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Tastingroom.com Launches New Wines-By-The-Glass Program, Starting With An Exclusive From Silver Oak

March 2, 2012

Tastingroom.com, the website that offers wine samples from all over the world, yesterday unveiled its new Wines By the Glass program. In addition to the 50-ml. bottles that the company already sells, Tastingroom.com has introduced a bottle containing the equivalent of one 3.4-ounce glass. CEO Tim Bucher developed the program to allow consumers to enjoy a glass of a super-premium wine without having to open an entire 750-ml. bottle. With wines by the glass in restaurants accounting for 50% of total wine sales, Bucher saw an opportunity to expand his original goal of creating what he calls “the world’s largest tasting room.”

To launch the program, the company partnered with Napa Valley winery Silver Oak. The first wine to be available in the Wines By the Glass program is the 2007 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which will retail for $19 a 100-ml. bottle, or $70 for a set of four 100-ml. bottles. The wine, which retails for $100 a 750-ml. at the winery and isn’t available by the glass in any on-premise accounts, will be sold by the glass exclusively through Tastingroom.com for the first three weeks of the program. At the end of that period, four more super-premium labels will be added, and a month later, premium wines will be offered.

Launched in 2009, Tastingroom.com offers samples and wines by the glass through its patented T.A.S.T.E. Technology, a reformatting process that transfers wine from 750-ml. bottles to 100-ml. or 50-ml. bottles in a zero-oxygen environment. The smaller bottles are exact replicas of their larger counterparts. The company offers various sample packages, such as California Zinfandels ($27.99 for six 50-ml. bottles) or A Tour of Spain ($27.99), and celebrity packages like the best-selling Mario Batali Selection ($32.99), featuring hand-picked labels from California, Washington and Australia. Customers may also buy full 750-ml. bottles of any wine from the sample packages.

The company is growing rapidly and has big plans for 2012. “We had an amazing 2011,” says Bucher, a long-time Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has worked for Apple and owns Trattore Estate Wines, as well as an olive farm. “We exceeded revenue goals and saw the number of unique customers hit well into the six figures.”

Demographics for the website skew young and female, and gifting is a large part of the business. The company has offered 1,000 SKUs in the last 12 months, and full bottles comprised the majority of sales in January of this year. In late 2011, it debuted Taste Explorer Wine Club. That program has two tiers: The Trailblazer Club ($29.99 per shipment) and The Adventurer Club ($59.99 per shipment). Bucher says the company plans to start powering the wine clubs of other businesses.

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