Novice and knowledgeable wine enthusiasts should forget the retail stores and subscription wine services that they’ve dealt with in the past. A Good online wine club that sends you weekly email offers on premium wines made by small, artisan winemakers can be a game changer and are the only ones worth signing up for. We have created a list of pros and cons to the online wine business.
Buying premium French, German, Italian and Spanish wines online has never been easier with the use of emails and online wine subscriptions. The major benefit of an online subscription is the lack of overhead costs of a traditional liquor store.
Retail stores and subscription wine clubs mostly offer bulk reds and whites created to meet predetermined flavor profiles and price points and that are packaged with catchy names and labels. These wines are the products of multinational corporations farming thousands of hectares of vineyards from around the globe, a staggering array of chemicals and additives, impressive state-of-the-art technology, and sophisticated marketing efforts backed up by large budgets.
These wines tend to taste the same no matter who made them, where they came from, what year they were made and sometimes even from what grapes (ever have an over-ripe, over-extracted high alcohol pinot noir taste like a cab?) These wines are generally easy to drink, nearly indestructible (to make shipping and storage easy), totally consistent from year-to-year and for the most part cheap. They are meant to appeal to casual drinkers who do not have a serious interest in wine and are mostly sold by people who have as much knowledge.
However, you can avoid all of this with an online wine provider that offers rare organic, biodynamic and naturally made traditional and cutting edge wines. A good online wine club can send you weekly email offers on premium wines made by small, artisan winemakers such as our Matthieu Barret Cornas Brise Cailloux 2015
This point follows up on the previous one in regard to a liquor store vs an online wine club. Prices for most wines should be in the $20 to $45 range, which is exactly what we like to spend when we buy wine of this caliber. The efficiencies of e-commerce means that expensive brick and mortar storefronts are unnecessary and creates savings that can result in exceptional prices even when shipping costs are included.
One of the greatest benefits of buying through an online club is having your wine come to your door. Buying these premium wines has never been easier when you are a part of weekly deals through free email offers that you can sign up to receive. Over the course of the year, you could receive offers on a comprehensive selection of cutting-edge, hard-to-find wines that are not otherwise available and can be delivered to your door at exceptional prices. These are wine’s to be enjoyed at the table with family and friends or added to your cellar.
Almost all online purchases are accompanied by research on reviews and personal experiences. The wine industry is no different with specialized bloggers and sommeliers offering their unique and experienced opinions. With great online review sites such as cellartracker.com or winesearcher.com, you can feel confident with your choice of wine. These sites offer a plethora of in-depth reviews from wine drinkers and professionals, each with their own individual preferences that enable you to establish your own list of top wines.
The key is simplicity. You only buy what you want. There are no initiation, annual or monthly fees, no minimum quantities and no getting stuck with wines that you did not choose. When you receive an email offer on a wine that you’d like to buy you can purchase it by the bottle or the case, and like any other online transaction you can have it shipped to your door. These offers should introduce you to new wines that you would not otherwise be able to find. It should be authoritative, further your knowledge of wine, and hopefully be entertaining as well. And because it’s online it’s incredibly convenient and should offer an unparalleled wine buying experience.
What’s vitally important is that someone from the club visits and gets to know the winegrower, walks their vineyards and tastes the wine in their cellars. Such a close relationship with the winemaker requires an equally close relationship with an importer because the wines are brought in to exclusively fill the orders of club members. This unique experience and knowledge is written throughout product descriptions and blogs to educate members and expand their knowledge of the wines.
In other words, the club does all the hard work for you. Each offer you receive should describe the wine in rich detail and further your knowledge; it should tell you a story about the people behind the wine, where it’s from (France, Italy, California), and the region (Bordeaux, Piedmont, Sonoma). It should describe the grape and the soil it was grown in, if it’s organic or biodynamic, how it was made in the cellar (wild yeast fermentations, no additives, oak / no oak), how you should serve it and with what food. And you should feel confident that the wines offered will be shipped and stored properly to ensure you get what you pay for. Finally, you should be able to read the offer in two minutes and it should ‘feel’ like a conversation you’d have with a friend who’s describing a great new wine they’ve discovered.
Where there are many pros to an online wine club, there are also some cons to consider as well. We have created our own list of potential issues that you should be aware of.
The biggest consideration from the consumer’s point of view is the aspect of delayed gratification. Sourcing, importing and distributing wine is always a long term deal for the importer, but in an online wine club this requires patience on the part of the consumers because they become part of the process and considerable lead times can be up to six months depending on when they place their orders. The consumer is not buying something off the shelf to take home and enjoy that day. Rather, in most cases, they are purchasing something that has not yet arrived. But for the true enthusiast in pursuit of exceptional wines patience has always been a virtue and in this case is rewarded accordingly.
If you aren’t familiar with a wine it can be hard to gauge if it will like it. It can take years of drinking wine, tasting them and education and even then when faced with something new, you can still face uncertainty. We, of course, encourage all wine enthusiasts to taste as many different wines as possible to discover their personal preferences. One must remember that Italy alone produces delicious wine from over 1,500 grape varieties (bet you didn’t know that!). We encourage you to use wine review sites and magazines such as wine enthusiast magician to better evolve your unique preferences.