When to buy wine online
Knowing when to buy wine online can bring a new world of great wines right to yoIf my wife, a known footwear aficionado, can give up years of trying on and buying Manolo Blahniks and the like in shoe stores and switch to purchasing online, isn’t it time wine connoisseurs do the same?
Deciding when to buy wine online involves a few simple considerations – deciding what to buy is up to you and your taste buds. Let’s take a look at the “whens.”
When it’s legal
While most states allow wine to be shipped and delivered to homes, a few do ban it and others have various levels of restrictions and limitations. Most online wine sites will provide this information or you can search online for the regulations for your state.
When you want to save money
Like most other online businesses, wine sites often offer substantial savings over brick-and-mortar shops, even when adding on shipping charges. Those charges may be reduced or even eliminated when you purchase by the case or cases, so get together with friends or set up a wine club and save money while enjoying fine vintages.
When you want to save time
Online wine sites can and do have much broader selections that wine stores, but I still find it much faster to scan through a site rather than walk through a store. Online shopping also has less distractions like cheeses, cigars, accessories, other shoppers and pushy sales clerks. If you don’t find what you’re looking for online, you can switch to another site without having to get back into your car.
When you want to save face
While we’d all like to be wine experts, most of us aren’t. It can be intimidating to talk the staff in a wine store, especially if you don’t know what to ask or what you’re looking for. There’s also the “guilt factor” which can lead you to buy a bottle you may not want just because a staff person answered your question. On the other hand, many wine sites have blogs, lists of frequently asked questions and occasionally a live chat window to text with one of their experts anonymously. If you don’t know the name of a wine or vineyard, you can key in regions or colors or other terms and search for options. I’ve even called a site’s 800 number for ordering and asked questions – these people are frequently very knowledgeable and helpful. You can also sign up for email newsletters which are usually chock full of useful information.
When you want to comparison shop
I’ve never found two competitive wine shops right next door to each other so I could easily evaluate their prices and selections, but comparison shopping is a snap online. Most sites offer discounts and will promote specials offered by wine merchants according to season or availability. With just a few mouse clicks, you can “window” shop easily online without pressure from a store’s staff.
About the only thing you can’t do in an online wine store is taste samples, although I’m certain there’s a techie sommelier somewhere working on an app for it. When it comes to sampling wines, that’s what parties are for! Attend wine tasting parties and you’ll learn about wines, broaden your tastes and make friends who may be interested in joining in “when” you buy wine online.