Cellar Angels is a marketing platform which represents various wineries. Through their site, they offer “artisan wines from Napa and Sonoma Valleys you won't find in the grocery store, members-only pricing on private offerings each and every week, and proceeds from your purchase are donated to your selected charity.”
According to President and Founder Martin Cody, "Who doesn't like a virtual trip to wine country each week and a chance to change a life?" Cellar Angels is unique due to its commitment to donating to a charity of one's choice with each purchase, as well as its presentation style, which includes videos, recipes, and access to the winemaker through Angel Bonus Offers.
Cellar Angels also gives customers the longest running opportunity to purchase, Monday through midnight Sunday, offers the option to purchase just one bottle, and offers $10 flat rate shipping.
As Cody states, “I think an easy way to describe us is to take the amazing company Tom's Shoes, combine it with The Ritz Carlton's service, add wine, and you have Cellar Angels."
Club W is a site aimed at budget-conscious consumers that want great price-to-quality ratio wines from boutique, small-production producers.
The Club W Experience, as it is called, is a monthly subscription service that starts at three bottles per month for $39 + $6 flat rate shipping. If you order six bottles or more, shipping is free. Members can cancel or skip a shipment any time. If you receive something you don’t like, they will send you a replacement or a refund.
Club W is also unique in that they produce short videos for each of their featured wines that include tasting notes, producer information, the wine region, and/or the grape variety. When you receive a Club W wine, a QR code on the bottle will take you to the video. They believe that, “Learning about wine should be fun, not overbearing or pretentious.”
Invino describes itself as “private access for wine lovers.” Membership is required, but free to enroll.
Invino is based in Sonoma County, California, but offers wines from around the world made by top and up-and-coming producers. Wines are usually available for 24-72 hours at discounts of up to 70% off retail. They guarantee that their prices are at or below the best available online.
My colleague at Plum Deluxe, Andy, has shopped with Invino. He told me that once you get past the forced membership enrollment, it’s a good site in that the inventory consists of high-quality wines rather than lower-quality wines that some sites offer. He prefers purchasing mixed cases, which are great for parties and allow customers to try new wines that can’t be found locally where he lives in Portland, Oregon.
Wine Access states on its front page that the “finest wines in the world, at all price points, are made in surprisingly small lots.”
Upon account enrollment and agreement to receive e-mails, Wine Access account holders receive a daily wine e-mail offer of one of these small-lot wines that the company has sourced themselves from wineries as well as importers. The wines are available until sold out, which is usually very quickly.
What sets Wine Access apart from other sites is the storytelling approach in the daily e-mails, which takes you to a time and a place relevant to the wine’s production, often including an interview with the winemaker. Shipping rates are based on the quantity purchased.
Wine Chateau, whose slogan is uncork life, was born from the acquisition of Wine Chateau’s brick and mortar stores. The company has more than 40 years of experience in the retail wine business.
They pride themselves on the ability to find and offer collectors’ wines, as well as everyday wines from around the world at the best prices and with excellent customer service. Their current inventory includes over 10,000 domestic and imported premium wines, as well as kosher wines and spirits. Shipping rates start at $9.95 for 1-12 bottles. Wine Chateau also offers clearance and free shipping specials.
Wine.com began as eVineyard.com in 1998 and has grown into what I would call the “amazon.com of wine sales.” The company is based in San Francisco, but has fulfillment centers around the United States. They are America’s number one wine retailer, according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Wine.com offers Wine.com Steward-Ship, which allows customers to enjoy unlimited, free standard shipping for just $49 annually. They also sell accessories, food and wine gift baskets, glassware, and wine club options.
In addition to their primary website, Wine.com operates a private sales site, WineShopper, which features members-only daily wine deals up to 70% off.
For information about Wine Library, I asked a Northeast-based blogger, Uncorked Remarks, to enlighten me, and this is what he shared with me:
Wine Library provides a massive selection of wine online and in their retail location in Springfield, New Jersey. They offer a Big Deal of the Day and many in-store seminars and events. Their service is second to none and they deliver many discounts and free shipping promotions. The website is easy to navigate and wines can be sorted by varietal, price, vintage, bottle size, ratings, and even closure type.
Wine Library rose to prominence through unconventional wine spokesman Gary Vaynerchuk, who is considered by many to have made the wine culture palatable to the average Joe. He harnessed the power of his video blog and social media to transform his family's liquor business into the giant that it is today.
Photo credits: Cellar Angels, Cellar Angels, Club W, invino.com, Wine Access, Wine Chateau, Wine.com, and winelibrary.com.