Why do so many sell wine list allocations instead of passing or getting off the list?

As soon as a mailing list offer goes out (there are many), Commerce Corner fills with people offering part or all of their allocation at cost, an allocation they could have just not bought. Why don’t they get off the list and allow the wait list people to have a chance or allow others already on the list to get another bottle? Is it just to stay in line for a “better” year? Is there another reason? Just curious . . .


There is only one reason I would offer an allocation in CC. Due to financial reasons, couldn’t buy the current release but want to stay on for future releases.

I have dropped many lists in the past year. Most recently Sea Smoke sent me an email stating that I made the list, I replied and told them to remove me.

I can only speak for myself. Perhaps it’s financial? I cannot always afford all my allocation. Williams-Selyem is a good example. Lots of high priced bottles. Or Turley, too many offered at once. Gotta budget somehow. Don’t want to not have the opportunity to buy.

It has worked for me in reverse as some people have allowed me some of their allocations of lists I have yet to make. Nothing wrong with reciprocal back scratching. At least they are offering. I mean, they could decide not to offer it which opens more up to potential new list members. Then the following allocation they want more but the allocation has shrunk due to more members. Just sayin.

People like scarce items. Lists equal prestige. And I think that at many levels budgets are not infinite but the ability to continually sign up is, so ‘we’ do. If a wine becomes popular or is indeed scarce, losing that position seems like a bad trade.

There is a similar thread or two trying to solve this. :slight_smile:

I too have dropped off several lists including Sea Smoke (and I had a LARGE allocation)…but those that I want to keep, including KB, I can’t afford to buy everything every release but want to keep the allocation going- thus offering to share with others. Way to much wine out there and so little money available.

I’ve asked this question too many times… deadhorse

My guess is for some lists, the more you buy, the more you are offered the more coveted bottlings. So, you can max out every release and move up the hierarchy by getting some help via commerce corner.

I used to do this, or sell some via auction. Now I just drop off or just buy only what I want.

Very logical position to take. But also the reason why I haven’t participated in lists (yet). People act in their own self interest by maintaining allocations, but this works against the collective interest by pushing everyone to purchase every time. Fixed supply, demand pumped up = higher price points. In fact, those who want to get on a list yet buy from others with allocations are only making it harder for themselves to make the list.

I don’t have a problem with producers charging what they can, especially since the king makers like Parker and Laube are fickle. Make money while you can since eventually a new fad will excite customers. But I’m not interested in playing a game where the rules are stacked against me. I like to buy at my convenience. If producers have a better offer–sell at their convenience–then by all means they should take it.

A lot of people are on lists because they use the wines to barter with their friends who are not.

Maybe so they can remain on the lists and yet grab only the best vintages while sharing the lesser ones with others that are desperately craving any vintage of the wine?

Maybe wine overload, but don’t want to be kicked to the curb for not buying or buying less that particular year?


Sometimes there are “hostage” wines. In order to get the pinot or syrah you want, you have to take some number of bottles of something you don’t. Chardonnay comes to mind because I think Dehlinger used to do this and may be doing it still.

Hence, you unload the chardonnay on CC or Winebid.

A couple of years ago, I sold my KB allocation. My tastes were changing, but I wasn’t sure if it was a phase or not, so, I kept my place on for an additional year while I thought about it,

I’m no longer on the list, and good for whoever took my spot.

The Dehlinger offering is a la carte. I really likely the Chard and am sipping on some now.

This practice is all upside and no downside to the person on the list. They get to stay on and/or to get more “pop” on the list by having others buy parts of their allocation they were not going to take. It also benefits the buyer, who gets some wine they maybe couldn’t have obtained otherwise (or at least not without increased cost at FMV).

The losers are those on the wait list, or those on the low parts of the mailing list totem pole. They don’t move on and up as quickly as they would if people on the list were only buying what they wanted.

I’m mostly curious what the wineries think of the practice. I’m guessing they officially disapprove, but I wonder what they really think. Does the extra buying tend to push their prices up, and do the longer waits to get onto the list and to move up the list tend to create an image of scarcity and exclusivity that buoy the wine’s reputation and price point?

I have wondered that too. Most lists will keep you on if you just buy a bottle or a minimum offering. I suppose some are hoping for that 100 point golden ticket.

Well, I’m no pro as I’m only on one list, but I offered to trade some of my Rhys bottlings for the two that I like the most. 2 bottles of something isn’t of very much use to me, especially for a wine I’m trying to figure out.

That was my reasoning. I had no takers.

Lists suck because I do not want to buy 12 bottles of ANYTHING every year. But for some wineries, it’s hard to get their goods at retail, especially the “coveted” bottles. So I get people to help me fill an order. Or as was said, I want to skip one offer due to a bad vintage or too many bottles already.

Being on a domestic mailing list and actually buying the allocations offered is a big big, ongoing comittment to buy lots of wine in good and shit vintages, often twice a year. I don’t begrudge anyone for what they do to maintain thier list status and allocations. If they’re getting juicy allcations they’ve paid thier dues. I’ve had guys climb all over me during good vintages in the past saying “I’ll take some of your 99 pt '01 Pride Reserve Cabs if you have some extra” only to disapear later when you ask them if they want a dog vintage too like '03. Analyzing and criticizing list holders its just sour grapes and envy. The guy on the list who is getting good allocations of top wines like say the '08 Rhys is the same guy who has been shelling out lots of money year in and year out to the winery. That said you won’t see me on CC. I buy wine to drink and when I don’t want to drink it anymore I drop off the list.

It is like trying to get a #1 draft pick in exchange for allowing another team to pick up your head coach. [wow.gif]

Craig, I think most of the time it’s the other way around. I’ve bought numerous not so perfect vintages from mail listers only to get shut out buy those same allocation “sharers” when the coveted vintages hit. Because of that, now I only buy from a couple of guys who share based on allocation size rather than vintage quality.