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© 2015 Wolfgang Bitterolf
...a blog about the lighter side of wine...




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Date: September 18, 2017
By: Seth, Saint Charles, ??
Posting: heartwood and oak
Your Comment:
They use deceptive advertizing. Do not believe the four extra bottles if you double your order. This is a lie, and if you call to complain, you will receive no response. Emails are not answered. Really unhappy with this company.

Date: September 13, 2017
By: WriterLady, Aurora, CO
Posting: Heartwood and Oak Wine and Splash Wines
Your Comment:
I have bought wine from both sites and have been more disappointed by Splash Wines. The wines I received had dust on the bottles and the wine was clearly old. I ended up poring out two bottles. I had a better experience with Heartwood and Oak but their prices have gone up. Just recently I saw that Martha Stewart was starting a wine business and every wine I saw on her site was also on Heartwood and Oak. Her wine was more expensive. I have a Trader Joe's in my city and I would rather buy from them or the local liquor store.

Date: August 7, 2017
By: Cathy, Audubon, NJ
Posting: Groupon
Your Comment:
You are so right! I am so disgusted with groupon as well. They have no contact anymore. No phone number. So if you have a problem you are SOL. The third party sales leaves consumers holding the bag more times than not.
But I must say sometimes you must embrace the days of your youth and drink the just O.K. wine after you've drank the good wine with mixed company so not to waste. Knowing you will never buy it again. Or give it to non connoiseur's for Christmas. Who know maybe it just needed to age a little. F.Y.I the best Prosecco I have ever had comes from Laithewhite. Tennuto Ca' Bolani. I have to buy it by the case.

Date: June 30, 2017
By: MS, Dallas, TX
Posting: Splash vs Heartwood & Oak
Your Comment:
I disagree, sort of.
I've ordered many times from Heartwood & Oak- always the advertised deals on Brad's Deals (much better than Groupon) and have never had a klinker in the bunch.
I should add that I always order Reds only.
Now, Splash is a different story. Ordered the groupon assortment and it's horrid. None of the Splash Wines were the same as in the H&O assortments.
I think Heartwood and Oak is an amazing deal! Very good wine, easy order and delivery, excellent price.

Date: June 17, 2017
By: michele, west chester, pa
Posting: heartwood and oak
Your Comment:
Thanks. Your research saved me some money.

Date: June 16, 2017
By: Jeanne, Baltimore MD
Posting: Shipping
Your Comment:
Can't understand why after 2 weeks I have not received the case of wine from Splash Wines.

Date: June 15, 2017
By: Nic, Minneapolis, MN
Posting: The Great Groupon Wine Rip-Off
Your Comment:
I see there have been a lot of comments on this post and thought I would add my experience. I purchased a Living Social deal for Splash Wines. It was for a case of Rose for $40 or so, I thought what a great deal! Didn't think that I'd still have to pay shipping, which was $30 on Splash Wines site. I said ok, no big deal, still felt I got a good deal.
Well I started drinking them and the first one I tried was way too sweet. That's not Splash Wines fault, but it was definitely a cheap White Zin disguised as a Rose.
Fast forward a few weeks and I had friends over, so I chilled one that I thought might be nicer (hadn't had one yet). I opened it for my friend and she had a weird look on her face. She then took one sip and had to spit it out it was so bad. Now I was able to drink it, but I didn't think it was great. My friend however has taken the first 2 levels in becoming a Sommelier, so she knows her wine. She said the color was off (had a brownish hue), then she looked at the vintage (which was 2010) and said Rose's and White's should be no more than 2-3 yrs old before consuming. I then proceeded to check the other labels. Only one more listed the vintage, 2012. And that label even specifically said on the back that it should be enjoyed before 2015!!
When I contact Splash Wines for a refund, they refused and would only give me in-store credit. As if I'll ever order from them again! I do not trust them.

Date: April 26, 2017
By: Romano, Baltimore, MD
Posting: February 27, 2015, Leah, Houston, TX
Your Comment:
Thank you! I received an offer through Evite for a wine "deal" from Heartwood & Oak. I always check for scams before buying into something unfamiliar, and your posting was a great warning. Thanks for doing the research and sharing it.

Date: April 24, 2017
By: Satisfied customer, Alpharetta, GA
Posting: The Great Groupon Wine Rip-Off
Your Comment:
I can't count myself as a wine connoisseur, but I know what I like. I took a slightly upgraded Groupon offer from Splash Wines that worked out to $8 per bottle, shipped to my door, shipping included. I'm about 2/3 of the way through, and with one exception, I've been pleased with the variety and quality of the selection I received. These are not close to the best wines I've tasted, but at $8 per bottle, I definitely didn't go wrong.

Date: April 21, 2017
By: Ty, Seattle, WA
Posting: Heartwood and Oak
Your Comment:
First off, I would like to say that I personally have gotten some great wines from Heartwood and Oak. Most of the time on Vivino the wines show up cheap because they are imported and you are getting the European Price, which is much less than ours. Like a Spanish wine only costing 3 Euros but its 24.99 for us.
Secondly I have dealt with H and Oaks many times and they have a money back guarantee on all of the wines that they sell. Each bottle you poured down the toilet you could have called (or the new instant messaging program on their website) and you can be reimbursed the dollar amount spent on the wine or they will give you a voucher that is usually worth more, to try another bottle. I bought 45 bottles of wine and I didn't enjoy 5 of them. I paid 5.00 a piece for the bottles and they gave me 50.00 in credit which I turned around and bought a 40.00 bottle of wine and 10.00 shipping. and that wine was some of the best I've ever tried.
If you buy the "International" it is the cheapest wine they have, but if you did the upgrade to "Winemakers Choice" the bottles go up to 30.00
I just ordered the new "Best of the Reds" and I didn't like two of the brands, which was 6 of the 15 bottles. I got an email from an associate named Philip and they have given me the choice to get new red wine like the ones I did enjoy (and free shipping) or I can get 40.00 reimbursed to my credit card. I am going for the wine. I gave him a list of the ones that I prefer and he is going to try and match it.
So, I just would like everyone to give their customer service associates a chance to get you some wine you would enjoy drinking, rather than just say that all their wine is terrible.
I know this is not the case.
the River's End Cabernet Sauvignon is really really good, and I truly enjoyed the Pretium Malbec/Merlot from Georges Vigouroux.
At my wine tasting party everyone also enjoyed the Bear Hug Select Cab.
Thanks for reading and I hope it works out for you.
and no I don't work for the company or anything. I actually live in Kihei Maui and have to have all my wine shipped to Seattle where I come on vacation and pack my suitcase full of wine and take it on the plane because they don't deliver to Hawaii.

Date: April 19, 2017
By: debbiedooright, roxbury nj
Posting: wine scam
Your Comment:
Wow. That was quite an eye opener and agree 100% I ordered 4 cases but goodie for me only paid 65 per case and no s/h Since I am no where near a wine snob I'm ok with the taste but will not be buying from them again TY for the enlightenment!

Date: April 18, 2017
By: Leah, Houston, TX
Posting: Heartwood and Oak
Your Comment:
These wines are terrible! I bought into the scam through Travelzoo. I received a half case for like 60 bucks or so of ''award winnning wines''. I wonder what ''awards'' these tasteless wines won? Every bottle, and yes I mean EVERY bottle was horrible! It tasted like water with a touch of crushed grape. I will never buy this again.

Date: April 14, 2017
By: Boo, Oklahoma City, OK
Posting: Groupon and Wine Insiders
Your Comment:
I am not going to doubt or argue. You are likely correct. We're not connoisseurs. I'm the one who likes wine; the husband tolerates. But my experience from Wine Insiders was generally good to "I liked that one." Were the wines not really discounted? I am not sure I care as long as I wasn't price gouged. I live in Oklahoma, our elected officials gouge me for cash as a hobby. Case closed on that argument. Anyway, if you know someplace where, for a reasonable outlay, I can try wines I would not otherwise, please let me know. Now, in case you were going to be bold and mention that Oklahoma (among a number of other states) has its own wine industry. . . yes, it does. Again, I don't know much about wine, but I know when I taste dirt.
PS If there were a private way to share my contact info I would do so. But I'm not putting it out there. I already get phone calls and emails from every quack who ever drew breath. Take care!

Date: April 4, 2017
By: winehawg, Cleveland, OH
Posting: Splash Wines
Your Comment:
I've purchased from Splash Wines several times and don't think it is in the same family as the other Groupon wine deals. The few times I've purchased from Groupon they were clear about the $30 shipping cost and needing to use the voucher on the Splash site. When you purchase directly from Splash there is no shipping fee, but the price is higher. The average case of wine that I've purchased is in the $100-120 range with some of the better wine being up closer to $200. I've had a few duds in the cheapest packs, but on average everything I've received from Splash has been much better than the swill that I used to drink. Haven't had one bottle that we didn't finish. Customer service had been great although the only issues I've had have been with Fed Ex making the delivery or dropping the box.

Date: March 27, 2017
By: Blake, Huntington Beach, CA
Posting: Heartwood & Oak and Wine Insiders
Your Comment:
I am unfortunately a moron and at the same time bought both Heartwood & Oak and Wine Insiders on Groupon before reading this. Both orders came with pretty much the same wine. I have 4 bottles of Cremaschi Furlotti Nguilleu Merlot 2015. Womp. So bitter. Anyway, wanted to say thank you for putting this site up so others who are smarter than me can know before they purchase what a rip off Heartwood & Oak and Wine Insiders is on Groupon.

Date: March 14, 2017
By: Guitarman, Lewisburg PA
Posting: Heartwood and Oak - Groupon
Your Comment:
I didn't realize there were so many wine connoisseurs around. I, like some of you, had a special voucher for Heartwood and Oak Wines. I actually bought 24 bottles of 3 types of their red wines and payed about $5.00 each with no extra charge for shipping. I have been a at many wineries and can tell you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Even wine experts disagree on the quality of wine and the psychology of tasting takes precedent over n the actual taste.
To be fair to Heartwood and Oaks, I found their wines to be excellent and would challenge you to comparing their $5.00 wine with one that cost hundreds of dollars. I drink 2 glasses of wine with dinner and will continue to order their wines as well as others. My policy is not to pay more that $10.0o a bottle for wine ever.... I challenge you to give your friend a bottle of Heartwood and Oaks and tell them it cost over $50 a bottle and they will find that it tastes a lot better.

Date: March 7, 2017
By: Henschen, Bettendorf
Posting: Heartwood and Oak - Groupon
Your Comment:
Unfortunately, I didn't see this until after I bought the wine deal. I found the Heartwood and Oak deal as a Facebook ad. Sounded like a great deal. First bottle was pretty crap. So I looked at all the rest of the labels. Drinks LLC and Saddlehorn Cellars make up the bulk of the wines with pretty generic labels. Maybe they will be good cooking. Maybe.

Date: March 7, 2017
By: DogX, La Quinta, CA
Posting: Heartwood & Oak
Your Comment:
I had a 50% Groupon discount and fell for the Heartwood & Oak deal. The wine arrived in just a few days in a very sturdy box. No problems so far. So far I have opened six bottles of white wine and five of the six were promptly dumped down the drain. Crap wine. The sixth was sweet but drinkable--but pretty bland. Have not opened a red yet. With my discount the cast came out to $5 and change. So far a total waste of money. Do not buy!

Date: March 6, 2017
By: Terri, Kansas City, MO
Posting: Groupon Wine Vouchers
Your Comment:
I posted a note a while ago that I ordered wines from Heartwood and Oak...a voucher gift. The wines arrived in an unexpected timely manner. I chilled one red wine (Tremo Carbonic Maceration) and one white wine (Della Flora Pinot Grigio). The red wine was weak upon opening. The next day it seemed to have a little more body, but not worth having another glass. The white wine was flat. It tasted like salted water. I used a portion of it for making a reduction sauce for chicken. The rest was poured down the drain. Ugh! I have 10 more bottles of these "fine" wines. Please, do not order wines through Groupon.

Date: February 27, 2017
By: Jon, Glenview, Illinois
Posting: Groupon Wine Offer
Your Comment:
I can't thank you enough, I was just about ready to place that order to Heartland and Oaks when a little unsettling feeling led me to do some quick checking online. Your post confirmed what I guess I already knew, these cheap wines aren't good values they're just cheap wines.

Date: February 2, 2017
By: Vicki, Kati, TX
Posting: Wine ''Deals''
Your Comment:
Thank you for your first-hand comment about the wine deals...I just sent out an evite for my upcoming birthday par-tea (cute, eh?!) and a pop-up appeared for wines from Heartwood & Oak for $4.99/bottle. I thought..well, why not - if someone wanted to drink a wine at my party instead of champagne or sherry...then how could I go wrong? You can waste money on non-plus wines. So a BIG thank you from this consumer!!!

Date: January 26, 2017
By: Terri, Kansas City
Posting: Groupon Wine Vouchers
Your Comment:
I was given a voucher as a gift for Heartwood and Oak. I placed the order before I found this site. I have a sinking feeling I may be pouring out sour grape juice when/if my order arrives. I'm not a Groupon member, but have friends who have had fine experiences. However, that still hasn't prompted me to sign up. I will let you know about my experience after I receive the wines.

Date: January 26, 2017
By: Zeusroom39, Atlanta, ga
Posting: Heartwoodandoak wines
Your Comment:
Avoid this. I made a big mistake.

Date: January 18, 2017
By: Nancy, Little Rock, AR
Posting: Groupon Wine Deal
Your Comment:
Thank you for your post on this deal. You saved me 100 bucks. This was offered in the "Arkansas Daily Deal" someone should do their homework before allowing these offers.

Date: January 14, 2017
By: Paulette, Atmore, AL
Posting: Groupon/Splash Wines
Your Comment:
I've waited 3 weeks for the wine that I ordered from Groupon to be delivered. Only to log into my paypal account and discover that I had purchased a voucher and had to redeem it at the Splash Wines website. No problem, right? Wrong. Once I put in the voucher code, it asked which method of delivery I want, but only listed one, which was $29.95. There was no mention of a delivery fee in the Groupon add, so now, I have to pay an addition 30 bucks for 15 bottles of wine. After you add the original cost, plus the shipping fee, I could have gone to the local liquor store and bought what I wanted.

Date: January 9, 2017
By: Supermod, Coraopolis, PA
Posting: Wineinsiders
Your Comment:
An update.... Dealing with Wine Insiders was the worse experience I have ever experienced with a company. I was lied to many times by different customer support representatives on how they process and ship orders. They took 3 business days to process my order, which meant my order was going to be shipped beyond their estimated delivery time of 2-3 days as listed on their site. They could've just told me that they were overloaded with orders and couldn't deliver as fast as they usually do, but they kept lying about the details of what was happening to my order. So eventually I received the package 10 business days later, but it was too late for the event I ordered them for. I just wish they were honest from the beginning instead of giving me the runaround.

Date: December 30, 2016
By: Jennifer, NY, NY
Posting: Wine Scam
Your Comment:
Thanks for your post. I was about to hit the buy button after filling out the details. Something was nawing at me to stop, but the savings was too good.

Date: December 28, 2016
By: Supermod, Coraopolis, PA
Posting: Groupon - Wine insiders
Your Comment:
I purchased a Wineinsiders voucher from Groupon Wednesday night. The voucher didn't work, so Groupon suggested that I call Wineinsiders directly. I called them the next night on Thrursday and I was able to use the voucher but still had to pay extra for taxes. I've been calling them this whole week trying to figure out when they were going to finally ship my order since the website clearly states the deliveries takes 3-5 days. Every representative gave me a different answer until finally, they said they don't process orders on Fridays and since Monday was a "business holiday" they only were able to process it on Tuesday. Let's see when this is getting delivered! I need them for this Saturday, how can they not be clear about their shipping process. Urghhh....I should've just gone to the store!

Date: December 28, 2016
By: Brian, Colchester, CT
Posting: Wine scam
Your Comment:
Looking up the company and finding they have no customer service or location made me think this was a scam. I got my money back and told Groupon this was a fake deal and they should check it out. They told me they are legit and will send me their product. It's seems like their taking the cheapest wine and labeling it as something better. I'm going to call Groupon again. I suggest everyone should do the same. Make them prove their wines are what they say by disclosing a vendor list and having actual credentials. A company with something to his is cutting corners

Date: December 27, 2016
By: Jim, Plano, TX
Posting: Wine Discount Groupon
Your Comment:
I will be receiving my wines tomorrow and will follow up on here to give a further review of the wines I receive. They are "supposed" to be the International wines.

Date: December 17, 2016
By: Kristen, Tacoma, WA
Posting: The review of Groupon's Heartwood and Oak wine ''deal''.
Your Comment:
I try to educate myself before purchasing anything from Htouoin that I dint have personal experience with, in this case it appeared to good to be true.
I ran into trouble finding information on the wines available with this offer.
Your review offered the info that I needed and a link to the Yelp community. Thank you for taking the time to review this product, you saved me the trouble of having to eat the sjippong cost and wasting slot of time selecting my order. Cheers!

Date: December 17, 2016
By: Diane, Fishers, IN
Posting: Splash Wines Groupon
Your Comment:
I just opened my third bottle of this atrocious wine to see if I could stomach any of it. I swear the grapes were picked last month and then watered down in the process. None of this is drinkable!

Date: December 12, 2016
By: BJH, Detroit, MI
Your Comment:
Thank you. I was considering this as a gift, because it sounded like something a wine drinker would enjoy. I wouldn't have looked as good of a present giver as I thought I would when I read their description. I wanted more info when I couldn't find any info about the actual winery. Most wineries want to show off their grapes and buildings. Thanks

Date: December 1, 2016
By: No, Baltimore, MD
Your Comment:
Thank you so much for your review on Groupon!!!
This is beyond helpful as I was considering purchasing ... I shall pass.

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February 27, 2015

The Great Groupon Wine Rip-Off

Someone suggested that I look at a Groupon wine offer from Wine Insiders: $79.00 (+19.95 shipping) for a case of assorted California red wines valued at $359.40 - how could you possibly go wrong with that?

Well, you can - and you will! If you don't want to read any further, then just check out the reviews at Yelp (click here).

I received six different wines I had never heard of before, two bottles each. The wines we have tried so far are abysmal - and they all taste virtually the same!

I got suspicious and wanted to know the real market value of these wines. I scanned them with Vivino: Average value = $7.00. I wondered how they came up with the $359.40 value, and so I started to dig a little:

• I found only two on-line retailers (barclaywines.com and heartwoodandoak.com) that carry all but one of the wines I received. The wines were advertised between $15.00 and $20.00 - even at these prices the assortment had a value of only $200.00.

• Upon closer investigation I found out that both retailers are probably decoy operations to justify the prices; they have the same street address (2355 Westwood Blvd. #791, Los Angeles, CA 90064), nothing more than box #791 in a hole-in-the-wall store called Mail & More.

• Both websites were apparently created by Drinks, LLC. The address for Drinks is 1964 Westwood Blvd, 4 blocks from Mail & More.

• I looked at the bottles a little closer; four of them were by Saddlehorn Cellars, San Martin, CA, and two by Jenna Winery, also San Martin, CA.

• Yelp lists 7 wineries in San Martin (27 in the area), but the two I was looking for are nowhere to be found.

• I found that there is a winery called Arroyo Seco which has the same street address as Saddlehorn (12805 Llagas Ave, San Martin, CA 95046).

• Arroyo Seco is owned by ASV Wines (asvwines.com), a company which specializes in private labeling of wines.

• Wine Insiders hides their physical address, you will only find a PO Box in Aston, PA

• The wines ship from an apparently unmarked warehouse in Glenwillow, OH. The telephone number given on the UPS label is (999) 999-9999.

So what is the big picture here?

In my opinion this is a skillfully designed rip-off scheme to sell you something for a lot more than it is worth. It appears that you are buying wines that don't really exist and were created just for this scheme. I do not think that there are any violations of the law, but there are carefully planned and willfully executed violations of moral and ethical values.

I may have lost a hundred bucks; in my book the big looser is Groupon. I just got an email from them promoting a Wine Discovery Pack by Splash Wines. Are you kidding me? I will never ever trust anything I see promoted on Groupon!

Now I am trying to find some enemies to whom I can give the wines I have!