Due to the nature of wine, there are issues you must consider when you are looking for the best places to buy wine online. The answer varies from person to person depending on your needs, budget, location and more.
Of COURSE if I had my way I’d travel the world only buying at wineries… but life gets in the way. So what other options are there?
Deciding the Best Places to Buy Wine Online
There are professional wine critics giving advice, but they have their own personal judgment on the taste and quality of a wine. You may rate it differently according to your tastes. It’s a good place to start, but if you order wine online you MUST have the option to return wine you don’t care for, as well as be credited for a bottle you drink but don’t enjoy.
You may also get advice from your friends and local wine shops. Don’t be intimidated to ask for advice and suggestions on what brands and types of wines that will match your taste in collecting and/or drinking wine.
Buying wine online is steadily gaining popularity as is buying everything else on the internet. The internet offers a convenient means to order wine from the comforts of home. However, due to the nature of wine, there are issues you must consider when deciding the best places to buy wine online “for you”.
1. Legal issues. Some states will require you to provide identification as to whether you are of legal age. Some states prohibit the delivery of wine products across different states. Also make sure you read the purchase agreements between you and the online store. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or make your expectations known. Most online stores have support e-addresses to contact in this case. Make sure the seller has a return guarantee on bad wine.
2. Reliability of the online store or wine broker. Most people, when new to purchasing online, are tentative regarding online payments and orders. For added security, you should be able to make follow up confirmations through email, phone, and fax. If the company you are purchasing wine from doesn’t have numbers regarding such, skip that company and look for others that do.
The reason is not just to calm your nerves regarding online purchases, but also to promote good business habits. You never know if there have been any technical or clerical errors regarding your order. You may alternately contact business bureaus and similar organizations within your state to make sure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate and in good standing.
3. Shipping. Shipping may add a significant amount to your purchase so make sure you consider the shipping costs of each delivery. If your online store doesn’t mention the price of the shipping, it would be wise for you to find out. You also want to consider the time it takes from order to delivery as well. If you’re ordering for a dinner party next Friday, it’s nice to know it will BE THERE next Friday as well!
4. Look at auctions. If you’re a more serious wine drinker or collector, when you get comfortable with the ins and outs of online purchasing – and feel sufficiently secure in your dealing and buying skills, you may want to look at online wine auctions and sales. Although they pose a significant risk to buyers (as do all auctions), they present a chance for you to purchase vintage wines at affordable costs.
After the wine arrives, make sure that it has an undamaged label. You shouldn’t buy those wines that have faded labels. It might mean that the bottle may have been exposed to sunlight and wasn’t properly stored… it may end up a better salad dressing than food pairing if it’s turning to vinegar!
When you’re looking for the best places to buy wine online you should also be certain that you’re ordering from somewhere that not only keeps track of your purchases but makes it easy for you to re-order the same vintage.
Even better, is somewhere (or someone) who will send you a quick email if your favorite wine is close to being sold out or has a price reduction for a special holiday or offer. If you can get to know someone at the shop, or even better they get to know you and your tastes and budget, it makes buying wine online both fun and rewarding!
Consider a Personal Wine Broker
Another option is finding and getting to know a personal wine broker. These brokers typically will have access to many popular wines, as well as high-quality wine from small vineyards that you would probably never hear of otherwise. Some of these “lesser-knowns” are produced in small quantities and are surprisingly inexpensive… but have the taste, bouquet, and body of wines sold for twice their cost.
A good broker will learn about you, your budget and tastes, how often you enjoy wine, and will craft your relationship in a way that is not pushy but still brings you great wine that you’re guaranteed to enjoy. And no… you do NOT need to be wealthy or a wine-snob to work with one.
You just need to love “a good glass of wine from time to time”!
PS- I’d do you a disservice if I didn’t remind you (hint hint) that our own “Pat the Wine Guy” is always available to email or talk to, and has been working with thousands of wine drinkers nationally… for close to 30 years!Follow my blog with Bloglovin