Tis the season for holiday drinking and being merry! This time of year, a lot of people love to indulge in drinking wine and also sending wine to their favor connoisseurs of wine.
Top wine review blog Winefolly compared and shared some info on the top places to purchase wine online, focusing on pricing, value, selection and limitations. Here are the first few sections from that post:
Selection: over 10,000 wines
Focus: California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône and Oregon
Pricing: 66% of wines are over $30
- largest wine selection available in the US
- over 2000 wines under $25
- Sort by clearance, direct buys, organic and wine scores
- old and rare wines
- tasting notes
- wine clubs ( at $20, $30, $50 and $70/mo)
- personal sommelier service
- will ship to select storage facilities
Shipping: $13 for 2, $25 for 6 (cross-country Fedex Ground). Many shipping options
Location: Redwood City, CA
Summary: At first look, K&L Wine Merchants has a circa 2001 look, but once you get browsing you begin to realize that it offers more wine than any other online retailer. The selection is clearly curated, even on the low sub-$10 end where it looks like they are very careful to avoid fake relabeled bulk juice wines. One neat search feature is the ‘Direct Buy’ sort which shows wines that K&L Wines import. The site is quick to load and a pleasure to gawk at.
Selection: over 8,500 wines
Focus: US wines
Pricing: most wines under $30
- Large selection of California, Washington, New York and Oregon wines
- Mixed Packs of 2, 3, 4 and 6 bottles
- Sort by food pairing, user rating, professional score
- 1-cent shipping wines
Shipping: ~$10 per shipment (1–6 bottles)
Summary: A wine marketplace powered by amazon.com and fulfilled by wineries, importers and distributors around the US. Because the site welcomes independent wineries that may have little to no distribution otherwise, you’ll see many wines on here that you won’t see on other wine shops. On the one hand, this is really cool because you can be exposed to independent producers. On the other hand, if you’re new to wine and don’t know how to look for quality, it’s hard to be sure that you’re getting the product you want. Be sure to select your state before you start browsing.
Selection: over 7,500 wines
Focus: fine, rare and collectible wines
Pricing: 82% are over $30
- ebay-like wine auction
- Buy it now wines
- tasting notes
- Cellar management tools ($30/year)
- Sell your wine collection
Shipping: market rate
Summary: WineBid is like the ebay of online wine buying. The site is populated with wines from collector’s cellars and importers/distributors wanting to sell directly to customers. The user experience isn’t flashy but it is fast and easy to navigate. One exciting feature is the ‘Buy it Now’ wines which offer sub-$20 options that are screaming deals. All in all, winebid.com is designed for experts and no-doubt feels immense and daunting for the novice. Before you dive in, keep in mind that sales are final.
Selection: over 7,500 wines
Focus: Cheap bold red wine
Pricing: 72% are under $30
Value: Average to Good
- Large selection (1900+) of wines under $10
- Sort by Ratings
- Tasting notes available on most wines
- Cigars, Beer and Accessories
- Event calendar for classes, tastings in store
- Local store pick up available in 15 states
- Shipping to all 50 US states
Shipping: $15 for 2 or 6 bottles (cross-country UPS ground). Many shipping options.
Summary: This site is geared toward value-seeking, bold red wine drinkers offering a large selection from California, Washington and Bordeaux. Since the selection is designed for low prices, it does have a large number of average-to-low quality wines which require savvy shopping. Total Wine is the only online wine store that ships to all 50 states. The site user experience does feel a bit clunky with slow page loads but checkout is easy.
Selection: over 7,000 wines
Focus: California and New World wines
Pricing: 45% are under $30
- Free shipping membership for $49/yr
- Chat with an expert
- Sort by reviewer, rating, flavor profile, charitable wines, etc
- Advanced wine search
- Daily Deal site
- Wine Club options
- Large accessories selection
- Blog with educational topics and bottle sales links
- Tasting notes, vintage rating comparisons and flavor profiles on nearly all wines
Shipping: $15 for 2 bottles, $22 for 6 (cross-country UPS ground). Many shipping options.
Location: San Francisco
Summary: This site is fun to explore because of all the different ways to sort, search and explore wines. The selection is geared toward the bolder fruit-loving palate with tons of California, US and New World wines from Australia, Argentina and Chile. Below $15, the US wine selection should generally be avoided. After texting several people who offer guidance on the ‘Chat with an Expert’ pop-up, we confirmed that they are indeed knowledgeable and work on-site in San Francisco. The checkout is easy and tells you when the order will ship (e.g. ‘will ship today if you order in the next 1 hour’). The only unfortunate thing about wine.com was that the prices seemed high for what you get, particularly in the sub-$20 realm.
Others besides the 9 on their list include: