Wine is a huge world, made up of commercial wineries (which produce millions of bottles in line with the taste of the available international markets in large-scale distribution) and by smaller and less well-known companies, which produce unique wines that are often distributed in a disorganized manner. These are the products sought after by enthusiasts and wine lovers because of their quality, different from year to year, and a direct expression of the terroir . Finding your way around labels, denominations and grape varieties is not at all easy, especially online. Let's see how to not give up on buying wine online without making mistakes.
Here is a 6-point guide to buying wine online with the peace of mind of a wine shop, without the risk of making a mistake, saving time and discovering really interesting bottles.
1. Buy wine in a wine shop
Buying wine in a wine shop has the great advantage of be able to get advice . It has happened to everyone to rely on the advice of a barman or sommelier, especially if you are not an expert, and to have been satisfied.
In person, in fact, it is not necessary to already know what to buy but it is possible to indicate your needs and if you meet the right person you can receive useful advice for finding the perfect wine for yourself - whether you have to have a dinner at home, give some wine to make a good impression on relatives, friends and partners, or celebrate an important event.
The time it is one of the most important resources in life and among the most undervalued: it cannot always be invested in going to the wine shop in person and getting the wine and transport it home .
2. Buy wine at the cellar
Buying wine in the cellar gives other advantages: the possibility of purchasing at a advantageous price , including particular vintages or labels perhaps sold out elsewhere. Furthermore, it brings with it the privilege of talking to the producers, of understanding their attitude and the style they impart to their wines.
Must knowing which winery to go to , that is, knowing which are excellent producers, for whom it is worth making the trip.
3. Buying wine online: the difficulties
Finding your way around purchasing wine online is not easy, and there are various levels of difficulty.
First of all the quantity : in Italy alone there are 636 thousand hectares of vines, cultivated by 255 thousand companies: it is not possible to really know cellars and wines before years of study and tastings.
Then there is an extraordinary number of vines and denominations : buying wine online implies, if you don't know the cellars and labels, knowing how to at least orient yourself on the types of grapes and the main denominations, that is, within that quality system that allows you to understand which products are made inside of the shared rules established in that territory, so as not to risk purchasing mediocre or, worse, poor quality products. All this keeping in mind that belonging to a denomination is not in itself a guarantee of quality, much less of originality.
There is a lot of information on online sites but it is not simple decipher the available indications , and therefore distinguish between marketing claims and truthful information , which truly tell the spirit of a wine, the production method and its real quality.
The risk is that of choose on the basis of ephemeral data , such as the graphics of the label, the dominant colours, the similarities given by the imaginary name of the wine, which are unpredictable and have nothing to do with the quality of the product.
4. How to orient yourself in purchasing wine online without making mistakes
- Let's start from the basics: the first advice is to Don't be influenced by the label . It is a very widespread temptation even among expert people but those who really want to discover oenological gems must go beyond the label, which can be fancy as well as out of fashion or even ugly. What matters is inside the bottle.
- Not choose on the basis of the price : naturally the willingness to pay determines the price range of the wine you decide to buy, but the price does not say everything: a very expensive wine can lack character and a cheaper, frank and frank one can be the expression authentic of a territory, perhaps made with ancient techniques by a winemaker who works his plot of land with respect for nature and those who must drink it.
- Don't just look for the big names or wineries that are on everyone's lips: to truly discover the world of wine you need to explore its most authentic heart.
- So the other dispassionate advice is: don't be afraid to buy cellar wines unknown.
- With this approach you will begin to orient yourself in the world of more authentic wine. Very useful to start with, if you are not yet an expert, is to start from the great classics , that is, from the most important vines in the individual territories to get to explore the most unknown ones , to understand the particularities of wine in each region of the world, its characteristics and understand what people like most.
- Knowing your palate is essential to buying wine without risking not liking it, always remembering that your wine tastes are subjective and there is no right or wrong.
5. Where to buy wine online
There are three main ways to buy wine online:
- in the winery sites : where there is an online shop. Even though things are changing, even today small wineries usually don't have it.
- in the classic e-commerce : which have a more or less extensive catalog of wines from which to choose the favorite labels to purchase.
- the wine clubs : Subscription wine services that offer selections sent directly to your home, with varying frequency. It is a model that has a very interesting history, born in the United States, and from there it spread throughout the world.
We at SOMMELIER WINE BOX we brought the wine club model to Italy, adapting it to the quality we had in mind so that it embodied the best of the wine shop and cellar experience, with a flexible, customizable and unconstrained experience.
Our subscription is designed to help you discover the truest world of wine , with selections of niche wines , discovered by great sommeliers among selected cellars from all over the world based on everyone's tastes .
6. Sommelier Wine Box: the first niche wine club in Italy
Zero stress : the wines that arrive directly at home are selected by the best sommeliers around, Italian and otherwise.
Niche wineries : with a formidable team of sommeliers we find wines from niche wineries from all over the world.
Personalized wine selections : after completing the questionnaire, your palate is profiled by an algorithm, to only receive wines that we are sure you will appreciate.
Variety : we believe in continuous research and work to find wines from wineries from all over the world, because the Sommelier Wine Box makes us understand the vastness of this incredible world and the differences and particularities of every single bottle. This variety allows you to create your own personal collection of bottles, for those who also like to keep a few bottles in the cellar.
Flexibility : you can decide to receive 3 or 6 bottles, monthly or bimonthly, and define which types of wines you want to receive (whether red, white, sparkling or a mix) and from which countries (between Italy, France, South America, Austria , Germany, Slovenia...). The subscription can be paused whenever you want and canceled at any time, obviously for free.
Quality : we select small wineries from all over the world and tell their particularities, history and territory in an app dedicated to subscribers. And we are so certain of the quality of the wines we offer that we adopt the "satisfied or refunded" policy: if you don't like a wine, we'll give you your money back.
Savings : our direct contact with the wineries allows us to cut intermediation costs and offer the best prices on the market. And then: for subscriptions lasting more than a month or for 6 bottles, further discounts are available. The cost of the boxes can be seen you can see it here .
Price diversification : we offer three plans (1. Enthusiast , 2. Passionate and 3. Expert ) that correspond to three different needs: 1. orient yourself in the world of wine by receiving the great entry level classics; 2. experiment with wines of different price ranges and varying complexity; 3. receive superior bottles.
Additional services : the subscription gives access to the entire catalog of wines selected by our sommeliers, with a discount dedicated to subscribers. Furthermore, we reserve an exclusive service for our subscribers to receive rare, collectible or particular vintage wines ( Exclusive Wine Concierge ).
Convenience : receive your wine selections directly at home: the first box arrives immediately after the order (just enough time for our sommeliers to create your selection), the subsequent ones every 10th of the month.
After subscribing, it's hard to go back to any wine 😎