Underground Cellar (wine seller/retailer) OUT OF BUSINESS

Got something about Underground Cellar in the mail. Anybody know anything about them or dealt with them?

I use them from time to time, mostly for the fun aspect of it. My buddy got a bottle of 2007 Bond Quella for $30 which was fun. I’ve landed a few deals where I paid 10% or less on the SRP price of a given bottle. Some other times I wasn’t as lucky.

They also regularly email you with coupon codes that make the deals even more compelling. For example I just got an assorted case of rosé for $120 shipped, which is pretty hard to beat. I would just go in with low expectations and only if you think discovering new wines is fun. Definitely not a “serious” way to buy wine.

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I bought ~6 cases from them in 2014-2015 when they first started, the best bottles I got a were 1998 Mouton and a 2009 Harlan. When the Mouton arrived the label looked like it had been put through a blender, and at the time they didn’t provide any bottle condition notes for older wines, leading me to believe the bottles were in excellent condition. I never received a response when I emailed customer service about the condition, so that was the last purchase I ever made from them. No idea how they’ve done since then.

As Luca says, if your expectations are low and you like trying out a broad range of wines it’s probably fine. However, at this point in my collecting I’m not really interested in things like UC - I equate them to “mystery case” offers and I’d rather know what I’m buying.

They also push the upper limits of the retail values they list for the wines.

I remember reading about a few people having some issues with them over at r/wine on reddit

Thought some of you might get a kick out of this. I have never shopped here and have no intention of doing so but it’s basically a “gambling” website where you are guaranteed a base wine and with purchase have a % odds to be upgraded to more expensive wine. They tell you all the upgraded wine and the odds you have at getting it.

What will they think of next?

The only cool part about it (besides people who like to gamble) is they will store 500 bottles for free indefinitely and ship you 12 at a time for free.

Here is today’s cab:

Anyway, no interest from me but curious if anyone has used it? Guessing not.

Might appeal to buyers of Garagiste’s mystery wines…

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One of the cool things about it I guess is they tell you every wine so if you are comfortable with the base wine/value then it’s “no” risk.

I used it, but not a huge fan. The main reason: if wine costs $1 more than “buy in” price, they deem it an “upgrade”. Have a look at their typical offer: it would boast “90% upgrades”, but if you look closer, 20% of those are for wine that $1-2 more expensive.
I only buy a few bottles when they send an “$25-27 off” offer and I like the selection. Remote storage is a cool feature.

Cool, thanks for the feedback. The cab offer I linked looked like a decent amount were decent upgrades.

Ha - I get targeted for these ads so often. Along the lines of “Screaming Eagle for $25!!” [snort.gif]

I’ve seen people claim to get the “Last Bottle” credit on Last Bottle, but I’ve never seen anyone actually claim to get one of those unicorn upgrades on Underground. Then again, the odds seem to be 1 in a 1000 or even worse.

Years ago when they launched I made a few purchases with coupons/credits and it was a pleasant experience. As time went on the service degraded to the point where orders took 6 months or more to fill, sometimes only after multiple requests to customer service. My last 2 orders, which had a few nice upgrades, were unfilled for almost a year before a refund was eventually issued.

They did send out a few emails about opening moving to new distribution facilities and upgrading systems to improve their processes and it may be better now.

A YEAR!?!?! Like you asked for them to ship it and it came A YEAR later?

Yep. Bottles would be “in transit” for months.

That’s INSANE.

I recently made a purchase, I liked a few of the wines listed and the others looked interesting so I took a chance. My last couple of bottles did take awhile to come in (2-3 months). After complaining they upgraded the last bottle to one of theirs in stock. I was waiting for summer to pass before shipping but I can’t say i’ll be running to order through them again.

So I have used them fairly extensively in the past. And while I may regret some of the impulse purchases, by and large I was satisfied. It doesn’t hurt that I did nail a few decent upgrades (2014 Scarecrow, 1.5 lt 2011 (?) Croft vintage port, and a Beaucastel being some of the highlights). But I found that you need to pay close attention to the vintages, they seem to drop stock in the offers that is several years past current vintage. And the distribution of the bottles is also something to watch.

If someone really wanted to, you could probably calculate the odds of landing any specific bottle on offer and time your purchase to increase your odds of landing a top bottle.
They list the total number of bottles in the offer, the percentage of the total each wine represents, and the people who have purchased the offer have their cloud cellar linked so you could reference the bottles in their cellar to the wines being offered. This would allow you to know what has sold vs what remains in the offer. But all that requires time, effort, and skill…

I used this site a bit when the first launched - as others mentioned, you have to really look at what’s in the pool - some of the upgrades are not really significant unless you happen to know/want that wine.

I actually found their sake offers to be some of the best deals, as I don’t have any other venues to get discounted sake like I do with wine. I got some great deals. Overall, I never had any issues with customer service either.

John Fox gaolbreak! [wow.gif] [snort.gif]