Did You Know the Truth Behind Low-Priced Premium Wines?

Did You Know the Truth Behind Low-Priced Premium Wines?

A Must-Read Guide for Singaporean Wine Enthusiasts

Have you ever wondered why your favorite premium wine is suddenly being sold at a suspiciously low price? Learn about the risks of buying cheap wines and how to get authentic, high-quality wine in Singapore.


The Story of the Tempting Amarone Deal

Just the other day, a good friend and regular client forwarded me a WhatsApp message. It was an offer for a famous Amarone wine at a price that seemed too good to be true. My friend was thrilled, thinking he had stumbled upon a fantastic deal. But we knew better. This prompted us to share some insights on why your favorite wines are sometimes sold at such low prices, and the risks involved.

Understanding the Price Variations

It's natural for prices to fluctuate in any business due to differences in expenses such as store location, staffing, and marketing. These variations can cause the same products to be priced differently. However, if you notice your favorite wine being sold at a significantly lower price than usual, it could be a cause for concern.

Here's what you should keep in mind to ensure you get genuine, high-quality wine at a competitive price.

The Journey From the Winery to Your Table

Most wines in Singapore are imported through official channels. Importers buy directly from the wineries and sell to consumers through a network of distributors and retailers. This process ensures that wine cases, which travel thousands of kilometers, are handled with utmost care during shipping and storage.

Why Shipment Conditions Matter

Intercontinental voyages to Asia take several weeks. For example, a container ship from Italy to Singapore takes 4-5 weeks.

During such a long voyage, it's essential to ship wines in air-conditioned reefers to maintain the proper temperature and humidity. This ensures that the wine's quality and integrity are preserved, so you can enjoy it in pristine condition.

The wineries are deeply concerned about this because handling wines carefully is crucial for maintaining the reputation of wine brands.

Hidden Risks with Premium Wines Selling Cheap

As a wine lover, you must be aware of the hidden risks when buying premium wines at a suspiciously low price. Here are the red flags to watch out for:

The Risk from Parallel Imports

While most wines are imported through official channels, some are brought in by parallel importers. This in itself is not illegal in Singapore. These operators buy, not directly from the wineries, but from middlemen in home markets, say in Europe or other large import markets like China. They ship them to Singapore without necessarily adhering to strict shipping standards.

Industry chatter has it that they even use non-air-conditioned containers to save costs, exposing expensive wines like Amarone, Barolo, and Burgundy to extreme temperatures and humidity for over a month during their ocean voyage. This compromises the wine's quality and taste, all to offer it at a cheaper price.

Low Prices Are Advertised, But Stocks Are Not Readily Available 

Sometimes, you find some sellers list wines online for a bundle of 6 or 12 bottles at a rather low price, but they don’t have the stock on hand. The low price is just a clickbait. When you read more, you learn they source and import the wine cases only after you place the order. This means your wine may not have been handled correctly during transit, risking its quality, and it would be delivered only a few weeks later. So, do check the delivery time upfront before placing the order.

Prices for Different Vintages Could Vary

A low price might sometimes also indicate that the seller is offloading stale stocks from a previous vintage that the winery no longer sells or where the vintage was priced lower. Always check the vintage to ensure you’re getting fresh, quality wine, imported directly from the winery and kept in temperature and humidity-controlled storage. Also, while comparing prices for the same wine, do check the vintages so that you do an apples-to-apples comparison.

Buy from Us. We Tick All The Boxes!

After sharing these insights, we have earned some bragging rights! Get peace of mind when you buy from us. 

  • All the wines in our portfolio are from official channels. All duties and taxes are fully paid.
  • Our wines are brought in with due care in air-conditioned containers and kept in optimal storage conditions throughout their intercontinental travel.
  • The stocks for all the wines in our online store are available unless otherwise mentioned. 
  • The vintage we are carrying is listed on the product page for every wine.

When a product runs out of stock or the vintage changes, we make every effort to update our online listing soonest. 

Summary: What to Watch Out For

When you see a wine being sold at a very cheap price in Singapore, consider these factors:

  1. Official Channels: Ensure wines are brought into Singapore through registered importers and official channels, not fly-by-night operators.
  2. Shipment Conditions: Verify that the wine was shipped in air-conditioned containers.
  3. Stock Availability: Confirm that the seller has the wine in stock and isn’t importing it post-order.
  4. Vintage Check: When comparing the price of wine between different sellers, make sure the comparison is for the same vintage.

By keeping these points in mind, you can enjoy your favorite wines with confidence, knowing they are authentic, of high quality, and worth every dollar you spend. Cheers to making informed wine choices!

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