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Online Price Hooks

Sad to say, there are a growing number of unscrupulous online wine pricing stunts.  One goes like this.  A sought after wine, like Clark-Claudon, is listed online at a discounted price.  The retailer never actually had it, but the customer takes the bait, contacts the retailer and is told, “That wine is sold out, but I have another that might interest you.”  You know how the rest of the story goes…

Another, not quite as sinister, occurs when the retailer does have the wine, but only a few bottles.  The shop discounts that wine again as bait to draw in sales.  Once sold, the wine remains on the discounted list to continue the fishing expedition. 

Due to internet search engines these practices create, “price wars”  because many retailers don’t want to be undercut.  Ultimately, the customer ends up losing.  It is illegal for wineries to, “set a price.” So their only defense is to stop selling their product to retail shops period.  Many of the best wineries have taken this route. 

Thus far, we are only aware of a few instances where our wine was used in a sting operation or caught in the “who has the lowest price” game.  But it was a few too many.  Each time we received angry calls or emails prompting us to question selling to wine shops at all. 

I don’t get it, if a winery does all it can to make a great wine and prices it fairly the stage is set for a win win situation.  The winery makes sufficient profit to keep producing, the retailer makes enough profit to keep selling and the customer has access to world class wine.  Am I missing something?…

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Photos by Briana Marie Photography