The Answer is Yes! Here’s How . . .
If you’re looking for good wine on the Internet, chances are you have some questions–and you are not alone. Among the top questions about buying wine online are:
- Can I really find decent wine on the internet?
- Is it legal to have wine shipped to me through the mail?
- How expensive is it to order wine online?
- What if I order wine online and don’t like it?
- How can I get started?
Let’s answer these questions, one-by-one!
Can I Really Find Decent Wine on the Internet?
Yes, absolutely! It may surprise you, but there are many reliable suppliers of good wine online, from large scale distributors, to small craft wineries. Most often, though, you’ll be purchasing wine that will be shipped direct from the winery to your home. This means that the wine will often be of an even higher quality than what you would typically buy in a local grocery store. Why? Read our exclusive article on how the internet can be your gateway to quality wine.
Is it Legal to have Wine Shipped to Me through the Mail?
Like many things involving alcohol (and other restricted products), the answer is: “it depends.” In this case, the state where you live determines whether or not it is legal to have wine shipped to you at home. The good news is that an increasing number of states do allow it, and as of 2019, forty-three states allow direct shipments from wineries to consumers. Many fewer states–about fifteen–allow wine shipments from out-of-state retailers that aren’t wineries, so your best bet is to either order from a winery that you know and love, or order from a supplier that arranges direct winery shipments from multiple sources (more on that below).
Regardless, you’ll need to be 21 or older to purchase wine online, and it is generally unlawful to sell wine through the mail without some kind of liquor license. Fortunately, most people of legal age living in the US have plenty of options for buying wine online! Of course, laws can change, so you should stay up-to-date on your own state’s regulations. You can find the latest regulations via the Wine Institute’s compliance rules page.
How Expensive is it to Order Wine Online?
When it comes to wine, the old adage that “you can spend as much as you want” on a bottle is certainly true; we’ve all heard stories of crazy-expensive bottles of wine that sell in high end restaurants for thousands of dollars. The good news, though, is that ordering wine online can actually save you money, while still delivering a superior wine to your door.
The reason is simple: reduced overhead. If you order direct from a winery, then you get all the savings that come with direct ordering. If you use a third party online supplier, you still save money because most wineries arrange a commission with the distributor that doesn’t change their already low price for you. Compare that with a retail storefront that buys wholesale and then marks up the price, like a grocery or liquor store, and you’ll see why buying wine online can be such a great deal: you are paying much closer to the wholesale price, with no extra markup!
What if I Order Wine Online and Don’t Like It?
Most wine connoisseurs will tell you that appreciating wine is simply a question of learning “what you like.” With that in mind, it is totally understandable that some people would be hesitant to purchase wine online without tasting it first. And, not surprisingly, if you pop the cork on that newly arrived bottle and discover that it just doesn’t work for your palate, you can’t send it back for a refund.
But of course, no grocery store is going to take back an open bottle of wine that you bought there, either, so the risk is really about the same on that score. What gets people worried is that, compared to, say, a five-dollar bottle of wine at a grocery store, buying wine through the internet is often a more expensive proposition. Fair enough!
However, if your idea of a drinkable wine is whatever you find cheap on the bottom shelf at the grocery store, then you may not be ready to explore the truly wonderful world of good wine. But if you are ready to give it a go, then fear not! The occasional bottle that doesn’t float your boat should not be a problem, and here’s why:
- Most online wine sellers let you sample several different bottles at a great price, without committing to a larger purchase. Once you find a wine that you really like, you can decide whether to order a case or more–usually at a big discount!
- If you end up with a bottle that you don’t like, it can actually be a good thing! You’ll have learned something about your taste in wine, and you can try to find sample bottles that are closer to what you like. In the meantime, you can give the rest of the bottle to a friend; who knows–if they like it, they might want to order more, and you might even get a bonus for a referral!
How Can I Get Started?
It’s easy to get started buying wine online! The first step is to find an online source for wine and sign up for one of their programs or–if you already know what you want–just go ahead and order a case (or three… ;-). Here at greatwinedeals.com, our mission is to help you find a source for buying wine online that will give you the best bang for your buck.