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Written by Nikitas Magel   

A Top Secret Interview with The Wine Spies

wine_darkness_sharpThey call themselves The Wine Spies.  And they're a geographically diffuse collective of top secret operatives whose sole mission is to expose and purvey to otherwise unwitting civilians "undercover deals on exceptional wines" — at the rate of only one wine per 24-hour period.  A unique strategy, to be sure, and one that has resulted in a burgeoning customer base that seems to be growing exponentially.  On learning of the organization and its modus operandi, I became deeply intrigued and set out on my own clandestine operation to gather more intelligence.  Under the condition of anonymity, and on a secure, encrypted line of communication, I spoke with the organization's lead operative and tactical mastermind, Agent Red.

NM: Without compromising any sensitive information, can you tell me who are The Wine Spies and elaborate a bit on your collective mission?

AR: What we do is to feature one exceptional wine per day, online, in usually a quantity-limited, 24-hour sale.  The wines that we choose are always the best that we can find and — with so much supply, with so many wines available to us — we're getting very picky.  Which is great.  That's good news for our customers, and hopefully also for the wineries we work with, because they can be assured that if we're showing them on The Wine Spies then we love their wine well enough to put it up.  Plus, a lot of those wineries are using our reviews in their own marketing materials.

NM: So let me see if I'm understanding this correctly: you sell only one single wine that customers may purchase at a discounted rate during a 24-hour period (expiring at midnight), after which it's no longer available, but is then replaced by a new wine selling over the next 24-hour period.

AR: That's correct.

NM: Wow!  That is definitely a very interesting and unique business model, because it sounds like what you're doing is getting (and giving) the best of both worlds.  On the one hand, you focus attention on a single wine and offer it at a discounted price, keeping the shopping process very simple for the potential customer.  But at the same time, by featuring that wine for only 24 hours, you garner a captive audience, a loyal following: once a customer has learned of your business and how you operate, it must be tempting to check your website regularly, if not frequently, to check on what's being offered on a given day to see if might be of interest.  It never gets stale; it's always fresh and interesting.

AR: That's right.  We have thousands and thousands of Daily Dispatch subscribers — we have an email that goes out every night, the night before the sale, announcing tomorrow's sale.  It's really interesting to see, using today's wine as an example, our first sale of the day actually came just minutes after midnight from a customer who was so eager to buy the wine, and afraid that they might miss out, that they jumped in that early.

NM: Now on the flip-side, doesn't this create an undue burden on you?  It seems you'd need to be two or three steps ahead of the game by having a number of targeted wines — and the logistics with their wineries' reps — all lined up well ahead of time… a 'buffer,' if you will.




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