Q: How do you assure the wines are in the best condition?
A: We acquire our wines directly from channels that have properly stored the wine. They are held in temperature-controlled cellars and are 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, we 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 God's 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 Midwest 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 State's 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 $1,000 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 6%. 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.
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
Fed-Ex 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.fedex.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.
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