these sites. My favorites are Cellarthief.com because they offer great customer service and always have interesting wines and Cinderella.com because they offer great deals and all wines are wines I probably wouldn't otherwise try. With the sea of options out there, I find these sites to offer some really interesting wines at great prices. As for the comment that only novices buy wine from these sites, I would argue the exact opposite. I have been buying fine wines for years - with these sites, I look at them a couple of times per week and know immediately if it's a good wine or not and pull the trigger or wait for the next offer. I know my friends do the same thing.