Revisiting a Visit with Last Bottle

Amazingly, I am now into my fourth week being sick. Thus far, I have resisted going to see a doctor, but that is certainly a possibility today. Both my boys are sick and stayed home from school and our dog may have ingested a battery, requiring a visit to the vet in a few hours. My wife is on-call at work, so I am running solo for all this for the foreseeable future. On top of all of that, I have a court date today–I got a ticket for running a red light. On my bike. Yeah. Thus, today I am reblogging a post (which I am normally loathe to do) from about a year and a half ago, which is my single most popular post over the last five years.

By the way, if you have not signed up with Last Bottle, click on any of the links in the article to sigh up and you will get a $10 credit–and I will get $30–which is better than a sharp stick in the eye….

When I was out in California last month, I spent a bit of time in Napa (which is rare for me–I usually spend almost all of my time in Sonoma these days, but no need to go into that here). In addition to visiting a few wineries, I also decided to stop by the offices of Last Bottle.

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BPW gets top billing, but Last Bottle is the real driver now.

Last Bottle is what is commonly referred to as a “flash site” where they offer one wine at a time, usually at a rather nice discount (often at 50-60% of retail). Additionally, if you meet a certain minimum of bottles (usually somewhere between 3-6 bottles), shipping is free. They are not the only ones out there with this business model–in fact there are at least a dozen or so sites that sell wine with more or less approach.

[Halfway through writing this article, I realized that I had already covered flash sites in detail: A little over a year ago, I wrote an article (Top Five Online Wine “Flash” Sellers) that explains the idea behind the wine flash site, which, coincidentally, is one of my most visited posts. So click on the link for a little more information about the concept.]

Last Bottle was born, in effect, from the BPW Wine Merchants, an online store for higher end wines, which had been in business for several years before taking on the Last Bottle concept five years ago.

I started buying wine from Last Bottle in January, 2012, and while I have bought wine from all of the flash sites, I have to say that I have had the most consistent luck with Last Bottle in terms of the quality of the wine and the level of customer service.

I had originally planned this post to appear a bit later, but today Last Bottle is having another one of their Marathons where they will be going through “hundreds and hundreds” of wines over the next two days (starting at noon, eastern). I did not receive any compensation for this article, but if you have not purchased from Last Bottle yet (and you should) and you click on any of the Last Bottle links in this article to get you to the website, I get $20 credit with them. Yes, that is an enabling manuever, but what can I say? They do a nice job.

My visit to the warehouse was a ton of fun and instead of trying to describe it with a bunch of boring prose, I thought I would use my camera to tell the story.

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Before going into the office, I really had to pee. In the bathroom, an empty Cristal champagne box serves as the hand towel dispenser. I knew I was among my kind of people.

The warehouse is huge (and climate-controlled, naturally).

The warehouse is huge (and climate-controlled, naturally).

In the middle of the warehouse is this tasting table. All of these bottles have been sampled by using a Coravin.

In the middle of the warehouse is this tasting table. All of these bottles have been sampled by using a Coravin.

I should pause here for a second to point a few things out. First, not all of these wines made it on to the site. My host for the visit, Mike, pointed out that people bring wine by daily, looking to sell it to Last Bottle. According to Mike, though, Last Bottle is rather discerning as they buy only about 10% of the wine that is brought in. Second, it must be a great place to work as all of the employees are encouraged to try the wines and voice their opinions–which means they should never hire me as I drink far too much wine already and have waaaaay too many opinions.

We tasted through a number of wines. This '03 Brane-Cantenac was fantastic.

We tasted through a number of wines. This ’03 Brane-Cantenac was fantastic.

No, there was no DRC available for tasting (I did ask, though).

No, there was no DRC or Cristal available for tasting (I did ask, though).

These guys are packing up the orders. They do it pretty much all day long.

These guys are packing up the orders. They do it pretty much all day long. One of my complaints with Last Bottle is that they still use styrofoam….

I was drooling as we went through the BPW portion of the warehouse. I was hoping that Mike would leave me in there with the Coravin for a few minutes, but no such luck.

I was drooling as we went through the BPW portion of the warehouse. I was hoping that Mike would leave me in there with the Coravin for a few minutes, but Mike is no dummy.

For those of you that know Last Bottle, you know what this is--it is where all the pictures that appear on the site are taken...

For those of you that know Last Bottle, you know what this is–it is where all the pictures that appear on the site are taken…

Thanks to Mike for taking some time out of his day to show me around and pour me some tasty wine.

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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2 Responses to Revisiting a Visit with Last Bottle

  1. The Mouse says:

    Hope you and your sons get well soon.

    Like

  2. I hope you all are feeling better soon.

    Like

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