Category Archives: Industry News

The 100 once again says… everyone loves a good Cabernet value!

Today we release our 6th annual 100. It’s our list of the Top 100 wines sold on for the first 11 months of 2011.  It’s the only 100 list compiled based on customer activity rather than critics ratings. Since we go through over 13,000 unique wines in a year, the top 100 list really showcases what people are saying with their wallets.

One resounding theme that has run through all of our 100 lists – everyone loves a great value. In particular, a great value Cabernet. In four out of six 100 lists, a value Cabernet under $15 came in at #1. This year, it’s the Columbia Crest Two Vines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington. The 2009 is now sold out, but the 2010 is in stock and is fantastic! The rest of the list mimics the same kind of buying behavior we see each year – lots of wine from California (40) and lots of Cabernet Sauvignon (29), plus imports and domestic wines shared equal presence (50/50). But a few things stood out this year.

Italy doubled in popularity, growing from 6 bottles last year to 12 this year.
– White wine grew as well, going from 14 bottles to 24  bottles, with Chardonnay (9) and Sauvignon Blanc (5) leading the charge.
–  Six of the top 10 were Cabernet Sauvignon. While Cabernet usually leads as the top grape in our list, six in the top 10 definitely showed the grape’s popularity.
– A dry rose finally made the list! Though we have featured sparkling rose on our 100, a dry rose finally made an appearance in 2012 at #67. The wine? Of course the Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose, which, sadly, is sold out in most markets. Expect it to come back in stock next Feburary so you can stock up for spring and summer!

Enjoy shopping the 100 and stock up on your favorites next year so that you can help influence next year’s list! Cheers!


Nicolas Catena: The “godfather” of Argentine wine

Last weekend, Nicolas Catena Zapata received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Wine Spectator. No surprise. The godfather of Argentine wine, Nicolas Catena . The description for the Distinguished Service Award is for those “who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to the wine industry. All have displayed a passion for excellence, an appetite for innovation and a commitment to sharing the fruits of their success with those less fortunate.”

Nicolas Catena Zapata came from a winemaking family. His grandfather, Nicolas, planted his first Malbec vines in 1902. His father, Domingo, continued to grow the family’s winery holdings, eventually passing the reigns onto  his son, Nicolas, in the 1960s. After gaining inspiration watching the Napa Valley rise in quality in the 1970s and 80s, Nicolas set out to craft quality wine in Argentine. Like many visionaries, he was seen as slightly crazy for 1. placing his entire focus on fine wine and 2. planting Malbec at a high altitude. Both risks, however, turned out to be successful. Over the past few decades, Catena, along with his daughter, Laura, has brought Argentine wine – particularly Malbec – to the forefront of the wine world, showing that this grape can produce both value and ageworthy wines.

We congratulate Nicolas Catena Zapata on this well-deserved award and hope, if you have not already, you will try some of the fantastic wines produced at Catena. It is here that you will taste the true terroir of Argentina.

Celebrate California Wine Month

Once again, September brings us the official California Wine Month. Though our customers never shy away from California wine (it’s our top selling region year after year), now is the time to stock up on your favorite bottles to help celebrate the great Golden State.

For all of our social fans, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed to tell us your favorite California Wine. We’ll put together a list on our site of “ Fan Favorite Cali Wines” and offer a special discount later this month!

Some things about California Wine you may not know…

-California makes 90% of all U.S. wine and is the world’s 4th leading
wine producer after France, Italy and Spain. (Which means that if California were a separate country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine producer.)
– 3,540 bonded wineries
– 211.9 million cases = California wine sales volume into the U.S. market, with shipments growing 26% since 2002’s 168.7 million cases.
– $19.9 billion retail value: Estimated retail value of California wine sales in the U.S. 61% share of U.S. market by volume.
– Three of every five bottles sold in the U.S. is a California wine.
– 4,600 grapegrowers
– 543,000 acres of winegrapes: Winegrapes are grown in 48 of 58 counties in California; 115 federally approved American Viticultural Areas.
– More than 110 winegrape varieties.

Find more fun statistics on California wine at

The Tasting Room

Welcome to the newest feature on The Tasting Room.

We’re a virtual company. In so many ways that rocks. You can shop for wine from the comfort of your home in your super soft slippers, you can search wines by just about any possible measurement (variety, region, vintage, alcohol volume, ratings, etc), and you have it all delivered to your door. When you go in knowing – or having an idea of – what you want, it is the perfect situation. But sometimes you need a helping hand. A guide to what might interest you, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced taster. With that in mind, we’ve created our very own online tasting room.

The purpose? To offer personalized service and recommendations. Kind of like you were at a winery tasting room. You don’t have to know a lot, but if you do happen to be a wine geek, you won’t be disappointed either. The tasting room will have monthly themes for each level. We’ve divided those levels into Novice, Enthusiast and Collector. The definitions of which are:

Novice: You love wine, but you’re still learning
Enthusiast: You are hooked on discovery
Collector: You are looking for the best

The Tasting Room is a work in progress. For our first month, we’ve chosen the over-arching theme of Cabernet. It is, after all, the most popular variety on So check out the lists, see if you want to pick and choose some wines. You may want to hop from Novice to Collector or stick with Enthusiast the whole time. It’s up to you. No membership required, no fees or commitment, we’re just trying to give you a little bit of education & hand-picked love. Stay-tuned for next month’s themes, as Italy will take center stage!

Feel free to send us feedback! is ready for your suggestions.

Ode to Australia

Happy Australia Day! On January 26th, Australians celebrate the arrival of Captain Phillip and the First Fleet into Sydney in 1788 with this national holiday aptly named, Australia Day. And we toast them on this day with, what else? Australian wine. Australia is one of the top producers of wine in the world, known for their big and juicy take on the Syrah grape, called Shiraz down under.

The wines of Australia range from darn-good values in the $10 – $15 range to incredible and complex collectibles. The latter has started to gain more recognition with collectors and fine wine lovers. The former has always been a hit and both have helped Australia maintain a strong foothold in the world wine industry. offers a large range and selection of wines, and for Australia Day, we’re offering free shipping on purchases of $99 or more on all Australia wines. Woo Hoo!

Here are my favorites from Australia:

Riesling from Clare Valley or Eden Valley: Crisp, dry, mineral-driven whites that are excellent with food, extremely refreshing and downright complex in their Riesling character.

Cabernet from Coonawarra: Due to the unique Terra Rossa (‘red earth’) soil here, the wine has a very distinct aroma and flavor. Cabernet has taken to this soil and climate quite well, though Shiraz is also popular. The Cabs here give a very clear eucalyptus note, with great structure that holds together the soft fruit. Delicious and food-friendly.

Shiraz from Barossa: Dense and delicious, some wines from here define what “jammy” really means in a wine. That said, there can be a lot going on behind all that dense fruit. Big and bold, these wines are not for the light-bodied wine drinker.

Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley: The cool climate of the Yarra Valley, which enjoys coastal breezes of the Pacific, is excellent breeding ground for Pinot. Light, fresh and fruit-forward, the Pinot Noir of the region can offer excellent values. Don’t be afraid to try some Shiraz from the area as well. That cool climate gives the wines a nervy, herbal backbone that is absolutely unique.

Rhone blends from McLaren Vale: Yangarra, d’Arenberg… both make delicious Rhone blends from this area that show what the cooler hilly region is all about.

Chardonnay from Margaret River: Also known for Cabernet and Bordeaux blends, the Chardonnay here is just outstanding. Leeuwin and Cullen are my favorites and they are incredible examples of the complexity that Australian wines can have.

Here’s to you on Australia Day! Cheers!