Direct Cellars is the popular network marketing company that brought wine to the MLM space.
A wine club + direct sales? Sounds like a gold mine for stay-at-home moms who want a home based business selling wine to their friends.
So have I been involved?
This video explains:
All good? Let’s continue…
Direct Cellers is a wine MLM that launched in 2014. They’re headquartered in Fort Lauderdale with offices in Chicago and Seattle. The company was founded by David DiStefano.
Almost all their business comes from the U.S. (over 90%), but they do operate in Canada as well.
Their hype history has seen some interesting ups and downs, but September of 2016 they really started building up a steady upward trend, finally pegging 100 in April of 2017.
This might because they recently revamped their marketing and sales methods in 2016, diving head first into network marketing. Judging from the buzz, it seems to be working pretty well for them.
I can see why. People are skeptical about buying miracle diet pills and the latest cosmetics craze, but there’s nothing sketchy about a good old fashioned bottle of wine. People who drink wine regularly are willing to fork over a pretty penny for the stuff, and it doesn’t matter how it’s marketed.
On top of that, this is perhaps the ONLY kind of MLM where I can see a home party actually being a successful way to sell. While you’d have the investment cost of purchasing a few bottles of wine, offering ample wine samples to party attendees guarantees that they’re going to 1 – have a good time, and 2 – be willing to open their wallets wide. The best way to get people to spend money on wine is to get them drunk on it.
How much does Direct Cellers cost?
The start-up costs all depend on how big you want to buy in.
Premium Wine Lover ($249.95) gets you 4 bottles of wine to start. After that, you pay $79.95/month to stay on the 4 bottle/month autoship.
Premium Wine Lover Elite ($499.95) gets you 12 bottles of wine to start. After that, you get 4 bottles/month on autoship for a monthly fee of $79.95.
You’re not going to find any two buck chuck or $5 Barefoot bottles here, but the prices are still pretty reasonable, and the quality is high.
Direct Cellers sources their wine from small artisan vineyards around the world. They’re usually family-owned operations that produce top-level, unique batches of wine, and then Direct Cellers delivers them straight to your home.
Because Direct Cellers is a wine club, you don’t actually have to go on and order individual bottles, choose your preferences, etc. This is great for people who can become overwhelmed by huge wine selections, or people who want to try something new every month. You tell Direct Cellers your wine preferences, including how many reds and how many wines you want to receive, and they send you a new selection tailored to your preferences each month.
Shipments even come with detailed information on the vineyards and wines, tasting notes, and all kinds of other fun tips.
Depending on the plan you sign up for, the wine bottles range from $20-$25 a piece. This isn’t bad, especially considering you’re getting top quality wine AND it’s being sent straight to your home. It’s actually about the same price, if not cheaper, as going to the wine store several times a month to pick up your own – but it’s a lot more convenient, and more fun.
Wine subscriptions are priced as follows…
- $49.95/month for 2 bottles of wine
- $79.95/month for 4 bottles of wine
You also have to pay a $20 activation fee at first to activate your membership, so initial orders will cost you $69.95 or $99.95.
One huge perk for people who don’t want to get deeply involved in the direct sales aspect of the club is that joining on as an affiliate and referring a few other people can get you your monthly wine order for free. Free wine? Sounds interesting.
Each month that you refer 3 new customers, you get your monthly order completely free. This stands even if the people you refer purchase cheaper packages than yours, which is a great deal.
On top of that, Direct Cellers operates on a hybrid compensation plan, so you can earn through both binary and unilevel commissions. First, however, you need to sponsor 2 active members on autoship in order to qualify for commissions.
Each time you sell a wine bottle package to a new customer, you get $20. When you recruit a new Premium Wine Lover affiliate, you get paid $125. When you recruit a new Premium Wine Lover Elite affiliate, you get paid $250.
Binary commissions are paid out depending on your rank and according to the following chart:
- Wine Enthusiast: 6%
- Wine Critic: 8%
- Wine Specialist: 10%
- Wine Expert: 12%
- Wine Connoisseur: 14%
- Wine Aficionado: 16%
- Wine Master: 18%
- Master Cellar: 20%
Unilevel commission are paid on based on rank as well, and you can unlock up to 9 level deep. They range from 10% to 38%.
On top of that, you can earn a matching bonus on the commission of your direct recruits, down to level 4.
The commission plan is pretty standard. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s definitely a good plan.
The product is pretty genius, way better than most MLM products. The reviews on their wine seem to be pretty good too.
Direct Cellers is a great opportunity for people who really love wine, want to get their monthly shipment for free, and would enjoy holding the occasional wine party in order to recoup some costs. However, at $20-25/bottle, you’re going to have to invest a good chunk of change if you want to offer samples, so a lot of time and effort will have to be put in to make sure you build up a big attendance list of people who are likely to buy your product.
This isn’t a full-time job. Marketing a wine club takes a lot of time and effort for a small payout – a few bottles of wine for free, and maybe a $20 bonus here and there. It’s not steady passive income.
That being said, it could be a fun hobby. Just don’t expect to quit your day job on it and work from home.
Look, there is a better way.
Check this out. You can trash your MLM money-chasing habits for good.