Success in a Bottle: Wine Sites Finally Start to Win Over Web

From soil to sip, it takes a long time to make the finest wine. So it’s fitting that the industry’s journey to online buying has been a slow one, marked by legal and legislative hurdles that have scared away some of the biggest retail players.

But a scrappy group of pure-play wine sites may have finally uncorked the right formula to bring more wine online. They are companies like 13-year-old, which has restructured under new management, brought in top marketers and launched a daily-deals site that helped it post its first profit in fiscal 2011. And they are upstarts such as Lot18, co-founded last year by 32-year-old adventurer Philip James, who has scaled Mount Everest but whose greatest achievement might have been luring some $13 million in venture capital.

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