Very Quaffable Innovations

John Gavin, best known as the author of Quaffability
Blog and popular web designer to the wineries is on a roll with two new and innovative websites that wine lovers probably should be aware of.


It’s a video blog. It’s a source of excellent deals. It’s a message direct from the winemaker. What John has done here is create not just a web site the provides access to good deals on wines, but gives you much deeper insight than normal into who is behind the wine. One deal is offered at a time (right now it’s an SB and Red blend from famed winemaker Mia Klein) that most often includes a fantastic deal on shipping. The current offered delivers two very rare wines with SHIPPING INCLUDED. In addition you not only get detailed info about the wine but a video interview with the winemaker. Pretty cool!


While I like the WebTastingRoom concept, this particular website is the one I think will lead a number of folks to sign up for their mailing list and RSS Feed. John is regularly posting links to wineries and retailers who have a deal going that offers free shipping. How cool is that??? "Free Shipping" is the number one promotion that consumers want from wine sellers. Not 10% off. Not 20% off on a case. It’s "free shipping" or its equivalent that is desired.  Gavin is searching the web and posting his finds, be they from wineries or retailers. If my wife finds out about this I’ll need to raise my rates to Wark Communications clients.

Cheers to more very cool wine innovations on the web!!

6 Responses

  1. John Gavin - February 29, 2008

    Tom, thanks so much. Just a note on – I have been pretty busy with and other projects, so I have not given the free shipping site enough attention yet, but now that the word is starting to get out, I expect to be able to post more often with many more deals.

  2. Richard Smith - February 29, 2008

    Tom and John,
    While I applaud your efforts at finding these kinds of bargains, I feel a note of caution is warranted. “Free” shipping is not real. Either the shipping costs are built in to the cost of the wine or you are paying “in kind” (loss leader, hard-to-shift product, etc). Either way, it is bad for the industry and should raise questions when you see it advertised.
    In case you have not guessed, we do not offer ‘Free’ Shipping.
    Great blog by the way.

  3. Tom Wark - February 29, 2008

    Richard, I’ve been involved with wineries that offer wonderful wines at good prices that that come with free or very reduced shipping charges.

  4. Richard Smith - February 29, 2008

    Perhaps I was a little too negative. Wineries selling direct to the public have much more margin to work with and can, conceivably offer genuinely “Free” shipping. But it is still, in essence, a marketing tool.
    Maybe we should up our prices and offer “Free” shipping, or offer free shipping on larger orders instead of the discount we currently offer. As a communications professional do you think it would be a more effective way to sell product?
    If I have crossed the line between healthy debate and trying to get “free” advice, please feel “free” to decline an answer. Wink.

  5. Tom Wark - February 29, 2008

    Richard, for the record I don’t believe there is a line to be crossed here at fermentation.
    That said, it strikes me that the lower margins one might take on offering free shipping could be justified in a number of ways.
    1. Move out a particular product
    2. Gain the attention of buyers
    3. Obtain email address of qualified buyers
    But also, consider the following scenario.
    Say you are selling a wine at a winery for $25 a bottle. Let’s say your profit on that is $18. More than possible.
    Now, let’s say you offer free shipping on a half case purchase. Cost of shipping is $25. That’s $4.? in margin on each bottle in the shipment. You are still making a profit. Plus you have a qualified customer and a potential new LOYAL customer at that.
    It works at retail too, however, the retailer is left with far less profit, which means they place the free shipping allowance on a case to spread out the loss.
    That said, I do believe that one must phrase the “free” shipping in a way that meets rules and regulations.
    So yes, it most definitely is a marketing too. But then again, so is the price you put on the wine.

  6. Richard Smith - February 29, 2008

    Very valid points Tom and well taken. I appreciate both your candor and your taking the time to respond with more detail.

Leave a Reply