How Much Wine Do You Buy When You See a Great Deal?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Back up the truck!

I've noticed a couple things while scouting for wine deals lately. First, there seem to be less truly amazing deals than there were a couple years ago in the depths of the recession. Second, I was noticing that when a good deal comes up there's a ceiling to how much of any single wine I'll buy.

So rather than finish with a question of the day I'll start with one:

How much wine do you buy when you see a truly amazing deal?

I buy about $250 worth.

Think about a wine you really like. I mean reliably like and the only reason you don't buy more of it is because it's expensive. Then say you find that wine for half off retail. Or it's only a 30% or 40% off retail and you hardly ever see the wine at a discount. How much would you buy?

I take all kinds of things into consideration when trying to decide whether a certain wine is a bulk buy. (Hat tip to Jason's Wine Blog for coining the term as far as I know):
  • Have I had the wine before?
  • Can I see myself enjoying it again and again?
  • Is it hard to find the wine at a discount?
  • Is it by far the best price available according to Wine-Searcher?
  • Is it significantly less than the Community Average Value on CellarTracker?
  • Can I easily obtain it?
  • Is the vintage offered past its prime?
  • Is it an "off" vintage?
  • Is the source reputable? (provenance concerns)
One thing I don't do is flip wine. Shipping wine out of Massachusetts is a pain and it's just not something I've gotten into. So I'm always considering wine deals for consumption.

I recently caught a deal on the 2010 Alto Moncayo Veraton for $20. I thought it was a great buy at $24.99. When I found I could get it for $20/btl (with no additional tax here in Massachusetts) I knew I'd have a terrific bottle of wine I could pop open any time for $20. So I bought a case: $240 worth.

I've run into a couple situations where a $100-$200/btl wine is available for half price. If I've had the wine and loved it I'd buy $250 worth of it. But if I've never had it, and I've never done business with the source I'd probably just buy a bottle or two (at most).

The NH Liquor Store recently had a deal on the 2008 Radio Coteau La Neblina Pinot Noir whereby stacking a discount with a gift card promo you could get it down to $29.99/btl fully loaded. The release price is $55 and the Radio Coteau La Neblina is reliably amazing. However I was concerned about storage conditions and the age of the wine. I bought 3 or 4 bottles and...they tasted like a $30 wine (not a $55+ wine like it ususally does). Maybe it was the power of suggestion overwhelming my impression of the wine but it just felt a little tired. Not bad, but it probably would have been better if stored at cellar temp rather than on their shelves.

Another deal the NH Liquor Store had recently was for El Nido proper. It's a $140 release price wine but when combined with a closeout offer and other deals it could be had for $57/btl. It wasn't clear what the vintage was straight away but after some sleuthing I think it was a 2008 or 2009 or something like that. Not old but not quite current vintage. I was up for 2-4 bottles (up to $230 total) but after a lot of attempts that deal never came to fruition. They only had a few bottles and they were spoken for. Those rascals in NH - they love to create puzzles for us to solve. Thanks to my pal in NH for trying!

So my enthusiasm for a deal depends on a variety of factors. How do you play it?

Speaking of deals, WWP sponsor Liquid Discount is offering 20% off select wines with code "wwp20%off":


Good producers like Pride, Shafer, Shea, Sottimano, Snowden, and Two Hands. Check it out. Code expires April 7, 2014.

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