Friday, December 18, 2009

Wines Til Sold Out

Joe Plonk is always on the look-out for a good deal with wine, and that can be obtained either by (i) finding a wine priced at a good value or (ii) finding an overpriced wine deeply discounted. Like any other retailer, wine shops have sales to generate increased revenue or to clear out excess inventory. One great place on the web that specializes in excess inventory is Wines Til Sold Out (, which typically sells at a discount of 30% to 70% off store and internet prices.

WTSO focuses on overstocks and late-in-season wines that are available on a limited time basis. What you see on the web site today may not be there tomorrow, or even later today. There is no regular schedule, and they offer deeper discounts depending on inventory levels. The day I wrote this post, the wine deal of the day was the Bodegas Y Vinedos del Jalon Claraval Calatayud 2006. While I know nothing about that wine, I do understand the mark-down from $51 to $29. Shipping is free as long as you buy the minimum amount stated on the front page with the offering.

Joe Plonk recently enjoyed an incredible cabernet from Clif Family Winery ( that was purchased through WTSO. At its original retail price of $50, this luxury item was out of Joe Plonk’s reach. But, at $20 through WTSO, this got five stars on the Drink Plonk value index. No, you can no longer get this awesome wine on WTSO for $20, and that’s all part of the fun.

WTSO also understands customer service. One bottle of Clif Family purchased was corked. Nothing more than a phone call to WTSO was all that was needed, and a replacement bottle was on its way. WTSO has (rightly) figured that most of its customers aren’t going to spend the time to pick up the phone and call if there isn’t a legitimate concern.

While WTSO won’t give you any advance warning about what’s available, you can sign up for their daily email that includes a link to the new wine lot with the description, rating and price. Daily values make for happy consumers!

Best, Joe Plonk

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Tale of Two Wineries

IT WAS the best of times at Monte Verde Vineyards. It was the worst of times at Winery X that was just a few miles away.

It was the age of wisdom at Monte Verde, with reasonably priced wine, tasty hors d'oeuvres, a band, a floppy yellow dog, and a friendly staff at a wine estate tucked up against the side of a valley in Morgan Hill.

It was the age of foolishness at Winery X, where they charged $20 for undrinkable wine, forced you to stand in long lines to redeem tickets for drinks, and served food exclusively from Costco (at least put away the Costco brand packaging!) prepared by their disinterested nephews Larry, Moe and Curley.

In one afternoon, I experienced both the epoch of belief over the Monte Verde Tres Amigos blend, and the epoch of incredulity over the Winery X estate Pinot Noir that was sour and spicy with a hint of raisin and roadkill. [Yes, the Band was great at Winery X, but no music was loud enough to drown out the wailing of my taste buds.]

If received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only, Monte Verde was Heaven and Winery X was….

Best, Joe Plonk

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