Wine Flash Sales: How to Buy Deeply Discounted Bottles of Vino

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With flash deals, shoppers can scoop up severely discounted merchandise by acting quickly. How quickly? Generally, deals are good only on the day they’re posted, and sometimes they can sell out in hours, or even mere minutes. Over the last few years, wine makers and sellers have gotten hooked on flash deals as a means to unload vintages that aren’t selling well at full price, and nowadays these big-discount, limited-time-only deals account for about one-quarter of all online wine sales.

In a NY Times story about flash wine deals, it’s explained that the idea here is simply that:

flash sales have allowed wineries, particularly at the middle and higher end, to unload huge numbers of bottles in staggeringly short times, albeit at drastically reduced prices.

So do the wineries make money this way? Nope, not likely. Buyers are essentially snagging bottles at cost. But wineries still find that flash deals works to their advantage, for the time being at least:

The profits on such sales may be small or nonexistent, but at least they give the wineries cash to pay for the next vintage’s barrels and grapes.

Will flash deals continue to be part of wineries’ business model down the line? That’s hard to say. Wineries, obviously, would rather sell all of their products on a non-discounted basis. They’re trying to make profits, of course. So after the current recession-related glut of inventory is sold off to the masses—much of it on the cheap—we may see far fewer of these flash deals. Or, perhaps, we’ll see a rise of dubious flash deals, in which merchandise is listed at inflated original prices no one ever pays solely for the purpose of making the discounts seem all the more impressive. Either way, these deals be “limited-time only” in more ways than one. We all know they disappear in the short-term, but they could vanish in the long run as well.

Right now, there are plenty of opportunities to buy high-quality deeply discounted wine online. Here are a few sites that regularly sell high or higher-end wine on the cheap, rounded up from the Times and other sources:

Cinderella Wine
Lot 18
Ninety Plus Cellars
One King’s Lane
Wine Access
The Wine Spies
Wines Til Sold Out
WineShopper
Wine.Woot

Which flash sites are best for consumers? On that subject, the Times is silent. But a recent Wine & Vines post reviewed the leading flash sites specializing in wine.

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