Would You Recommend Buying Wine Online?

Would you recommend buying wine online? Sure. Probably more so for people who know a little bit about what they are buying and what they are looking for. "Sure," says Dave Cedrone, a wine consultant who...

"Sure," says Dave Cedrone, a wine consultant who offers private tasting, basic wine education, etiquette classes, and buying services for the restaurant industry. "Probably more so for people who know a little bit about what they are buying and what they are looking for."

He advises consumers not to make any assumptions based on the frequency in which certain varieties appear on the Internet.

"Just because it's online doesn't mean it's cheaper and it doesn't necessarily mean that the producers are reputable either."

If you're not yet wine-savvy, Cedrone recommends doing a little homework before you purchase any online.

"For beginning wine buyers, probably the best thing you can do is stick to the wine tastings. Try to pick a few bottles that you have seen in multiple stores and do a price check on them."

Once you've narrowed down your selection to a few you'd like to try, go with the wine seller that will give you the best overall value.

Cedrone says "You can usually get a feel for which retail stores are higher priced than others based on a few bottles. I can pretty quickly get a gauge on whether a store is expensive or not based on five or ten wines that everyone carries."

He also advises to look for bulk discounts, which are very common for all price levels of wine.

"A lot of stores offer case discounts for six or more bottles, more often for 12 bottles, which is considered a case. Sometimes the discount is offered only if you buy all the same wine in that one case,same brand, same grape and everything."

Cedrone emphasizes that restrictions like brands or varieties don't apply to every retailer. In fact, the more lenient the retailer, the better they probably are.

"Good wine stores and retailers who really care about their customers and understand the culture will generally offer a discount for six or more bottles and allow you to mix and match them, which is a great way to get to know wines."

Grocery stores also have regular sales on wine, sometimes by brand or year. You'll save money by watching for these opportunities and buying multiple bottles at these times.
If you're just starting out, acquire some knowledge about brands, years and wine characteristics that are important to you before jumping on the web.

And don't feel left behind,in reality, according to the San Francisco Business Times, less than 1% of all wine is sold on the Internet.

That number may increase as more and more consumers lean toward online purchasing, but at the present time certain areas of the United States prohibit the delivery of wine bought on the Internet. Visit your state's local government web page to see if your area has restrictions.
In conclusion, Cedrone reiterates the importance of buying wine in person as you begin your journey.

"I think that's probably a better way for beginners to try things out and once they have a little more experience and then the Internet is probably a great tool. I am sure most high-end collectors probably use the Internet now."

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