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- Wine Specatator Online, A Taste for Life Brings Together Wine Lovers to Support Diabetes Education, October 16, 2003
- The Oregonian, Age-worthy Wines are Expensive and Hard to Find, October 12, 2003
- St. Louis Post Dispatch, Kimmswick Hopes to Sell Wine Online, September 20, 2003
- Decanter, West Coast Auctions Hotting Up, September 5, 2003
- New York Times, Why Wine Costs What It Does, April 9, 2003
- Salon.com, Grape Rot, December 19, 2002
- New York Times, Searching the Internet Vineyard, October 10, 2002
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, Liquid assets: Wine auction sites, September 26, 2002
- Wine Spectator Magazine, Wine Auction Site to Host Benefit Tasting to Fight Diabetes, July 2002
- Alexa.com Editor's Pick, 5 Stars, June 2002
- Uncorking the Best Deals, On Magazine, July 2001
- Thrill of the Case, Palm Beach Illustrated, April 2001
- www.winecommune.com, Sunday Business Post, November 12, 2000
- Screaming Eagle '97 Trades for $69,100 on WineCommune.com
- Liquid Assets Wine: An All-Consuming Investment, CBSMarketWatch.com, October 16, 2000
- WineCommune gets highest rating on Go.com and Infoseek
- Wine Spectator Magazine, September 15, 2000
- Law.com, August 2000
- Forbes Magazine, May 15, 2000, "Cork and Dump"
- Law.com, August 2000
- CNN.com, May 19, 2000, "Small vineyards attract a cult following..."
Eagle '97 Trades for $69,100 on WineCommune.com
WineCommune, which hosts an average of 1200 wine auctions a day, allows sellers
to reach a large wine buying audience, and buyers a wide selection
of wine from many sources. WineCommune has become the main storefront
for many retailers and wine brokers as they are given access to
its 4,500 plus registered user base.
The two lots of Screaming Eagle 1997, both hosted by the same seller,
were sold this past month; the first on September 13, and the second
on October 2, together totaling $69,100. "[The second lot] was the
highest bid we have ever registered," said WineCommune's CEO and
founder, Michael Stajer. Each lot was active for five days. "This
past month, we reported the highest number of unique visitors per
day due in part to the Screaming Eagle lots," claims Stajer.
The first lot of twelve bottles spawned a fierce competition between
two bidders but eventually sold to an anonymous buyer for $24,000.
The second lot of 24 bottles sold to the same buyer for $45,100
with a total of twelve different bids. The seller, Worldcellar.net,
a licensed wine merchant from Oregon represented three businessmen
from Silicon Valley in the sale. Marvin Mills from Worldcellar.net
who hosted the lots is an active member of WineCommune having sold
over $100,000 of wine from his business this year. Mills was quoted
as saying, "WineCommune is the easiest place to sell wine since
it reaches such a wide audience. I was really pleased with the results
of our lots."
Buyers log onto WineCommune at their leisure, review the available
wine lots, and bid on those that interest them. A buyer also has
the option of requesting a wine on the system. The buyer posts information
on the wine they are looking for and the price they are willing
to pay, sellers log on, browse the listings and can then bid to
sell wine to that buyer. The buyer watches as sellers offer lower
prices to "win" the auction.
In Q3 2000 WineCommune posted and closed 6 lots of Screaming Eagle
1997 with a low of $1,340 per bottle to a high of $2,000 per bottle,
at an average of $1,811.04. Nine lots of Screaming Eagle 1996 have
sold with a range of $1,166.67 to $1,466.67, at an average of $1,315.15.
The far reach of the Internet unites wine lovers from different
continents giving sellers access to the largest possible audience,
and buyers access to the wine they might not otherwise find locally
or for the right price. Said CNN Correspondent, Rusty Dornin in
the May 19th article titled, Small vineyards attract a cult following
with pricey vintages, "If nearly nobody else has it, then someone
will pay a lot of money for it, which is why Internet wine auction
sites like Winebid.com and Winecommune.com are full of speculative
Assets Wine: An All-Consuming Investment
By Viktorya Tobak, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 6:52 PM ET Oct 16, 2000
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW)--
Move over GE and Intel, there's a new blue chip in town. And this
one is very liquid. From Screaming Eagle to Petrus, collectible
wines have become increasingly accessible to both consumers and
wine investors with the proliferation of Internet wine auctions.
For years now, wine auctions
have matched buyers and sellers looking to broaden their wine portfolios.
Far too often,
though, connoisseurs looking for that perfect bottle had to search
retail outlets or wait for their existing wine to peak. But commercial
Internet wine auctions have since empowered oenophiles with the
ability to research, price compare and buy collectible wines.
with the click of a mouse
of the Internet, wine investing is likely to flourish, moving beyond
its reputation as a high net worth hobby. Online auctions for wine
are drawing attention from both everyday consumers and serious collectors
by cutting costly travel, shipping, and storage costs. Several sites
catering to wine collectors offer storage of young wines, allowing
investors to resell the wine at a later date -- and a higher price
-- without physically moving it. A virtual cellar, you might say.
clicking the mouse to popping the cork
the strong economy has given a boost to wine auctions as well as
the industry overall. But as all retailers know, convenience and
choice are major factors for all consumers -- and the wine lovers
are no different.
"Right now we're
in a very strong economy and the vintners can hardly keep up with
demand." Says Gladys Horiuchi, spokesperson for the Wine
Institute, a public policy group representing nearly 450 California
wineries. "Consumers are demanding both premium wines as well as
wine futures right now and the Internet is certainly giving them
more choice. However, the key in Internet sales is trust and information.
Both consumers and collectors of wine need to know that a site specializing
in wine will be able to provide quality products."
wine appreciates faster? What cult wines are hot right now? Investors
new and experienced want to know. They also want lower prices and
more convenience. So while Christie's and Sotheby's have historically
had a stronghold on the market, start-up wine auctions models are
not only pulling away potential customers but also forcing the traditional
houses to adapt to the Internet age.
been two phases in wine auctions," explains Thomas Matthews, executive
editor of Wine Spectator
Magazine, "First, in 1994, the wine auction business really
exploded with traditional houses like Christies and Sotheby's. Then
in 1996 the first wine auction occurred on Winebid.com and that
business has multiplied. The online houses have not had a huge impact
in the overall business but they have expanded the consumer base.
Online auctions have made wine collecting accessible to everyone."
lost several of its wine department executives to dot-coms and has
since begun releasing sales results online. It also offers an online
service called "Lot Finder" that identifies specific wines before
they go on the auction block. Sotheby's has also launched a Web
strategy that includes an auction catalog along with an impressive
Wine Spectator Magazine, the value of online wine auctions has jumped
from $14 million in 1993 to nearly $100 million in 1999. Although
online wine auction revenues are difficult to measure, they are
estimated at $10 million for last year and will most likely exceed
that figure in 2000.
Signs of the times
Just like with
stocks, individuals are turning to the Internet for cellar-worthy
wine. Sites such as Winebid.com, Uvine.com, and Auctionwineonline.com
are all seeing traffic from consumers who value their benefits.
Those would include the ability to research, lower commissions,
immediate email alerts, and the ability to buy from anywhere, anytime.
site is Winecommune.com, a site where buyers and sellers interact
with each other directly.
is truly changing the way people buy and invest in wine," says Winebid
CEO Orin Michaels, "Not only has the Web made it easier to learn
about wine and make wise decisions, it has also made the whole process
more efficient -- from price to storage. Investing in wine is something
that has traditionally been reserved for the high net-worth individual
but that will likely change because of the Web." See
the interview with Orin Michaels
king of all auction sites, EBay prohibited the auctioning of alcohol
on its site late last year due to tight regulation. But its EBay-style
oddities and selection that make the Internet so appealing. And,
when it comes to wine, more seasoned collectors have been frustrated
in trying to find the same type of choices available in online auctions
of other goods.
While it's true
that the convenience of online auctions is a major draw, there are
still some issues that have to be worked out before this market
can take off. For one, the market seems flooded with sites. There
are more than three dozen online wine auctions companies -- nearly
three times the number of traditional houses. Consumers should also
consider the level of control individual sites exercises over their
lots as well as well as commission fees (which are almost always
lower than traditional auction houses). Some sites only deal in
full lots while others allow bids on single-bottle lots as well.
Also worth noting
is the fact that using the Internet to invest in wine is easier
than using it to purchase wine for everyday consumption. That's
because Prohibition-era regulations designed to protect suppliers,
wholesalers, and retailers prevent consumers in more than half the
states from receiving wine shipments from other states. That's something
investors with virtual wine portfolios don't have to deal with.
So how does
one know when to hold or sell? Wine Spectator's Auction Index is
a good resource for those looking to profit from collecting fine
wines. The Index tracks the value of the auction market as a whole
by valuing representative wines, much like the Dow Jones Industrial
Average does for the stock market.
The wine industry
is making a grand push to be a part of the new economy. How quickly
that will happen depends on both consumer demand as well as any
change in current legal regulations. Internet wine sales are expected
to account for nearly $3 billion -- or up to 10 percent of all retail
wine sales -- by 2005, according to a Salomon Smith Barney study.
"It is possible
to make money investing in wine if you pick the right wines, have
good storage and choose the right moment to sell. But its not easy."
says Wine Spectator's Matthews. "We don't advise people to look
at wine as a real money maker. It's always nice to buy wine at $10
and open it up 20 years later. Even if the investment falls, you
can still drink it."
says Matthews, a wine collection should be a reflection of the consumer.
He advises consumers to buy what they like because developing a
wine cellar has become a new hobby much like starting a home gym
or nice entertainment center. In other words, don't focus so much
on the monetary return.
"Have fun because
the odds are you'll end up drinking it."