As with almost any product, wine can be purchased online. While this can be a convenient alternative to driving to the local spirits retailer, it also comes with its own set of worries.
Online shopping on its own brings about a new set of perils to consider. There is always the chance that identity theft can occur, as well as having random thieves accessing your credit card numbers, so be aware of what sites you are surfing and which ones you make purchases from. It pays to be an informed consumer in this market.
Shopping for wine has been made quite easy through a number of new websites and wine clubs that host various shopping experiences for the wine enthusiast. Anything from corkscrews to vintage bottlings can be found via the internet. But be aware of some important factors before purchasing wine online.
The perks associated with buying from a winery that operates on line can be quite numerous. There are definite mark downs on many bottles, as well as the ability to order wines that have not yet been released to the general public. You may also be interested in joining their specific wine club, which will send you various wines each month. This is a bit more risqué, as you will not know what you are getting until it arrives, with the fear that you will not like the selection provided. While the price may be enticing, it is best to look into what wines are included in the club membership before joining.
When ordering online, you will find that the shipping charges associated with these well priced bottles can exceed their value. How they are shipped is also a concern, since you do not want your precious cargo to sit around inside a hot transport vehicle in the middle of August.
One other hassle can ruin your shopping experience; shipping restrictions. These will vary, and can become quite complex, so it important to check this out first. Different websites will ship to different areas, at different costs. Some will allow wines to be shipped within the state; others will allow no interstate shipping. There are currently thirty-three states that allow interstate wine shipment from a winery to an adult consumer over the age of twenty-one, within these thirty-three, only twelve allow retailers to provide the same service. This means that you can order directly from a winery that is out of state, but you cannot be shipped wine from an out of state retailer that provides said wine. Seventeen states have made it a felony to ship wine from out of state. These states include: AL, DE, GA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MS, MT, NJ, OK, PA, SD, TN, UT, VT.
Wine websites afford the average wine enthusiast with more then just a line of products. Many will give information about the region that the wine is from, the winery itself, food pairings, and ratings. While this information may be general, many large retailers in your local area can’t afford the same customer service. Large bargain wine warehouses or discount retailers are not usually equipped to handle these sorts of questions. With an online retailer that offers various wines, there is no push to sell a particular product, so the buyer never feels pressured towards a certain vintage or region. Online shopping can also help the prospective buyer to find what they are looking for, even if they are not quite sure themselves! Access to wine data is important to may buyers, and buying online allows this access to be delivered instantaneously.
If you are sure of the type of wine you are looking for, then online shopping is no problem. If, as the consumer, you wish to sample before you purchase, then going to the local wine shop is the only alternative. This is one of the most common sentiments when wine enthusiasts are asked to comment on this subject. Many feel that buying online takes away from the dignity of the wine experience. Others feel that it is ridiculous to feel this way, and wish that all states would allow wine to be shipped nationally, especially since the number of websites has assured many patrons the availability of hard to locate wines.