10 Widely Available Reliably Outstanding Wine.com Wines

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Last week I posted about how to maximize the 2017 Wine.com AmEx Offer and promised to follow-up with some recommendations. Before I get into that, a couple updates on the deal...

It looks like a couple of the better promo codes that offered $20 off $100 are either expired (EBATES20) or not working for existing customers anymore (SEPTNEW). That's a bummer, but new codes come out all the time so have patience. You've got until the end of the year to buy gift cards and even longer to make use of them with a one year StewardShip subscription.

I got some requests for state-specific recommendations, since Wine.com's inventory varies by state. Before I get into that I wanted to offer up a list of picks that are broadly available and reliably outstanding, at least in my experience for my tastes.


I cracked a bottle of open last night and it hit the spot. It's everything I like about California Pinot Noir: Lighter in color and body (than say Cabernet) but bursting with delicious flavor. If I can ever find this for less than $30 I'm a buyer. And at $39.99 before discounts that's totally achievable.

Crognolo

We tasted through their full line-up while in Italy and Crognolo jumped out as my favorite irrespective of price. That's saying something since Oreno retails for well over $100. Luckily for us Wine.com has Crognolo for $24.99 before discounts. I like this because it's a little more generous fruit-wise than a lot of Italian wines, but still true to its location. Always a great value.


Vintage after vintage this is one of the best value Napa Cabs around. Every time I taste it I love the flavor profile: Ample fruit matched with gorgeous savory notes. If I can get it for close to $30 I'm thrilled. At $39.99 before discounts the price here can't be beat.


The 1:2 punch of Honig's Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc is hard to beat. I love this white wine for its generous tropical notes balanced with racy acidity. Pair it a spicy Asian dish like the poorly named but utterly delicious Boiled Fish Fillet In Hot Spicy Sichuan Sauce from Sichuan Gourmet House in Newton.


Cakebread is the wine that got me into wine and every time I taste their Cabernet I'm reminded why I still adore their wines. There's just something special about the way their wines present themselves. A friends once told me, more than 15 years ago, that if I could ever find Cakebread Cab for less than $50 I should buy some. I thought I'd surely be able to rarely find it for that little, but it has proven difficult - especially these days after a little inflation. Depending on the coupon code you can find you might be able to get it for less than $50. Great place to visit too.


Upstream I mentioned how I liked Crognolo since it was a little more generous fruit-wise than other wines from the region while still being true to the style you'd expect. The same is true here of Elk Cove's appellation Pinot Noir: A little fruitier than most Oregon Pinot Noirs and I appreciate it. The 2014 vintage is a winner in Oregon. Be careful with vintage on this one.


Borsao delivers insane value throughout their lineup and this bottling hits a great price point at $14.99 before discount. Just a ton of well balanced flavor here. If you drink mostly domestic wine and haven't explored Spain this is a great place to start.


I remember once getting a deal on Belle Glos for something ridiculously good, less than $30/bottle. I've not come close since, until now. This is a full-throttle very ripe Pinot Noir. It's not for everybody but I really enjoy the flavor profile this delivers. It may not drink like a classic Pinot Noir, not even a classic California Pinot Noir. More like a Zinfandel perhaps. But I do enjoy it every time I try it.


Meiomi seems to be sailing along even though Wagner family sold the brand off. I'll have to check in on recent vintages before buying in bulk, but at $19.99 before discounts this could be the cheapest I've ever seen Meiomi, depending on the coupon code. These bottles seem to disappear rapidly from my stash so I'm always up for padding an order with a bottle or two.


A gorgeous bold Spanish red. The pricing of this Veraton bottling sometimes gets compressed so close to Alto Moncayo proper that you're better off just going with the big brother. But in this case we've got Veraton at $28.99 before discounts and Alto Moncayo proper at $43.99. Both are good buys with discounts but I prefer Veraton given the spread.

Bottom Line


Follow the tips in this post to maximize the deal. The links above are non-affiliate links so if you want to shop through a portal and earn cashback use those. But if portals aren't worth the hassle to you, here's my affiliate link:


Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite widely available realiably outstanding wines from Wine.com?

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Maximizing the 2017 Wine.com AmEx Offer

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Spend $50 or more, get $10 back. Expires 1/1/2018.
(click to enlarge)
American Express is back with a $10 back on $50 offer at Wine.com. This offer is a true AmEx Offer (as opposed to similar promo-code based offers in 2016) so it enables some creative stacking which can take discounts beyond 40% off.

The deal is good through 1/1/2018 so it'll be around for a while. This gives us the opportunity to lock in the 20% savings this deal offers then stack it with promo codes and portal cashback for maximum savings.

How to best utilize this offer depends on how many AmEx cards you have access to. If you've got just a few you're probably best off just taking the 20% off and trying to stack it with a free shipping promo code.

For a primer on AmEx Offers see this post from Frequent Miler

But if you've got access to a lot of AmEx cards (I've got around 20) there's a potential to get some seriously good discounts on wine. Here's how I'm playing it...

Step 1: Bite the bullet and sign up for StewardShip

StewardShip is Wine.com's equivalent of Amazon Prime whereby all of your orders are shipped for a flat $49 annual fee. The nice thing about this is that you can ship one bottle or many and it's included in the annual fee.

You can also ship bottles to friends as gifts or to yourself while on vacation so it can be quite nice.

For purposes of maximizing this deal it's vital though because you only get one promo code per order and you want to use that towards a discount rather than 1 cent shipping.

Tip: You can pay for StewardShip with Gift Certificates, so you might want to skip to Step 2...

Step 2: Buy $50 Wine.com Gift Certificates

The essence of the Wine.com deal is that you get $10 back on a $50 purchase for a 20% discount. We want to lock that in without overshoot, so for each AmEx card you have, buy a $50 Wine.com Gift Certificate.

You may want/need to create a secondary Wine.com account where you buy these from. In my case my primary Wine.com account has an existing balance so if I try to buy a new Gift Certificate the system tries to use that balance. To work around this I create a new Wine.com account (this just requires a new email address) where I buy the Gift Certificates from.

When you order a Gift Certificate the eCode should arrive in a couple hours during business hours. Then redundantly they ship out physical codes.

Step 3: Apply the Gift Certificates to Your Primary Wine.com Account

The way Wine.com handles the application of Gift Certificates is quite unique. Their system says you can only apply 2 Gift Certificates per order. But in practice that's not the case.

Here's what I do...

Add $100+ worth of wine to your cart. Then proceed to checking out.

On the right side of the page you should see an option to enter Gift Card Code (two codes maximum). This isn't strictly true as we'll see below...

In their system, once you enter a Gift Card Code it's inextricably linked to the account you associate it with. We'll use this to our advantage when placing orders.

If you run into a message saying "You've entered the maximum number of gift cards allowed (two) per order." a workaround is to clear your cookies or open an incognito browser window to add additional Gift Certificates to your account. Repeat as necessary to bump up the balance on the Wine.com account you have StewardShip on.

Step 4: Shop through a portal

Shopping portals offer a way to get cashback/travel rewards when shopping online. Cashback for Wine.com typically hovers in the 5-10% range.

To find the best current cashback available, consult Cashback Monitor:

https://www.cashbackmonitor.com/cashback-store/wine.com/

Step 5: Use a promo code

The nice thing about having free shipping through StewardShip is that you can apply your one precious promo code towards a juicy discount.

Right now there are a couple of tasty promo codes I see out there:

EBATES20 for $20 off $100+ orders (probably best to shop through the eBates portal for this one)
SEPTNEW for $20 of $100+ orders

Update (9/10/2017): Looks like EBATES20 is only working once per account and SEPTNEW isn't working for existing accounts.

20% on top of 20% gives us a true 40+% discount when stacked with a portal.

Both of these purport to be for new customers only (which is problematic when combined with our approach of placing multiple orders with a single account). But they seem to be working for existing customers.

Google for promo codes and find the option that works best for you.

Step 6: Place your orders

Depending on the promo code you're working with you'll need to place multiple orders. But that's okay since you've got StewardShip.

The nice thing about stacking $20 off $100 (for example) with 20% off Gift Certificates is that it's a true 40% off (plus whatever you can get through a portal). This creates some substantial savings.

From here you just need to decide what to order. For me I'm likely to buy wines from reliably outstanding producers that make good wine every vintage.

Even with Wine.com's relatively jacked up pricing, with discounts like these you can buy some terrific wines at unbeatable prices.

Wine.com offers different wines in each state. Ping me if you're interested in some recommendations for your state.

Questions or comments?

Let me know on Twitter: @RobertDwyer
Or via email: wellesleywinepress@gmail.com

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