Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you assure the wines are in the best condition?
A: We purchase our wines directly from channels which have properly stored the wine. They are held in temperature controlled cellars and shipped by fast carriers during times of expected cool weather. We only ship in the early part of the week to assure wine does not spend the weekend in transit.
Q. How do you assure the best prices?
A. We get as close to the producer as possible and, since we do not have a store front and have designed the business to run with very low overhead, offer low mark-up. Our auction format helps us balance supply and demand, reducing inventory cost and our charge-card-only payment reduces accounts receivable costs.
Q: What the heck are you doing in Oregon?
A: Enjoying the good life in Gods Country. Seriously, being based outside of Portland places us at about the center of the West Coast wine scene, and in much closer contact with producers and West Coast consumers than Eastern and Mid West U.S. wine businesses. It takes us about two hours to get to the Napa and Sonoma wine countries and we enjoy a similar travel time to Washington States dynamic wine industry. We are very close to the extremely exciting emerging Oregon wine producers. Oregon enjoys no sales tax and a mild year-round climate for storing and shipping wine. And Oregon has one of the highest per-capita wine consumption rates in the country. Give us a call and maybe we can set up a visit next time you're in Oregon!
Q: Is your founder related to that other Parker guy?
A: Except for the fact that he is part owner of a winery down the road from us, there is no relationship that we know of. But they do seem kindred spirits. And we do heartily recommend his newsletter.
Q: What is the Buyer's Premium?
A: In the auction industry, the buyer's premium is the amount added to the winning bid price. In Brentwood Wine Company's case, it often represents the only profit we realize on the sale of an auction item. In fact, without the buyer's premium, we would very often lose money (as much as 5%) on the sale of auction items. The buyer's premium starts at 12% of the winning bid. For each $1000 of purchases a customer has made from us within a 12 month period, we reduce the buyer's premium on future auction items by 1%, to a minimum of 8%. That's right, we make as little as 3% on the sale of an item. We believe that overall, we have one of the lowest buyer's premiums in the wine auction industry and will continue to work to bring our customers the best wines at the best overall prices.
There is no buyer's premium on non-auction items from our Wine Shop.
Q: What other expenses do I pay?
A: For fragile items - wine, glassware and decanters, as well as very large items, there is a handling charge to cover the cost of the specialized packaging. This is $5 per unit of glassware, or per decanter. For wine, this runs $4-8 per box of wine, except for very large (3-6 liter) bottles where it is somewhat higher. Small, non-fragile items do not have a handling charge associated with them.
The exact shipping charge that we incur is also charged to you. We normally use UPS ground. To get a reasonable estimate of your shipment's cost, assume 3.5 lbs for each 750 ml bottle of wine, 6 lbs for a decanter and 1 lb per stemware piece (that's right - they are bulky) and use the cost estimator utility at http://www.ups.com, shipping from 97068 - our zip code. Where you are ordering only a single bottle or glass, the effective weight might be a bit more.
For more detail, please refer to our Other Charges section.
Q: I often see an illegible screen in the auction room. It looks like several pages of text have overwritten one another. What's wrong and how can I fix this?
A: We have had several complaints about this. Neither our software vendor no we have been able to recreate this or get enough information to isolate the problem. The current thinking is that it is caused by old, non-frames enabled browsers. Make sure you have the latest version of your browser. You need at least Internet Explorer version 4.0 or Netscape Navigator version 4.0. We personally like Netscape, as IE has some known bugs. For free downloads of these visit http://www.microsoft.com or http://www.netscape.com . One other note: If you are an AOL customer, make sure you have an updated version of their browser - they have a customized one.