Wine Searcher Bottom Dwellers?

Anyone who uses wine searcher with any regularity is probably aware of 2 or 3 retailers that consistently show up at the end of the search, and always with prices that are dramaticly higher than the rest of the sellers. This is not a criticism of these retailers but rather an inquiry as to who it is that buys at these inflated prices. Also, if private collectors were to sell to these businesses, should the seller expect to receive higher prices for their wine?

Not sure some of those retailers even have the wine, but perhaps they will source it for you?

I assume you mean like Westgarth Wines?

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Off-market retailers seem irrelevant, in my personal opinion. Like worrying if any green beetles on Jupiter.

I speculate that those stores aren’t that focused on customers like us.

In DC, where stores like Bassin’s MacArthur and Calvert Woodley have consistently competitive prices, sometimes even best-in-the-nation prices, there are stores like DCanter and Grand Cata that will sell wines at 120%-150%+ market prices because they are cute and “curated” and at trendy locations frequented by people who need wine for right now or who impulse shop adorable producer stories and who don’t even know Wine Searcher exists. If I mention I like wine to non-winos, I will almost invariably be asked if I’ve been to them or told that I MUST go to one or the other.

I have been physically in both and in the competitively priced ones and my anecdotal conclusion is this:

If you walk into a wine store and you can see the color of the walls behind the bottles, you’re in an overpriced location. And the more wall you can see and the nicer the color, the more overpriced it is. The same goes for walking space in the store.

That’s not to say more tightly packed stores aren’t overpriced (Total Wine is a minefield) but that’s another story.

I have no idea what the Wine Searcher bottom dwellers look like or where they’re located. The stores I just mentioned don’t even bother to list their prices on Wine Searcher.


There’s something to be said about stores that can source a varied manner of sought after wines for their clients. I imagine that’s a big part of the markup, being able to not only source rare wines, but doing so in larger quantities rather than competitively pricing bottles and allocation just 1-2 per person.

Majority of wine buyers don’t know about wine-searchers. They just walk to their local wine shops and buy stuff.

Do they have a brick and mortar store?

A few of those places are incredibly useful resources for hard to find wines. In general, they are posting lists from overseas sources, and offering to bring the wines in for you. That’s reflected in the cost. Sometimes, if you really want a wine and aren’t price sensitive, they are the only possible way to get a given wine short of buying, storing overseas and importing yourself.

Seems less applicable when wines domestically available.

Just to clarify, because maybe I misunderstood, and with all due respect, any offering at the bottom of the list should, by definition, not be hard to find, because there’s an entire list of cheaper alternative retailers for the same wine. Hence the list. Right?

Of course. But so what? They just post the whole inventory from sources from which the wines are available. If you look at the inventory from some large UK merchants you will see the same inventory roughly. So they aren’t picking and choosing. You can decide what’s worth paying for.

I took Micheal’s question to mean the bottom of the wine-searcher results list i.e. the most expensively priced bottles of a particular wine that’s captured by wine-searcher. We’re talking about the retailers that consistently price many of their wines well above the ‘average’ that other retailer have it for

Agreed. Typically, not worthwhile for me. I hunt just cheap dregs.

As a Capitol Hill resident this take rings so true…

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Right. Agreed.

A weird view. Have you ever taken an economics course? Do you know how a supply curve is constructed?

There’s plenty of room to walk and shop in Bassin’s, and Schneiders on Capital Hill (a classic jam-packed wine store) is often overpriced.

I don’t think wine is a pure commodity market even when you’re dealing with what would seem to be the “same” wine. People have different levels of trust in their retailer in terms of storage, provenance, etc., the wine market is geographically segmented because not everyone can order over the internet or is comfortable doing so, and some buyers are probably pretty price insensitive (see, the phenomenon of bottles selling for more at auction than they are available for at retail).

Some sellers take advantage of that by setting their prices high and hoping for the best.

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The two or three main sellers are pulling a feed off Liv-Ex.

I think it is important to have a little care about you offer/sell rather than just posting five thousand wines owned by someone else on Wine-Searcher.