What is WTSO?

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What is WTSO?

Postby Tom Troiano » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:37 pm

So, what is WTSO? I'm totally ignorant when it comes to buying wine outside of the handful of shops that I frequent in the Boston area.

I'm really curious about the comment by Jenise "and is naïve about the workings of both WTSO and wineries that prostitute their brand for a buck".
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:09 pm

Tom Troiano wrote:So, what is WTSO? I'm totally ignorant when it comes to buying wine outside of the handful of shops that I frequent in the Boston area.

I'm really curious about the comment by Jenise "and is naïve about the workings of both WTSO and wineries that prostitute their brand for a buck".


WTSO is Wine Till Sold Out, one of several "flash sale" sites that will advertise one (or a small number) of wines for sale at a steep discount until the stock is sold out. Usually, solicitation is done by email and often is accompanied by purple prose describing how wonderful the wine is, complete often times with numerical ratings by critics either known or unknown. Here's their website.

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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Tom Troiano » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:35 pm

What is a flash sale? Just a term for "we have very few and its on sale til their gone"?

I always love it when lobster is $3.99 a pound but the store is out of lobster.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Sam Platt » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:19 pm

Tom,

Flash sites, including WTSO, offer deals that only last for a relatively brief period of time. For WTSO I would guess that the wines being offered change on average every 90 minutes, sometimes much more quickly. Ostensibly, WTSO overs a single wine until it is sold out. That is not the case as you see many repeaters. On certain days the wines are changed out every 15 minutes.

I am a huge fan of WTSO and have started buying daily drinkers from them. Typically the prices are quite competitive if not as mind blowing as the site would suggest. I ignore all the hype from Jonathan "90+" Newman and buy what I know I like or find interesting. We buy quite a bit of sparkling wine from WTSO as the selection in of Champagne in our area is limited and overpriced. You may not find a '61 Haut Brion for sale but if you are looking for a tasty wine to sip with dinner or enjoy with friend you will probably be in luck.

What seperates WTSO from many of the other flash sites is free delivery on a relatively small minimum order. Shipping is quite timely and they are willing to hold a wine for you for up to six months. Customer service is very good as well. Don't hesitate to give them a try if you find something of interest.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Tom Troiano » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:58 pm

Sam,

Thanks. Most don't ship to Massachusetts so its not something I'll likely look into and I can always find things locally that satisfy my curiosity and budget.

I was just curious about what this is because of the rather strong comments by Jenise.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Jenise » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:07 pm

Tom Troiano wrote:Sam,

Thanks. Most don't ship to Massachusetts so its not something I'll likely look into and I can always find things locally that satisfy my curiosity and budget.

I was just curious about what this is because of the rather strong comments by Jenise.


Let me to add to what Sam described: I'm not totally against WTSO, and in fact I've bought a few things from them myself--but you have to know your wine and do your homework. They have a questionable in-house critic who gives every wine they sell 92 pts almost without fail, and he's needed because a lot of the wines they sell are wines specially packaged for them to sell vs a wine that was ever actually sold at retail that a real critic might actually have reviewed. And they always show their price vs. "regular retail", a rather deceitful practice if it's one of their made-up wines or a number that's ridiculously inflated and dishonest if it's an actual known wine. Friends of mine frequently, as you read about an instance of in another thread, fall into their traps all the time. That said, they really do sometimes sell some very good wine at what I know is a very advantageous price--it's never as advantageous as they claim, but advantageous nonetheless.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Tom Troiano » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:37 pm

Jenise..

Thanks!! I'm still a little confused about the comment "wineries that prostitute their brand for a buck".

What do you mean there? If Ridge sells off some juice/wine and WTSO maks Ch. Monte Cello nobody knows it juice from Ridge, correct? Or is my example wrong?

Or are you talking about Ridge selling them actual Geyserville because they can't sell it because RMP gave it 80 points?
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Jenise » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:08 pm

Tom Troiano wrote:Jenise..

Thanks!! I'm still a little confused about the comment "wineries that prostitute their brand for a buck".

What do you mean there? If Ridge sells off some juice/wine and WTSO maks Ch. Monte Cello nobody knows it juice from Ridge, correct? Or is my example wrong?

Or are you talking about Ridge selling them actual Geyserville because they can't sell it because RMP gave it 80 points?


What Hoke said and...your example is actually backwards. It's more like Ridge buys some six dollar plonk juice on the open market, sticks it in a bottle called Ridge Monte Zorro Private Carneros Reserve and sells it to WTSO, who then resells it at $25 claiming it's original price was $75. Of course, there was no "original price" because the wine isn't a wine original to Ridge, and Ridge wouldn't do that at all. But the new Cosentino would, Cosentino whose name is now owned by Windsor, the non-winery "winery" from whom anyone can buy bulk juice and bottle it "with your company name on it!!!"--as they have advertised in airline magazines and the like for the last 30 years. And that's what I meant by wineries that prostitute their brand for a buck.

But WTSO does also sell good wine. The other night I saw an offer for Cristal go by, for instance. And a few weeks ago, Caymus Special Select.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Dale Williams » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:24 pm

Tom, the prostituting reference was in another thread? Jenise can speak for herself, but I think the reference is to wineries/brands with good reps selling the name. The easiest example I can think of is Havens. Michael Havens sold winery but stayed on, then a couple years later was fired or quit as winemaker. Then in financial crisis the parent company went under. The Havens brand was sold, and now markets wines that have zero connection (no winemaker, no vineyards, no facilities) to the wines that made the name known. I understand the need and obligation of trustees to get as much value as possible for creditors, so I'm not sure I'd use "prostituted" but as a wine consumer this kind of thing is unfortunate.

If you are in Mass. and no one ships, obviously flash sites aren't for you. But they can provide good deals, for the knowledgeable consumer. I find that offers tend to fall into a few categories:
1) "madeup" wineries, unacknowledged second labels, etc- just a way to move excess bulk juice
2) newer wineries that overestimated their potential demand, older wineries that expanded production or saw demand drop, etc. Or just need cash flow. The obvious danger is that fire sales can hurt image for future sales at regular price.
3) wholesaler closeouts. Just as in non-flash situations, this can offer good deals. Often if a wholesaler or importer drops a line, they are interested in clearing from their books, with no regard to damage to brand. Or in the case of an importer being dropped sometimes it seems they want to damage the brand, as a message to rest of their stable.
4) vintage overstocks, when someone needs to sell through before next vintage coming in

One advantage of the flash mode is that it is far less labor intensive than normal retail- all one simple website, no wine knowledge needed by employees (except buyers!), no time for stockpicking. Right now Vitis is showing Domaine des Saumade Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010 for $27, free shipping for 3 bottles. Say they have 30 cases and it sells through. Computer printed labels, one low wage employee just popping bottles into boxes and taping, etc. So maybe 100 3 pack orders , a couple cases, and 6 6packs. I'm betting a not very energetic employee could pack out that in a few hours.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Dale Williams » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:28 pm

Oops, Jenise answered for herself while I was typing.

I no longer get WTSO, but I've gotten good deals there- 85 Heidsieck Cuvee Charlie for $100, '06 Clinet for $40, etc.
I've gotten '10 Hirtzberger Singerriedel for $26 at Vitis, 07 Schafer Frolich Kabs at about $20 from Last Bottle.
All of those included free shipping
I've also gotten good deals from Cinderella (Wine Library's flash site), but when I tried to order last week (some '12 Kabinett) they have ceased shipping to NY
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Patrick Martin » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:13 pm

The 06 Clinet for $40 with free shipping seems like a great deal.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Richard Fadeley » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:16 am

Patrick Martin wrote:The 06 Clinet for $40 with free shipping seems like a great deal.


It very well could be. I like to check out the scores on Cellar Tracker and there you can get the typical retail for that wine, as well as scores from other tasters. Helps you make an informed decision. And WTSO has a very generous return policy. Easy to use, no sales tax (this needs to change) and free delivery (I wonder who is paying for that?). All in all, a site worth following, IMO. BTW, wine from this site, for what ever reason, need to sit for at least 1 month (2 is better) before opening. Strange, I know, but believe me it is a fact. Don't judge one of these wines after only a few weeks.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Tom Troiano » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:54 am

Richard Fadeley wrote: wine from this site, for what ever reason, need to sit for at least 1 month (2 is better) before opening. Strange, I know, but believe me it is a fact. Don't judge one of these wines after only a few weeks.


Richard,

If you're saying that wine from this site but not others needs to sit that is definitely odd but if you're saying that any internet/mail order wine needs to sit then I think most/all would agree. I'm not sure I understand the science but bottle shock from transportation is very real.

I cellar virtually 100% of my wines at least a month or two - even a $12 QPR wine. The only exception is if I'm thinking about buying more and I want to try it sooner but that doesn't usually happen as I almost always buy 3, 6 or 12 bottles based on a very complex (not really!) formula based on price, my track record with the wine, etc. That is, I never buy one bottle.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Drew Hall » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:17 am

WTSO offered Pahlmeyer "Jayson" today for $29.99, 2 bottles gets free shipping which is a good price for those that like the style.

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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Jenise » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:12 pm

Hmmm...didn't see that one but I might have deleted without opening based on a title that didn't strike me as intriguing. Would be interesting to find out that they don't send all offers to all customers, wouldn't it?
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Jenise » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:13 pm

Follow-up: I did get the Jayson offer, the chardonnay Jayson that is.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Bob Henrick » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:18 pm

Tom Troiano wrote:Sam,

Thanks. Most don't ship to Massachusetts so its not something I'll likely look into and I can always find things locally that satisfy my curiosity and budget.

I was just curious about what this is because of the rather strong comments by Jenise.


Tom, I live in Kentucky (as you probably already know) and Kentucky is a no shipping state too. However WTSO is using the argument that once purchased the wine belongs to you and they are simply your agent getting it to you. They do ship to Kentucky and fast Fedex delivery too.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Sam Platt » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:35 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:They do ship to Kentucky and fast Fedex delivery too.

Bob,

For some reason WTSO just switched back to UPS Ground for delivery. I like Fedex.
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Re: What is WTSO?

Postby Bob Henrick » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:22 pm

Sam Platt wrote:
Bob Henrick wrote:They do ship to Kentucky and fast Fedex delivery too.

Bob,

For some reason WTSO just switched back to UPS Ground for delivery. I like Fedex.


Sam, I will have to see if the delivery is longer getting to me.
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