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- Nakedwines.com has great “easy drinking” wines and a unique model that supports small winemakers.
- It’s like “Shark Tank” – winemakers propose their blends and get an advance to produce their wine.
- The advance is funded by customers, who can score bottles up to 60% off listed prices.
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If buying unique wines at wholesale prices and having them delivered to your doorstep sounds ideal, you should check out Nakedwines.com.
The 12-year-old company invests in over 150 indie winemakers around the world and uses a lean business model to bring unique, high-end wines to market for cheap.
For shoppers, Nakedwines.com is a relatively inexpensive way to get good, unique wines sent to their door. For winemakers, it’s kind of like a “Shark Tank” for their industry: They propose a wine, it gets approved, and Nakedwines.com gives them an advance to make it happen. Part of how the company has the funds to operate this way is through over 100,000 voluntary “Angel” customers who act as investors.
Once accepted into the program (and I’d wager every “applicant” is), Angel members invest $40 every month into their Naked Wine piggy bank. This pool of crowdfunded money helps Naked Wine invest in its winemakers, but it’s also never lost to Angel members; the $40 in the virtual piggy bank can be used on their individual wine orders whenever they like – in other words, it’s pretty much like a wine bank account.
If all goes to plan, it’s good for the company, the consumers, and the winemakers – like Carmen Stevens, reportedly South Africa’s first black woman to graduate in wine-making (funded by 2,000 Angel members and $200,000 in eight hours).
To be clear, what you’re getting is not quite a wine subscription in the traditional sense. You can just buy wine directly from the site as you would anywhere else (though you need to order six bottles to ship), but the site’s Angel members get special perks. They save 40-60% on all their orders and get a ton of freebies and perks like samples of other wines included in their deliveries, a bottle of Angel-funded wine worth $20 or more each month they order a case of wine, access to Angel-only wines, invites to wine tastings to meet the winemakers, and access to an exclusive priority hotline for any needed support.
I’d wager most people wind up on the site thanks to a suspiciously generous $100 voucher for new customers – I received mine inside the box of a Bloomingdale’s purchase. Using the voucher, I got a Discovery Case with 12 bottles of wine across a wide spectrum of offerings from the site. With the $100 voucher – which you can also get by clicking the top right-hand button that says “voucher” and entering your email – the case was $79.99, instead of its current sale price of $179.99 (its traditional cost is listed at $264). This promo varies a bit depending on how many bottles are in the box – my colleague redeemed a $50 voucher for six bottles of wine.
In-person, the wines are good. I was satisfied and even a little surprised by their quality given the fact that I received $100 off lots of wine. The affordable bottles were what you’d call “easy drinking” wines – none that were bold and weird and revelatory – but perfect for casual drinking. Nakedwines.com hit the “weekday wine” niche perfectly.
Shipping is also inexpensive. For orders under $100, Nakedwines.com typically charges $10. For orders $100 and more, delivery is free – except for New Jersey, Hawaii, and Alaska, (you can find rates for these states here). Wines will be delivered in four to seven business days (Monday-Friday or Tuesday-Saturday) during regular business hours, but make sure that there is someone over 21 years old who can sign for the package.
One thing I would stress is that if you have any difficulty with your shipment, or you don’t like a wine, you should contact Nakedwines.com for help. My experiences with them were as a consumer rather than a reporter, and I was impressed by their easygoing willingness to make sure I had a positive experience, even when it wasn’t to their immediate advantage. This means that if you really hated a wine, they’ll refund you. The site has a “cast-iron, no questions asked, 100% guarantee.”
What makes Nakedwines.com even more appealing is that it’s also pretty social. Winemakers and members interact with each other. Winemakers get feedback directly from customers, and customers can ask them questions. Indirectly, members can rate and recommend wines to each other.
This communication creates an optional whirlpool of discovery and self-improvement, which is baked into the business from the top down to the granular level of your account; if you don’t like a wine, give it a thumbs down in your Naked Me account. From then on, they’ll help steer you away from wines that taste similar to the ones you didn’t enjoy. Nakedwines.com also uses this as an indirect polling system, helping them determine which winemakers are doing the best job of making wines people really love.
The bottom line
All in all, Nakedwines.com has good wine for an accessible price, with the opportunity to be as involved as you want to be. It’s also easy to cancel right in your online account if you change your mind as opposed to calling or emailing customer service.
If you use Naked as a casual wine drinker, you’ll discover great and affordable wines (even if you don’t take advantage of the $100 off coupon) through an interesting system that makes you feel more involved than just ordering another case of wine online.