More on – Interview with COO Benoit Vialle

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on Wine Values & Bargains about and its possibilities as an online wine shop for finding good wine deals.  If you missed that article you should go back and read it so you know how works. might be something you want to consider joining. I was interested in knowing more about this company, so I arranged a phone interview with COO Benoit Vialle. For full disclosure purposes, I am signed up with a company called Commission Junction. They set up affiliate programs for bloggers and publishers like myself. One of their affiliate programs is That is why you see the ad on the right sidebar of this Website. When a reader joins, I get a tiny commission.

My interview with Benoit Vialle

Joe: I see that all of the wines you have on are under $20.  How do you keep the prices under $20?

Benoit: If you do things right, a bottle of wine should not cost more than $20 for the consumer. We have control over costs from the grape to the finished bottle, and there is no middleman involved. No bottle of wine, even a good Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, should be priced over $20. Even with our low prices, we are able to make a reasonable profit for the winemaker and our company.

Joe: Does target Millennials?

Benoit: We like to target everyone, but the Millennials have shifted the demographics of wine buying. They like wines under $20, and they do not want to rely on wine experts and wine journals to figure out what to buy. Our peer-to-peer rating system has a significant bearing on what they are buying online. We also present the opportunity to meet the winemaker online. Where else can wine buyers dialogue with the winemaker? We also have wine advisors online to help with wine suggestions. For example, Joe, you know winemaker and wine blogger Ryan O’Connell. Our wine advisors like Ryan are very informed and helpful to the novice wine buyer.

Joe: Who is your competition?

Benoit: Presently, we do not have any wine company that is conducting business using our model. The Flash wine Websites are totally different. These are one-time wine sales. We offer vintage after vintage from the same winery and winemaker.

Joe: How many Angels (members) do you have presently?

We are growing rapidly and have 225,000 worldwide, including 60,000 in the U.S. We are growing so fast that new Angels may have to wait a few weeks before they can purchase wine from us. We want to make sure that our loyal members have enough choices of wines to buy on

Joe: Who in the wine industry is losing sleep over

Benoit: I think it is the big wine distributors. Our operation cuts out the middleman, the distributor. We sell direct to the consumer and, as we continue to grow, we are going to make an impact on these companies.

Joe: How do you find winemakers to sell their wines on

Benoit: We keep an eye out for great winemakers who have worked for famous wineries but have never been able to make their own wine independently. And our customers can alert us with tools like our Most Wanted list, where they bid on winemakers using money they earn by supporting winemakers in the existing program. Often young winemakers will come to us and pitch a wine to us.

Joe: Why should I join

Benoit:  You have the Peer-to-Peer rating system, a list of the top wines that folks are buying, new and old winemakers, wines from all over the world, and a whole social network of wine lovers. Plus as you know from your wine tasting, we offer great wines at great prices. We also offer a full refund if you do not like the wine. That fortunately seldom happens.

If you want to know more about, go to their Website and browse around and see what it is like to be an Angel investor.


Pascual Toso Malbec 2013

Pascual Toso 2013 Malbec

2013 Pascual Toso

Pascual Toso Malbec 2013 – $8.59 Costco

I have been reviewing the Pascual Toso Malbec since the 2006 vintage and I always look forward to spotting the latest vintage on the wine shelves. Last week at Costco I found the Pascual Toso Malbec 2013 for $8.59, and this is the same price it has been for years at Costco. How would this vintage compare to past vintages?  The 2013 Pascual Toso Malbec once again comes through as a very nicely balanced wine, smooth tasting, with a mix of red and dark fruit. I like the dark cherry character; it follows the wine from the aroma to finish. This is an easy-drinking and satisfying wine that certainly accommodates the budget-minded wine buyer. It’s much tastier than those factory type wines, such as the popular selling Apothic Red.  I also see that K&L Wines is selling the Pascual Toso 2013 Malbec but for $11.99.  The Pascual Toso Malbec is widely produced and several wine shops carry this wine, but none as low as what I have found at the Costco wine department. 88 Points. Here is the review of the 2012 Pascual Toso Malbec.

Altocedro La Consulta Select 2012 – $16.99 Costco

This Argentine wine is a big step up from the Pascual Toso 2013, but it costs almost twice as much. The Altocedro La Consulta is actually a blend of 42% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Tempranillo, and 9% Syrah. What an interesting blend from the Uco Valley in Mendoza! In the nose, loads of black fruit and, in the mouth, very complex. This wine grew on us as we sipped it over dinner. It went very well with a marinaded rack of lamb from Trader Joe’s. It really opened up and became a very enjoyable wine. It is a big wine, but balanced, and needs a meaty meal. I will definitely purchase more of this wine and I rate it at 90 Points.

Altocedro La Consulta Select 2012

Altocedro La Consulta Select 2012

Speaking of wines from Argentina, it might be the last year for finding bargain wines from this country, especially wines like the Pascual Toso Malbec reiewed above at under $10 a bottle. The reason is the Argentine economy is experiencing dramatic inflation. The cost of labor is increasing and will reflect in a bottle of wine. We shall see what the next vintage brings for the bargain wine consumer of Argentine wines.


Why you should go to Family Winemakers at San Mateo Event Center

This is the old mainstay venue of the Family Winemakers, Fort Mason Pavilion. This year it will be at the San Mateo Event Center

  I really enjoy going to the Family Winemakers event, and in years past it has been in San Francisco at Fort Mason. Fort Mason parking is tough and traffic on a Sunday is a nightmare. This year the Family Winemakers event is right in my own … [Continue reading]

German Riesling at Weixmax

German Riesling

We have two wines that we really enjoyed this past week and can highly recommend. I also spotted a couple of favorites at great prices at the Burlingame Safeway. In case you missed our tasting and review of, be sure to read and … [Continue reading] – A good possibility

Naked wines

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Pape Meat in Millbrae

Pape meats

What does Pape Meat in Millbrae have to do with Wine Values & Bargains? Here is the connection. Good wine demands good food. At Pape Meat you will not only find the best fish, poultry, and red meats, but the best prices around and friendly … [Continue reading]

Three whites that delight

Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc

Last week, we returned from our Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles wine country. We learned many new things about the wines from both of these regions and discovered some gems, both bargain and expensive.  We also managed a … [Continue reading]

How the pros taste wine, and what the heck is Quini

quini app

This is going to make all of us amateur wine tasters feel very good. At the recent wine bloggers conference, I attended the seminar, “How the Pros Taste Wine.”  The three wine tasting pros were: Steve Heimoff, a well-respected wine writer and … [Continue reading]

Speed Wine Dating


We are just finishing up at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara wine country. One of our favorite activities is this rather bizarre activity called Live Wine Blogging. I call it "speed wine dating." Ten wineries go to a table of eight wine … [Continue reading]

Mobius Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


This will be adventurous week for us. Vintage Wine Taster Mike and Janelle and I are heading down to the 8th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara wine country. Included in the trip will be a pre-conference day and a half in Paso Robles, … [Continue reading]