Total Wine Pappy Offer

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BenW
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#1 Post by BenW » October 20th, 2017, 6:25 am

Did anyone else get the Total Wine Pappy Offer yesterday?

For anyone interested: the offer is for one bottle only out of the list below, online, on a first come first served basis next Tuesday at noon. As far as I can tell it was sent only to Grand Reserve rewards members (single use, unique code).

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year - $94.97
Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year - $109.97
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 15 Year - $159.97
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Year - $249.97
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Year - $429.97
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac - $124.97
Sazerac Rye 18 Year - $124.97
George T. Stagg - $124.97
Eagle Rare 17 Year - $124.97
William Larue Weller - $124.97

Does anyone have experience with it in the past? What are the chances of actually getting a bottle of Pappy? Any technique I should employ given that the offer states there will be different availability depending on which store you select for pick up?
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#2 Post by Bill Buitenhuys » October 20th, 2017, 9:15 am

They haven't done it this way in the past. Last year for VW, the emails came out and you had to rush to a centralized store immediately (and you got to select 2 from what was available...1 of the ORVW/Lot B group and 1 from PVW. For BTAC, you had to queue up at a centralized store at the butt crack of dawn...1 per GR customer.
The year before, you got an email directing you to hustle on down to your selected store where you could pick 1 from the VW lineup of what was left.

I ~think~ store selection shouldn't matter as much this year as it sounds like the availability is based on state allocation then your pick is sent to the store you select when shipment arrives 8-12 wks later.

Good luck in landing your first choice!
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#3 Post by BenW » October 20th, 2017, 9:32 am

Thanks for the info Bill. This is my first year as Grand Reserve, so I have no knowledge of the history.

Since I can get to MD or VA relatively easy for pick up should I target one State over the other? My guess is that VA will have more stock (because they have more stores) but that might also mean more competition for what they have [scratch.gif]
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#4 Post by JKim » October 20th, 2017, 11:31 am

Yeah, first year with this method. I like that you can only pick one bottle out of all the VWs and BTACs. Spreads the bottles around. Hope their server can handle the traffic, some sites that do this kind of online first come first serve crash right when it starts...Yes, I’m looking at you Bevmo.

My guess is that PVW 15. 20, 23 will sell out right away, with Saz 18, WLW and Eagle Rare 17 close behind. WLW is interesting this year cuz they made so much of it. And tons of GTS and THH. ER 17 isn’t usually the most wanted BTAC but bottle count is so low this year. I think you’ll have to be strategic because if you don’t try for your most wanted BTAC first and try for PVW and strike out and attempt to try to get a BTAC as a second choice, those might be sold out immediately also. Really depends on bottle allocation for each state and how many Grand Reserve members are in each state. There are so many GR members in CA that I expect everything to be gone very quickly in CA with the possible exception of ORVW as there are so many bottles of that.

Kinda nuts how bourbon has jumped the shark over the last 5 year’s. Any semblance of a Limited Edition sells out in hours. Not sure if it’s flippers or newbies getting into the hobby.
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#5 Post by C Chen » October 20th, 2017, 11:33 am

Waiting for that e-mail...
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#6 Post by JKim » October 20th, 2017, 11:37 am

C Chen wrote:Waiting for that e-mail...
Are you a Grand Reserve? Everyone I know that is GR got the email yesterday.
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#7 Post by Justin Bonner » October 22nd, 2017, 8:01 pm

BenW wrote:Thanks for the info Bill. This is my first year as Grand Reserve, so I have no knowledge of the history.

Since I can get to MD or VA relatively easy for pick up should I target one State over the other? My guess is that VA will have more stock (because they have more stores) but that might also mean more competition for what they have [scratch.gif]
I don't believe they're offering them in VA given it an ABC state. MD has two stores but Laurel (right down the street from my brewery) gets way more than the Towson store. I'd say opt for Laurel which should improve your chances or opt first for their largest store located in DE right across from the MD border.

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#8 Post by JeromeHan » October 24th, 2017, 7:15 am

I remember last year, an email was sent out to Reserve members too and it wasn't online; they made us come to the store and first come first serve.

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#9 Post by BenW » October 24th, 2017, 8:59 am

Website crashed?
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#10 Post by ERPark » October 24th, 2017, 9:12 am

Anyone successfully get through?
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#11 Post by Albert_H » October 24th, 2017, 9:15 am

Lol, I can't believe they didn't expect for the site to crash....
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#12 Post by JC J o u a s » October 24th, 2017, 9:42 am

I just got off the phone with TW customer service and they confirmed as much and said no ETA and to keep trying as if I have nothing better to do :x
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#13 Post by Albert_H » October 24th, 2017, 9:47 am

Surprised you were even able to get through with the phone. People are reporting they can't even do that hahaha. TotalFail
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#14 Post by JKim » October 24th, 2017, 9:59 am

Got off the phone with TW. They are going to reschedule the release at a later date. No word on when. Look for an email later this afternoon.

I am so NOT surprised this happened. It ALWAYS happens on first come first serve when an e-commerce site has never done this type of thing before.
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#15 Post by Albert_H » October 24th, 2017, 10:02 am

Thanks for the confirmation Joe, I was seeing the same info on twitter but wasn't sure if it was trolling or not.
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#16 Post by kpchao » October 24th, 2017, 10:06 am

I was told this Thursay, same time. Have doubts they can address the server issue that quickly.

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#17 Post by Jay Selman » October 24th, 2017, 10:11 am

Stupid approach. I would have preferred a lottery.

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#18 Post by JKim » October 24th, 2017, 10:13 am

Even last year with the surprise email and run your A** to the store was better
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#19 Post by JC J o u a s » October 24th, 2017, 10:17 am

JKim wrote:Even last year with the surprise email and run your A** to the store was better
Agreed I wasted about as much time driving to and from the designated retail store last year as I did today hitting the refresh tab ...
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#20 Post by JC J o u a s » October 24th, 2017, 12:05 pm

Stay tuned ...
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#21 Post by Scott Butler » October 24th, 2017, 12:24 pm

Well last year it actually happened as well - the website crashing part I mean.

Last year you had to register at a certain time to be eligible for the BTAC offer. The registering process crashed and they had to reschedule it. But yes, then you went to the store and waited in line to pick your bottle.

Very surprised they didn't anticipate another crash this year. Crazy.
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#22 Post by JKim » October 24th, 2017, 2:16 pm

Seems so simple to me, it’s not like TW doesn’t know how many GR members there are. Count up all the GR members, anticipate that the vast majority will try for a bottle and see if the servers can handle that much traffic all at once. Oh, and test the servers BEFORE the actual release. <SMH>
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#23 Post by AdamK » October 28th, 2017, 12:45 pm

If anyone has access to it and does not want their allocation, please let me know and I would be happy to reimburse you.
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#24 Post by Scott Butler » October 30th, 2017, 7:42 am

Just confirming that i did not miss any emails, the new offer did not come out yet, right?
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#25 Post by JKim » October 30th, 2017, 8:40 am

I haven’t gotten a new email yet. TW must be busy upgrading their crap servers.
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#26 Post by BenW » October 30th, 2017, 9:43 am

I haven't received anything either.

Serious question to anyone who knows something about IT: how big of an upgrade is this likely to require? I presume they have at least a semi-decent set up given their regular website traffic and my experience with them (not the most user friendly but certainly a reliable site). And how many Grand Reserve members are there? A couple of thousand?

To my untrained eye that seems like a very surmountable problem. Am I missing something?
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#27 Post by ERPark » October 30th, 2017, 11:24 am

My perspective is as a tech hardware sales guy who's been in the same job for 16+ years. I'm not an engineer, but I know at a high level how things work (or don't). It depends on two things:

1) Do they own their infrastructure, or is it managed by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or another cloud provider?
2) How good is the DevOps team (either on staff, or contracted out) that writes their code?

If they own their environment, they'll have to have sizing discussions, and then order/install additional equipment. They'll also likely need to work with their telecom provider so their data pipes can "burst" to accommodate the relatively temporary increase in traffic. This will take several weeks, minimum.

If they have a cloud provider handling things, then they work with the provider to get the requested environment "spun up". This can be ready in a matter of days, if not hours, once they've decided how much larger of an environment is needed.

The app is more often than not the stumbling block for "non-tech" organizations like Total Wine. If they had a VP or Director with relevant experience from someone like Ticketmaster or any retail org that has "Black Friday" type of online campaigns, then a staff of software developers can be molded to minimize the likelihood of this sort of debacle occurring. But my guess is that they don't have much experience on staff for building towards situations like this online, where tens or hundreds of thousands of simultaneous requests are coming in per second.

The previous sentence is my guess of how many requests Total Wine was seeing by the time the clock struck noon Eastern time on that fateful day. TW has close to 200 stores nationwide, and their annual revenues are estimated in the $2B range. The threshold for achieving Grand Reserve is a $2500 annual spend. TW isn't like Costco where large numbers of daily shoppers come thru their doors. I'd say a decent chunk of their revenue is from Grand Reserve and above (there's a $25K tier from what I've read online) level customers. I'd assume there are at least 20K GR level customers (that's an average of 110 or so GR customers per store, which isn't a lot). 25K customers with an average spend of $8000/year only clocks in at $200M in annual revenue, which is 1/10th of TW's estimated annual revenue. So there's probably north of that many GR members........
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#28 Post by c fu » October 30th, 2017, 1:16 pm

ERPark wrote:My perspective is as a tech hardware sales guy who's been in the same job for 16+ years. I'm not an engineer, but I know at a high level how things work (or don't). It depends on two things:

1) Do they own their infrastructure, or is it managed by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or another cloud provider?
2) How good is the DevOps team (either on staff, or contracted out) that writes their code?

If they own their environment, they'll have to have sizing discussions, and then order/install additional equipment. They'll also likely need to work with their telecom provider so their data pipes can "burst" to accommodate the relatively temporary increase in traffic. This will take several weeks, minimum.

If they have a cloud provider handling things, then they work with the provider to get the requested environment "spun up". This can be ready in a matter of days, if not hours, once they've decided how much larger of an environment is needed.

The app is more often than not the stumbling block for "non-tech" organizations like Total Wine. If they had a VP or Director with relevant experience from someone like Ticketmaster or any retail org that has "Black Friday" type of online campaigns, then a staff of software developers can be molded to minimize the likelihood of this sort of debacle occurring. But my guess is that they don't have much experience on staff for building towards situations like this online, where tens or hundreds of thousands of simultaneous requests are coming in per second.

The previous sentence is my guess of how many requests Total Wine was seeing by the time the clock struck noon Eastern time on that fateful day. TW has close to 200 stores nationwide, and their annual revenues are estimated in the $2B range. The threshold for achieving Grand Reserve is a $2500 annual spend. TW isn't like Costco where large numbers of daily shoppers come thru their doors. I'd say a decent chunk of their revenue is from Grand Reserve and above (there's a $25K tier from what I've read online) level customers. I'd assume there are at least 20K GR level customers (that's an average of 110 or so GR customers per store, which isn't a lot). 25K customers with an average spend of $8000/year only clocks in at $200M in annual revenue, which is 1/10th of TW's estimated annual revenue. So there's probably north of that many GR members........
They probably knew the numbers, just didn't want to spend the money for the additional pipeline for a once a year event.
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#29 Post by ERPark » October 30th, 2017, 7:47 pm

c fu wrote:
ERPark wrote:My perspective is as a tech hardware sales guy who's been in the same job for 16+ years. I'm not an engineer, but I know at a high level how things work (or don't). It depends on two things:

1) Do they own their infrastructure, or is it managed by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or another cloud provider?
2) How good is the DevOps team (either on staff, or contracted out) that writes their code?

If they own their environment, they'll have to have sizing discussions, and then order/install additional equipment. They'll also likely need to work with their telecom provider so their data pipes can "burst" to accommodate the relatively temporary increase in traffic. This will take several weeks, minimum.

If they have a cloud provider handling things, then they work with the provider to get the requested environment "spun up". This can be ready in a matter of days, if not hours, once they've decided how much larger of an environment is needed.

The app is more often than not the stumbling block for "non-tech" organizations like Total Wine. If they had a VP or Director with relevant experience from someone like Ticketmaster or any retail org that has "Black Friday" type of online campaigns, then a staff of software developers can be molded to minimize the likelihood of this sort of debacle occurring. But my guess is that they don't have much experience on staff for building towards situations like this online, where tens or hundreds of thousands of simultaneous requests are coming in per second.

The previous sentence is my guess of how many requests Total Wine was seeing by the time the clock struck noon Eastern time on that fateful day. TW has close to 200 stores nationwide, and their annual revenues are estimated in the $2B range. The threshold for achieving Grand Reserve is a $2500 annual spend. TW isn't like Costco where large numbers of daily shoppers come thru their doors. I'd say a decent chunk of their revenue is from Grand Reserve and above (there's a $25K tier from what I've read online) level customers. I'd assume there are at least 20K GR level customers (that's an average of 110 or so GR customers per store, which isn't a lot). 25K customers with an average spend of $8000/year only clocks in at $200M in annual revenue, which is 1/10th of TW's estimated annual revenue. So there's probably north of that many GR members........
They probably knew the numbers, just didn't want to spend the money for the additional pipeline for a once a year event.
It's likely a combo of that and poorly written code. You could have unlimited CPU, memory and I/O capabilities, but if the app is poorly written, the environment would still crash.
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#30 Post by NED VALOIS » October 30th, 2017, 10:04 pm

ERPark wrote:Anyone successfully get through?

My son had a 23 in his basket, but when he checked out he only was able to buy a 12 !

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#31 Post by BenW » October 31st, 2017, 9:04 am

I just got a new Maryland specific offer for tomorrow
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#32 Post by Scott Butler » October 31st, 2017, 9:11 am

Me too for SC only
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#33 Post by ERPark » October 31st, 2017, 9:39 am

TW is staggering the online release to GR members on a state or regional basis. Let's see if the reduced load can be handled by their app and infrastructure.
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#34 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » October 31st, 2017, 8:25 pm

I am so happy whisky hasn't gone this way ... yet.
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#35 Post by Scott Butler » November 1st, 2017, 6:07 am

Man o man, that was fast. Mildly confusing, as I already saved my location, yet I needed to put it in again, and it did not like my zip code, I just had to find my store in the drop down. By then all Pappy and the WL Weller were long gone. Grabbed a Sazerac 18 Rye since I like it quite a bit, and the reviews for the 2017 version were generally good.

I also noticed the prices were cheaper than that original offer Ben posted. BTAC's were $109.97 each.
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#36 Post by BenW » November 1st, 2017, 6:21 am

Wow, yes it was little confusing with the store selection at the top while I was furiously hitting update at the bottom of the screen.

Anyway I managed to grab a Pappy 20 year.... it was also cheaper than I had previously been told ($199.97) [winner.gif]
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#37 Post by BenW » November 1st, 2017, 6:24 am

Updated Prices for MD, GA and SC:

Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year - $79.97
Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year - $89.97
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 15 Year - $129.97
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Year - $199.97
Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23 Year - $359.97
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac - $109.97
Sazerac Rye 18 Year - $109.97
George T. Stagg - $109.97
Eagle Rare 17 Year - $109.97
William Larue Weller - $109.97
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#38 Post by Scott Butler » November 1st, 2017, 6:39 am

Great job getting a Pappy 20, you obviously figured out the store selection before me.

[welldone.gif]
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#39 Post by JKim » November 1st, 2017, 7:44 am

I order tomorrow. What do you guys mean by the drop down menu? What do you see when ordering opens? Also, once you pick a store, will the choices only be what’s still available? Any tips on quick checkout?
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#40 Post by Scott Butler » November 1st, 2017, 8:08 am

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Ok, take a look, some bottles are still left in MD so I can show you. make sure your Concierge account is set up. your address and credit card are stored, and you are logged in. This all happens too fast for you to need to type in your CC#. I did a ctrl+C on my access code so I could just paste it in real quick.

Then you click the link in the email and you see the screen, see the Location popup at the top? Don't try to put anything in there, it did not work for me, just click the down arrow and find your store, and then scroll down to the offers. you will quickly see what is sold out, then buy it!
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#41 Post by JKim » November 1st, 2017, 8:32 am

Many thanks, Scott!
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#42 Post by BenW » November 1st, 2017, 9:07 am

Scott's answer is great but since this is a case where milliseconds might count, I'll also add that:
- The three Pappy's (15, 20, 23) are at the very bottom and separated from the Old Rip and Van Winkle Special by the 5 BTAC
- When you get to the payment page your credit card won't be pre-populated even if it's already saved. You need to select your card from a drop down menu and then it will fill in all the fields.

It was a bit of a blur but I think there was also one more screen than I was expecting (a confirmation screen or something) so stay on the ball until you get to the "Congratulations!" screen.

Good luck!
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#43 Post by JKim » November 1st, 2017, 9:24 am

Good stuff, Ben. Thanks!
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#44 Post by Scott Butler » November 1st, 2017, 9:47 am

BenW wrote: It was a bit of a blur but I think there was also one more screen than I was expecting (a confirmation screen or something) so stay on the ball until you get to the "Congratulations!" screen.

Good luck!
Agreed, the button at the bottom after payment method said "Review Your Order" and once pushed, the next screen said "Place Your Order".
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#45 Post by BenW » November 1st, 2017, 10:19 am

Scott Butler wrote: Agreed, the button at the bottom after payment method said "Review Your Order" and once pushed, the next screen said "Place Your Order".
I think it is fair to say that roughly 0% of successful Pappy buyers "reviewed" their order
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#46 Post by c fu » November 1st, 2017, 12:47 pm

Man. So all of you buy that much from TW to be GR members?!?
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#47 Post by BenW » November 1st, 2017, 12:55 pm

2 cases of 2016 Bordeaux was enough to put me in that category.... I've put every other purchase on my wife's account but she hasn't made it to GR yet

If I turned around and monetized the Pappy (I won't) the wine was almost free.
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#48 Post by Scott Butler » November 1st, 2017, 1:05 pm

TW has good prices/selection on liquor to support my bourbon habit, plus there aren't many decent wine shops in my area. There is one for harder to find wine selections - at higher prices of course, and there is Total Wine or Whole Foods for most else. TW has better prices than WF.

This looks to be the 2nd year in a row I'll get to GR level. I've mostly stopped buying from winery mailing lists, so it is easier now to get there. I get Loring, Siduri, and others there now, when I have budget versus when I get an offer. I like that better.
WOTY:61 Chateau Verdignan

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Jay Selman
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#49 Post by Jay Selman » November 1st, 2017, 1:30 pm

Are allocations based on state or specific store?

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ERPark
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#50 Post by ERPark » November 1st, 2017, 2:32 pm

I got lucky snagging a couple of high dollar bottles of vino this year. Probably getting some expensive whisky next year that should keep me in the GR tier.
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