Okay, I am acting like I found it on my own, but the truth is I didn't. A while ago my name somehow got placed on WineBid.com's mailing list, but I never paid attention to it until my honeyman told me that I should check it out. For the past couple of years he's been a regular on e-Bay, adding to his collections of Native American trade blankets, fountain pens, Sixties rock and roll posters and (too much) other stuff. Now, thanks to WineBid, he's working on his French wine collection as well as keeping track of what Washington state wines are being offered.
For a bidding site I am surprised at the variety WineBid offers. I hunted around for some obscurities from Argentina and St. Helena and I found them. Will I bid? Maybe. Will I get in a bidding war? No.
But if you are looking for Walla Walla wines that are hard to come by, WineBid might be just the place for you. It doesn't have an abundance of Washington wines on offer at this point, but what it does have is pretty terrific. There are a few bottles offered of 2002 Basel Cellars Reserve Syrah, which in my opinion is a very fine Syrah but no longer available at the winery. WineBid also has up for bid various older vintages of Leonetti, Pepper Bridge and Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignons -- none of these wines are easy to find either, especially the older bottlings. Yet if you bid carefully and patiently, you could pick them all up and make yourself a nice package of Cabernet horizontals and verticals. There is also a vertical of Leonetti Merlot with a reasonable starting bid. Also available is a 2003 Copain Cailloux-Coccinelle Syrah made from Walla Walla Valley Cayuse Vineyard grapes that were shipped to a facility in California. WineBid secures its inventory by buying collections, then offering up the parts for auction.
Bear in mind: While the starting prices can represent real values, the starting price is just that: the beginning. What the successful bidder actually pays may be higher, depending on whether there was a lot of bidding action on a particular bottle or bottles on offer. Also, WineBid, like all auction houses, adds a commission (14%) and insurance (1%) to the successful bid price, plus tax. On the other hand, if you're in the neighborhood you can pick up the wine at WineBid's warehouse in Napa, Calif., or at its other warehouse in Illinois to avoid shipping costs.
My honeyman (Ummm - - his name is Steve) and I agree WineBid is user-friendly and particularly easy to navigate. The other thing we were both quick to notice is the integrity and professionalism of the site's hosts. The bidder is given full details on the condition of the bottle as well as its provenance. With all of the wine and auction sites out there, it's good to know that this is one wine site the wine-shopper can put their full faith in. If you're looking vintage wines from the major wine-producing regions of the world, including Walla Walla, WineBid is an ideal place to start.