SONOMA, CA--(Marketwire - 06/30/11) - invino (www.invino.com) publicly announced today its direct import program -- yet another innovation in a succession of firsts the company has introduced to online wine retail. The first-of-its-kind direct import program gives invino members access to unique wines from around the world, never-before sold in the United States, at prices up to 80% off retail.Starting with the introduction of the first private sale site dedicated to wine in early 2010, the direct import program is another example of how invino consistently sets the trend for the online wine industry. invino was the first to launch other leading-edge programs including: affordable warm-weather shipping options to preserve wine integrity; gourmet food products, accessories, experiences and more.The invino sourcing team, led by CEO Tony Westfall, regularly visits small producers throughout major winemaking regions around the globe to identify new and interesting wines for direct import to the U.S. exclusively for invino Insiders. Since invino acts as the importer, members gain access to a greater selection of wines shipped quickly and directly to them at unmatched value."This idea was born out of an absolute passion for sharing some of my favorite wines from abroad with wine lovers back home that couldn't get these wines otherwise. I was in France, touring through Burgundy, and kept falling in love with these stunning wines that were not imported to the United States," said Tony Westfall, CEO, invino. "It became an obsession of mine to share these wines beyond the confines of France, so we started purchasing and importing them directly. Not only does this allow us to get the wines in the hands of invino Insiders, but also to do so at prices that you just cannot find elsewhere. Since then we have expanded to the rest of Europe and South America and are constantly searching for new finds.""Knowing that whole containers full of these small production gems from Bordeaux, Champagne, Mendoza and beyond are landing in our warehouse every month is wonderful," said Danielle Wein-Westfall, Co-Founder & CMO, invino. "As a wine enthusiast, having the ability to share these finds with our members, in addition to the great U.S. producers we love, is the 'icing on the cake.' In the end, it's just another way we're turning our passion for discovering wine around the globe into great access for our members."Leading Innovators in Online Wine
As noted above, the invino import program continues the company's record for pioneering new offerings in the online wine space. Among other features it introduced to wine private sale are:
- Single bottle access. invino was the first to offer consumers the best pricing online with single bottle purchases.
- Discounted shipping on every wine; always. invino was the first to offer a flat fee for shipping on every wine sold: $5 in CA and $10 elsewhere.
- Large formats & Cellar Collections™. invino was the first private sale site to offer large format bottles and private wine collections. Providing unique access for the wine connoisseur, these consistently sell-out.
- Warm-weather shipping program. invino partnered with FedEx as their beta partner in 2010 to implement a low-cost shipping program that ensures the integrity of wine quality during hot summer months.
- Wine-related experiences, accessories and food. Taking advantage of its wine country location, invino offers access to unique wine events and experiences, top accessories, and gourmet items from local purveyors; all priced to pass along the "at-cost" savings to Insiders.
invino was launched in 2010 by Tony and Danielle Westfall, wine industry entrepreneurs who have worked for companies such as Foster's Wine Estates, Trinchero Family Estates, the Sebastiani Family's Viansa Winery & Vineyards and Wine.com. Their vast network of wine industry contacts and experience in software, supply chain, marketing and ecommerce led them to start invino, the first members-only private sale company focused exclusively on the wine category.