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

This would be a very good reason for wineries to actually endorse the process.

Its like having 1000’s of micro-distributors taking and redistributing at full price.

Being on a wine list is bascially an “Option” to purchase a wine at a future date. The cost of this option is continuous purchases (at various levels).

People who assist the option holders in making the continuous purchases are simply covering the option-holders cost.

Great situation for the option holder - he/she now holds a “cost-free” option.

How do you know what is enough to stay on the list? I suppose if it is so stated, one could go with the minimum, but I am not sure what is the minimum versus the allocation. Case in point would be the recent offer of 2008 Rhys Sonoma Coast, which I already had in some abundance as a result of sharing with another guy on the wine list. But to make sure I had a shot at the other allocations, I pulled the trigger on an entire case.

Of course, some people buy to resell. SQN will obviously go for more than it is offered for, as will a Quilceda Creek that gets 100 points from Parker…

Many wineries are up front about it (e.g. Copain you have to buy 12 bottles per year, I think Quilceda you have to buy something once within a two year span), and probably most others would tell you if you asked. Many of them also have a minimum number of bottles to the order (e.g. Dehlinger and I think Rhys require you to order 4 or more bottles).

But even aside from not getting removed from the list, list members may still want to fill out a bigger order by sharing with someone, because that might help them to get access to more coveted wines in the future.

For example, if you bought 2 cases a year from Rhys, you are like to get allocations of wines like the Swan Terrace sooner and in greater quantity than if you buy 6 bottles a year. But that dimension is usually not quantifiable or knowable, other than in the most general sense (more buying history = more access to coveted wines), and even the winery probably doesn’t know since it would depend on how much others are buying, how large the production is of the wine in future years, etc.

Probably the most transparent system is Sea Smoke’s. You get one point for every dollar you’ve ever spent with them, and each year they group their customers into one of 4 or 5 tiers based on number of points, with each successive tier having a larger allocation (though you can buy as much or little of it as you want).

I like to act as a mid-level distributor for multi-level-marketing companies (Amway, Kistler, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.). It gives me satisfaction on so many fronts, not only financially. I enjoy having people begging me for what I consider the “scraps” of my allocations (i.e. the Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and non-vineyard designated reds).

Personally, I am only willing to drink 100 point Pinot Noirs and Cabernets. As I rise to the top of the heap, I am able to only retain the 100 point wines and sell all the rest, making a hefty profit on the 97, 98 and 99 point wines, and selling all the others “at cost”.

Basically, I sell allocations when I’ve got too much of the wine in inventory and want to skip a vintage. I will also sell when they hold me hostage and make me buy more than I want.

[rofl.gif] Good observation, Alan.

Getting on the list in the first place was probably a matter of timing, and it didn’t cost anything to be on the list
if the wines were of their choice. Letting go is something that some people have difficulty with, even though
some of these people may never buy another bottle. A few may be fooling themselves, but they can still boast
" I’m on the Charlie Potatoes Mailer List ! ". I’m not a psychologist but there might be an explanation out there. [scratch.gif]

It was my first day of retirement yesterday, so the next part comes with having to decide which/how much, if any, wines that
I will be buying over the next number of years. I have plenty of wine to meet our future needs. That said,
I couldn’t resist confirming to take up my allocation of 2008 La Tache and the 2008 DRC Echezeaux. Now there could certainly be
some psychological explanation in that, I suppose. [basic-smile.gif]

Hank [cheers.gif]