Online wine shopping can be intimidating for a lot of people. But it doesn’t have to be!
When you’re able to comparison shop, it’s quick and easy to find the best price on a bottle of wine. But there are a few other things to keep in mind when buying wine online.
1. Know what you’re looking for
Online wine retailers have a lot to offer. They make it quick and easy to browse a wealth of wines, compare prices and have bottles delivered directly to your door – in short, they simplify the wine shopping process.
But before you hit that big ‘buy’ button, think about what exactly you are looking for. What style of wine are you interested in? Do you want white, red, sparkling or fortified wine? Do you have a particular producer or region in mind? And how many bottles do you need?
This will help you narrow down your options, and it will also help you to avoid the pitfalls that come with buying online. For instance, it’s easy to get sucked into a ‘bargain bin’ sale where you see wines that have been slapped together to meet a price point – these are often close-outs that didn’t sell well at the winery and aren’t likely to impress your taste buds. Also, don’t fall for the ‘FOMO’ techniques that some wine clubs and warehouses use to manipulate your decision making – they rely on you having an unhealthy obsession with getting great deals and exclusives!
2. Read reviews
With the growth of direct-to-consumer wine shipments, online shopping has become more and more popular. But, with so many retailers now offering this service and the potential risk of shipping wine to a home in hot weather (that can damage wine), it’s important to be savvy about how to shop for wine online.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available for consumers to use when shopping for wine online. From professional wine ratings and scores to educational resources and tasting notes, consumers now have access to a library of information right at their fingertips.
Additionally, many online retailers offer a wide variety of wines to choose from, often at more competitive prices than local brick-and-mortar stores. And, the best online wine vendors also have hassle-free return policies. All of this means that consumers can shop for wine with confidence, even in the middle of the night or between zoom calls at work. This added convenience can make the experience of purchasing wine online a truly enjoyable and empowering one. So, why not give it a try?
3. Compare prices
Drinking great wine doesn’t have to be expensive, particularly if you shop wisely. Online shopping can be a convenient way to stock up on wines you enjoy at the best prices.
Many reputable online wine retailers provide professional wine ratings or scores, detailed descriptions, and educational resources to help consumers make informed buying decisions. They also offer curated packs, subscriptions and half bottles to encourage consumers to try new wine.
Shipping wine can be costly, but many wine retailers will absorb those costs if you order a certain amount. This is particularly true if you are purchasing rare or hard-to-find wines.
One of the most significant advantages of buying wine online is real price transparency. Online wine retailers can often offer better deals on their products than local stores, especially when it comes to wines from small producers or those in limited supply. This can save you money, and knowing that you have gotten the best deal makes every bottle of wine you purchase even more satisfying. You can further bolster your savings by taking advantage of free or low-cost shipping options and purchasing in bulk, which typically provides a lower per-bottle rate.
4. Check shipping times
The online wine shopping world is a crowded one, with many stores offering an appreciable selection of wines and many more offering sweet deals. To help you navigate the choices, do a little research before making your purchase.
For instance, make sure the wine shop you choose can ship to your state. The majority of major online wine shops can, but not all (the laws on direct-to-consumer shipping vary by state).
Most importantly, you need to understand how long it will take for your bottle of wine to reach you. Most online wine shops have a convenient shipping calculator where you can type in your zip code and get an estimate on how long it will take for your order to arrive.
It may seem like a lot of work, but buying wine online is actually quite a streamlined process. With the right research in advance, it can be a fun and empowering way to explore new wines or find old favorites. Just remember, stocking up makes sense if possible. Shipping a case (12 bottles) often costs less per bottle than shipping just one.
5. Check availability
For many wine drinkers, buying wine online is still something of a gamble. The process might not have the charm of browsing in a dusty merchant, or the convenience of lugging home heavy bottles, but it’s incredibly efficient and safe, thanks to the precautions that reputable retailers put in place.
This includes requiring an adult signature upon delivery, as well as keeping careful records of temperatures where wines are shipped to ensure that they don’t suffer in transit. Wineries that rely on direct-to-consumer sales to bolster their bottom line also invest in compliance companies to help them navigate the various shipping laws, often across multiple states.
In addition, reputable retailers will provide an abundance of information on their wines to help you make the best purchase decision possible. This can include technical sheets for each wine, tasting notes from their staff, critic scores and reviews and even broader educational content on the region, producer or style you’re looking for. These additional resources will help you avoid making a purchasing mistake, especially for a pricey bottle of wine.