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Todd Sheppard


Majestic: Angels angry over Naked Wines closing of Kenwood tasting room without warning


HERE… A month ago (Photo actually taken in 2012)


AND GONE … September 26, 2015

Naked Wines packed up its tasting room in Kenwood and quietly left town about three weeks ago. It failed to tell any of its “Angels” about the move, and that has not set well for those who stopped and found nothing Naked to taste.

Since its opening, Naked Wines has shared a tasting room with  St. Anne’s Crossing.

Angels participate in a kind of crowdfunding mechanism where they pay $40 per month into their Angel accounts. According to the company, the money helps fund new wines and winemakers and allows Angels to buy wine at steep discounts  off retail — typically 40% to 60% off list. In reality, few consumers ever pay the list price.

Employee said that Naked Wines would still be making wine at the Kenwood facility which still sports the Naked logo on the barrel room door.

The barrel room sign has also been a lightning rod for Angel anger.

“Please don’t use my name,” said a naked Wines employee,” but we have to handle a fair number of confused and angry people. I wish London could have emailed the Angels and let them know. They’re awfully nice people and have made a big difference.”

UPDATED at 4:42 p.m. September 28: Naked Wines responds to angry Angels article

Angry Angels bare naked wrath

“I’m pissed,” said one angry Angel who lives near the Sonoma County town of Windsor. “I’ve been a big fan of Naked Wines from the opening days of the tasting room. It was a really rude shock this week when I took friends from Silicon Valley to show them the tasting room and buy some wine and found that they had snuck out of town without telling anyone.”

She said she had emailed the company and demanded her Angel money back.

St. Anne’s Crossing also catching angry Angel flak

When Wine Industry Insight visited the site of Naked Wines’ former tasting room on Sept. 25, it found three carloads of profane Angels angrily complaining and slamming car doors.

As I entered the St. Anne’s Crossing tasting room, I was lucky enough to dodge a fourth Angel stomping toward the door. A St. Anne’s Crossing tasting room employee said this was a bit unusual, and that unlucky Angels usually left quietly and disappointed.

The  incidents — whether quiet or not — had been disruptive to the St. Anne’s Crossing visitors who had come to sample wines that range from $22 per bottle at the bottom for Sauvignon Blanc to $150 for a reserve Zinfandel.

It is not hard to imagine that Naked Wines may have worn out its welcome with its more young and  boisterous patrons and wines whose prices tend to hover around $12 per bottle and only infrequently exceed $20.

Previous Naked Wines coverage by WII and The Telegraph (London)