WineTasting.com announced today the pilot launch featuring 25 leading California wineries, with nine more scheduled for implementation by the end of August. A digital marketplace of online tasting rooms, WineTasting.com is revolutionizing online wine sales by enabling wineries to sell directly to consumers from their own web sites.

WineTasting.com gives wineries what other online retailers do not: a way of providing their best customers with access to their most exclusive wines and an e-commerce solution for wineries lacking the right technology and fulfillment system. It is especially valuable to small wineries without a physical tasting room.

One of the country's most respected wineries, Chateau Montelena, has met with early success on WineTasting.com. "Our customers have been asking for convenient, online ordering, direct from our tasting room. WineTasting.com has enabled us to stay close to our customers -- without the need to travel to Calistoga," said Greg Ralston, director of Sales, Marketing & Administration at Chateau Montelena. "WineTasting.com is a one-stop solution for our customers and for Chateau Montelena. In the first 90 days, the response from our customers has been great."

Rather than reselling wine purchased from wholesalers and retailers, WineTasting.com provides wineries with e-commerce tools at one-tenth the cost of developing a proprietary web site. This Application Service Provider business model allows wineries to sell wine at retail prices, manage their consumer relationships, and control their brand identity online. In addition, the company provides deep expertise in compliant fulfillment services, a legacy strength from the company's Ambrosia wine unit. Currently, WineTasting.com provides fulfillment services to 50 wineries.

"It is hard to believe that we are selling wine at www.whitehalllane.com with minimal effort and excellent results. Less than one year ago we were struggling to get an informational web site up and the prospect of using our site for e-commerce was five years out. Today, we are attracting new customers, satisfying existing customers and enjoying added sales," said Michael McLoughlin, general manager of Whitehall Lane Winery. "whitehalllane.com has become an extension of our St. Helena tasting room thanks to WineTasting.com."

"We are building a powerful network of California's most respected wineries," said Lesley Berglund, CEO of WineTasting.com.

To date, the following wineries are signed up with WineTasting.com: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, Chateau Montelena Winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Groth Vineyards & Winery, Far Niente Winery, Whitehall Lane Winery, Belvedere Winery, Newlan Vineyards & Winery, Folie a Deux Winery, Carneros Creek Winery, Volker Eisele Family Estate, Trentadue Winery, Trefethen Vineyards, Amici Cellars, J Wine Co., Burgess Cellars, Foppiano Vineyards, Dry Creek Vineyard, Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, Bouchaine Vineyards, Brutocao Cellars, Edgewood, Murphy Goode Estate Winery, Thomas Fogerty Winery, Quivira Vineyards, Ravenswood Winery, Saintsbury and Lail Vineyards.

WineTasting.com grants consumers in legal direct shipping states unprecedented access to wines usually not distributed or in limited distribution -- vineyard-designated lots, aged wines, large format bottles and small production varietals -- wines typically available only from the tasting room. Currently, 25 percent of the wines offered are online exclusively through WineTasting.com, such as Chateau Montelena's Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Futures.

Other advantages WineTasting.com offers wineries that most online retailers do not, include:


  • Attracting and guiding the right consumer traffic from the hub web site to individual winery sites

  • Nine years of direct marketing experience

  • Proprietary in-house compliance engine for legal direct shipping

  • Compliant fulfillment services that simplify winery operations


  • Lead financing is provided by William R. Hambrecht, chairman of WR Hambrecht + Co. An outgrowth of Napa-based leading direct marketer Ambrosia, WineTasting.com's online community will officially launch in the fall.