May 25, 2010, 3:41 PM

Winery Insider hops on the private sale bandwagon

Gilt Groupe does it for high-end fashion. Now Wineryinsider.com has launched what it says is the first members-only, private sale company to focus exclusively on wine.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Gilt Groupe does it for high-end fashion. Now Wineryinsider.com has launched what it says is the first members-only, private sale company to focus exclusively on wine. Members have access to hundreds of wines from all over the world, including many brands that are well known to wine connoisseurs, according to the retailer. The retailer says it will sell wines between 40% and 80% below suggested retail prices.

Consumers must apply for free membership at www.wineryinsider.com to buy on the site. The site will post 45 to 60 offers a month, usually three at a time, for between 24 and 72 hours each. All offers have limited inventory. Members receive a $20 store credit if they refer someone who makes a purchase.

Winery Insider offers wines in a range of prices, including brand names and small, lesser-known producers, the company says.

Winery Insider ships only to U.S. states where wine shipments are legal. It says it handles all order fulfillment and compliance, making it easy for wineries to participate.

“Members-only private sale companies such as Winery Insider, Gilt Groupe and One Kings Lane, occupy one of the few retail sectors experiencing considerable growth,” says co-owner Tony Westfall. “Consumers like being on the inside—it’s like having access to employee prices. It’s a great place for suppliers to be.”

Winery Insider was developed by Tony and Danielle Westfall, wine industry entrepreneurs who have worked for Foster’s Wine Estates, Trinchero Family Estates, Viansa Winery & Vineyards and Wine.com. They say their network of industry contacts and experience in software, supply chain, marketing and e-commerce led them to start Winery Insider. Winery Insider is part of the Westfall’s Good Company Wines portfolio, which also includes VinoFina, an online wine retailer that donates a portion of proceeds from every bottle sold to non-profit and charitable organizations.

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