Friday, February 4, 2011

How To Empty Your Childrens' College Fund

While Filling Up Your Cellar

Not sure if this really qualifies as "public service" per se, but I've been pinged about this topic in a roundabout way a number of times recently:
  • Hey, what's up the the wine deals?  I mean, where are they?  Didn't you say last year to hold on and wait for the deals?  Whaddup?
  • Have you heard of that new website, bankruptwinery.com?  (Not a real site.)  They are supposed to have AWESOME deals, but are they really awesome?
  • Where are you buying your wine these days?
That last one is my fave because if you're not putting your money where your mouth is, what good is what's coming out of your mouth?  Here's what I've learned recently about how you can empty your kids' college fund while filling up your cellar:



  • Garagiste.  Some day I'm going to meet Jo Rimmerman.  When I do, I don't know if I'll kiss him or strangle him.  "He made me do it" is what I say when my wife gasps wide-eyed at the credit card statement.  Joe is the founder of Garagiste and my lifestyle idol.  The morning I was going to call Joe for an interview, the Times published Eric Asmiov's piece profiling himSign up for the daily email  and don't say I didn't warn you.
  • Winebid.  An innocent addiction barely under control, Winebid is where good wine goes to be re-birthed into newly appreciative ownership.  You've read about my exploits both bad and good, but you should really try it for yourself.  (Isn't that what crack dealers say?) Use what I call the "bottom feeder" approach and you'll be like a kid on Christmas morning when the FedEx guy shows up.
  • Wine clubs.  Are wineries hurting?  You bet they are, so they're looking for every conceivable way to bolster margin.  Best way?  If you consider that a $20 bottle (retail) probably nets the winery around $5, it makes sense that when times get tough, a direct 50% discount makes a hell of a lot more sense than talking the distributor into taking more.  Go to your favorite wineries' websites and check out what kind of sick offers they've got for wine club members.  And it's not just small wineries, either.
  • Google.  Already know what you're shopping for?  Before you buy anything, research it on Google Products.  Remember that SuperUmbrian from a couple of months ago?  $20 around the corner, but I scored it for $9.79 thanks to a 3 second search.  Hint: don't be too specific in your search parameters.  Salviano Turlo yielded my score, where as "2005 Tenuta di Salviano Turlo" did not.
  • CHWine.  Why do they keep on taunting me?  New releases always seem to come out right after I order from them.  The amount of Cameron Hughes wine in my cellar might be indicative of a congenital shopping problem.  God help me.  Free shipping on orders of 2 cases or more.  Bastards.  While Eric may have scopped me on Garagiste, Winethropology scooped Lettie Teague at the WSJ on Cameron.
  • Virtual clearing houses.  This is something you may have read about here before, but these have really waned.  Low barrier to entry in this business model has caused a frenzy of competition.  We're talking about WTSO, Woot, Cindarella Wine, inVino, and dozens of others.  After tracking at least ten of these for over a year, I can tell you that I've executed on exactly 1 order.  Final analysis: except on a very rare occasion, these are a waste of time.
There you have it.  Your daughters won't have any help when it comes to college, but the wine served at their weddings sure will be good!

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