Frugal Friday

Since my post yesterday about wineries offering special consideration during this crazy time, several more wineries contacted me with their own approach to trying to stay afloat. With most restaurants closed as well as many retail outlets, there is really only one viable avenue to sell wine: direct-to-consumer.

In the hopes of attracting some new DTC customers, many wineries are offering either discounted retail prices, discounted shipping rates, or both.

Several Winery associations have culled the offers from their members and presented them on their respective websites. Here are three such regions, among my favorite places to visit in the world. Each link will take you to the individual listings, all three with dozens of wineries included.

I have chosen to highlight some of my favorites from each region, now it is up to you to order some wine!

I will be back tomorrow (and maybe Monday) with more….


The Region: Paso Robles

The Skinny: I have visited Paso Robles several times now and at the risk of sounding cliché, it is a fairly magical place–I might even say that it is a Wine Lover’s Disneyland. Beautiful wineries, history, a smattering of varieties, great restaurants, Paso really has it all. Except for an airport. Sure, there is San Luis Obispo about 30 miles away, but that is not the easiest airport to get to at all. But once you get to Paso? Close to heavenly.

My Faves. Even though I have been a few times, I have but scratched the surface of the multitude of wineries in Paso Robles. Near the top of the List, though, has to be TH Estate Wines. The wines are pricey, but the Hedge is an outstanding wine ($66). They are offering 10% off plus free shipping on 6+ bottles. Next is Opolo, a larger winery that I tried repeatedly to dislike, but the people are fabulous and the wines are just as noteworthy. I have tried several handfuls of Opolo’s wines and they have all been exemplary. If I had to choose one? The Viognier or Albariõ (both $26).  They are offering $1 shipping on orders of six or more bottles. Last, J Dusi who makes wines from both of the Dusi vineyards. Janell is a gem and her Dante Dusi Zinfandel ($42) is incroyable. I wrote about it for the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) website.

The Others: Eberle Winery (“legend” is used far too much, but appropriate here, free ground shipping with 4+ bottles) and Four Lanterns (a new-comer to the appellation, but making some stellar wines, with free shipping on orders of six bottles or more).

The Link: At Home with Paso Wine

My visit to Paso in 2019 included a stop at Four Lanterns Winery.


The Region: Walla Walla, Washington

The Skinny:At this point last year, I had never been to “the town so nice that they named it twice.” But over the course of three short weeks, I visited it twice. You can read about my somewhat ill-fated first trip by clicking on the link above.

My Faves. There are plenty of wineries in Walla Walla, but one of my faves is DAMA Wines–Mary Derby is a force of nature and a fabulous winemaker, Half off shipping and 30% discount on 2017 Cowgirl Blanc, 2017 Grenache & 2014 Collage (go for the Grenache). $10 flat rate ground shipping for all orders. Pepper Bridge has free shipping on six bottles or more and makes some killer merlot (yes, that is two days in a row that I have espoused a Merlot–I might have the virus). Woodward Canyon was the second bonded winery (?) and they pug along, right next door to L’École No. 41 and produces some incredible wines. Complimentary shipping on orders of 6 or more bottles, 15% off WA State Chardonnay and 10% off any mixed cases.

The Others: Long Shadows is fabulous, a bit “higher-end” but expensive wines need loving, too! (Free Ship on 3 or more bottles.) L’Ecole No. 41 is a legend in Walla Walla (the third bonded winery, I believe, with a $10 flat rate on 6+ bottles).

The Link: Your Guide to Buying Wine online

DAMA Wines is right on Main Street in Walla Walla, Washington, which I visited in 2018.


The Region: Willamette Valley

The Skinny: I guess I have been to the Willamette Valley a handful of times now, the first being a decade ago while I was still a “civilian.” On that first trip, I hit several of the wineries listed in John Winthrop Haeger’s incredible book, Pacific Pinot Noirwhich was Bible as I started to explore American versions of the world’s greatest wine grape (yup, I said it, and you probably can’t convince me otherwise, but I’d gladly discuss it with you over a glass of Pinot–whilst sitting six feet apart, natch). I have been back a few times since and was planning on going back again this summer, but, well, that is on hold I think.

My Faves. My love affair with the Willamette Valley (shhh, don’t tell Champagne) starts with Brooks Winery, which was the inspiration for what my wife calls the best post I’ve ever written (which was published over three years ago, so that begs the question, what have you done for me lately?) Brooks is offering free shipping on all orders of six bottles or more. The Pinots are top-notch, but Brooks makes incredible Rieslings as well. Next is ROCO Winery, which I have never visited, but Rollin Soles is a Willamette Valley legend (he founded Argyle), a native Texan, and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. ROCO is offering 20% off all wines and $15 flat rate shipping (on 6+ bottles).

The Others: There are dozens more with offers (Adelsheim, Bergström, Elk Cove, Left Coast, Penner-Ash, I could go on…)

The Link: #WVCommunity

Plenty of wine by the fire at Brooks, when I stopped there in 2017.



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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