Buying wine online – what you should know

Convenient shopping from the couch, 24/7 opening hours and no need to carry boxes: ordering wine online has many advantages.

However, to be honest, a lot can go wrong when buying wine online: the “noble drop” may not be as noble as promised or the supposed bargain turns out to be a flop afterwards.

We show you what characteristics a good online wine shop should have and what you should watch out for when buying wine online.

Where is the best place to buy wine online?

Which shop gets you the best white wines or the most noble red wines cannot be answered in general, because the quality of the offer and personal taste play a big role.

On the constantly growing online market, there are three types of wine suppliers:

  • Winemakers with online shop
  • Wine merchants with bricks-and-mortar store and additional online shop
  • Pure online wine merchants

Wine merchants can often offer a larger range than winemakers. Prices are often lower with pure online wine merchants, because they don’t have to run a costly bricks-and-mortar store. But as I said, these statements cannot be generalized.”

The website matters

A pure online wine merchant cannot offer the customer personal advice and tasting when buying wine – as is customary in a bricks-and-mortar store. However, if the online merchant is professional, they will compensate for this deficiency with the quality of their website. How to recognize a good online presence:

  • The webshop should look sophisticated and be easy to use.
  • The high-quality pictures show the wine bottles in all details.
  • Tasting notes from the merchant are offered for each product.
  • The merchant provides descriptions and pictures of the individual wineries from which the wine originates.
  • A good online wine merchant also provides information and blog posts about wine on their site.

General tips for buying wine online

If the online wine merchant has a professional website, it’s time to go shopping. To get a really good drop, we’ve compiled some general tips for you to consider when shopping.

Prices and medals are not everything Often, thick, golden medals adorn the labels: many wines prominently highlight awards they have won. However, keep in mind: behind such prizes is the subjective assessment of a particular sommelier and therefore always a personal taste. Whether the wine tastes good to you is not yet certain.”

Quality has its price

It should be clear to everyone that there isn’t much winemaking in the bottle of a $4.99 supermarket wine. Moreover, even with these cheap wines, half of the selling price goes towards the bottle, distribution and transport.

If you want to drink a good wine, you have to spend a little more. But even with quality wines, there are bargains – especially with online retailers.

Exaggerations should make you skeptical

If an online shop is extremely heavy-handed with a wine, you should be skeptical. Why is the simple country wine now discounted 60 percent? Can it really be that the bottle used to cost $36?

Many of the information can’t be checked and serve only to encourage the customer to buy with a large shot of sales psychology.

You should be skeptical not only of prices, but also of descriptions, if they are overly exaggerated. That the offered sparkling wine “is no different from a Champagne” or “can compete with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape” but only costs a fraction is really pushing it.

Try different wines

The bulk pack is a “bargain” you shouldn’t miss? Be careful with that, because you don’t know if you’ll really like the advertised drop. Instead, try different wines until you find your favorite. Then you can order more with peace of mind.”