The Mysterious Art of Selling Direct

A good friend of mine was recently given the opportunity to join the most exclusive club in the world of wine: the individuals who get a chance to purchase the wines of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti directly from the estate. And how did this young lady pull off a feat that almost anyone in the wine world might have considered undergoing a minor amputation in order to receive? She doesn’t know. She just happened to sit next to the correct person at a dinner party and the next thing she knew, she was an insider.

Despite my friend’s remarkable story, places on the DRC allocation list have certainly not become any easier to come by in this day and age. But the same cannot be said for some of the historically sought-after mailing lists in the pantheon of so-called California cult wines, some of which are adjusting to a new, changing landscape of tastes, demand and competition.

Six years have passed since the recession that sent all but the least expensive sector of the California wine industry scrambling. Luxury wine sales have recovered nicely since their fall off a cliff in the spring of 2009, but the effects of that traumatic event are still playing out in the changing social dynamics of luxury-winery mailing lists.

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