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6 March, 2015

Underground Cellar

Comments : 3 Posted in : Wine on by : The Gourmez

As you already know, I’m an affiliate with NakedWines.Com, and I’ll have more reviews of their wines up on the site soon, along with a six-month review of my experience being an Angel user with the company. But today, I want to introduce you to another online wine merchant that’s offering great values for wines you won’t find in the supermarket aisle: Underground Cellar.

UGCellar Logo 2

UGCellar Logo

I first learned about Underground Cellar while attending last year’s Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton. While there, I had the chance to meet Brandan Zaucha, one of the company’s three co-founders. For an extensive history of Underground Cellars and how the company operates, check out TechCrunch’s article on them here.

But I’ll give you the quick rundown.

UGCellars Explanation

Here it is in their pretty visual form.

  1. There is no membership fee or automatic monthly payment.
  2. Underground Cellar has a limited number of boutique and often rare wines for sale at any time. They are offered for a limited time as well, typically three days.
Here's how the wine offers look on the front page.

Here’s how the wine offers look on the front page.

The wines and wineries are detailed in the offer description and they come from well-established winemakers with sterling reputations. The current price range is $36-$59 per bottle. That’s a bit rich for my blood, but maybe not for yours.

  1. This is where the gimmick comes in. Depending on how many bottles of wine you order, you will be given automatic upgrades to even better bottles of wine instead! The more you order, the more upgrades you’ll get, holding steady at roughly 50-60% of your total. The upgrades will cost you nothing extra, and each offer description fully explains both the potential upgrade bottles and the percentage chance you’ll have to get which one.
Part of a description page, including percentages.

Part of a description page, including percentages.

It’s like playing roulette, except that you’re always guaranteed to win because you’ll always have wine! For a $50 bottle currently available to order, the possible upgrades retail from the wineries at $75, $110, $400, and $3500.  Note: That’s retails from the wineries. It is possible to find some of the wines Underground Cellar offers at other places for cheaper prices, generally if those wines have a wider distribution than the norm. Underground Cellar’s price is what you would pay if you bought the wine from the winery directly.

  1. Ship or store your wine. That’s right, you can store your wines with Underground Cellar for no additional charge at all. I’ll admit, this is probably the most appealing aspect of the company for me—I hate clutter so, so much and I do not have extra space to dedicate to wine collection. At any time, you can select to have your wines shipped to you. If you choose 6 bottles, it’s only $5. For a case or more, shipping is free. I find that an outstanding service.

Sounds pretty good, right? I dare say it even sounds fun! My only concern is the pricing of bottles in that I’m not yet in an income bracket that regular spends more than $10–15 for a bottle of wine I haven’t at least tasted. But Underground Cellar is partnering with winemakers who have proven records of excellence, and they are buying direct from the wineries, so the prices make sense. They avoid giving discounts, using the upgrade system instead, to avoid devaluing those winemakers’ sterling reputations.

Maybe I’ll talk myself into spending more dough on wine on occasion. I already took the first step, painlessly creating an account on the website. You can do that too, right here, or at the previous link I listed. Full disclosure: if you sign up and purchase wine through either of those links, you’ll be earning us both a free bottle when you make your first purchase. That sounds like a pretty good deal too!

And let me know what you think of the wine-buying experience Underground Cellar provides. I’m all ears and empty wine glasses.


3 thoughts on : Underground Cellar

  • Erik van Uden
    April 16, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Wines are great. Ordered 6 times so far. BUT customer service is SO SO bad. You can’t ever get anyone on the phone and a r mail reply takes a week. For the price you pay for the wine you should have some or ANY attention. They are quick to take your cash but it takes a month + to get your order. Start up that won’t last unless they change it up very soon

    • April 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      I haven’t had the need yet to contact customer service, so I can’t weigh in. Thanks for sharing yours, Erik.

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