Wine shopping should be a fun and even an enlightening experience but all too often the opposite is true. Have you ever become frustrated trying to learn more about a particular Douro wine, varietal or winery? Are salespeople in retail liquor stores of any value to you? Which wine description should you go by when reading differing information online about the same wine? How much time have you wasted attempting to find a specific wine? Read on to turn these frustrations into positive wine shopping experiences.
Wine preferences like food, are very individual as we each have different tastes. Each of us also has a uniquely developed palate when it comes to tasting the nuances in wines. There are many wine critics out there but please realize that a wine rating is only a starting point when it comes to determining your opinion about a specific wine. Learning how to taste and evaluate wine for yourself will provide you with more enjoyment in shopping and drinking. Guidance on becoming your own wine critic has immensely more value than the guidance offered by the experts. However, this won’t apply to collectable and other high-end wines as the criteria for purchasing may be very different. Many aspects of wine selecting, tasting, serving, drinking, food pairing and even sending back a bad bottle in a restaurant can be fun when you’re equipped with the right information. A good wine is a wine which you enjoy; period!
It’s pretty rare to find a retail wine shop with a knowledgeable staff. Yes there are some, especially when the owner is a wine aficionado but they may not be familiar with the wines which interest you or they may not be available. Consider yourself blessed or lucky when a retail wine shop has a shelf-talker for a wine which interests you. At least the information on these notes comes from the winery and will usually accurately reflect what’s in the bottle; especially if there are winemaker comments. On the other hand, the internet provides all the information you can possible want on most things and that includes wine. But, which information should you believe and go by as you’re sure to find many discrepancies in the descriptions of the same wine. Reading different descriptions for the same wine has driven me up a wall for years and unfortunately it happens all the time when shopping for wine online.
I believe that the best bet is to go by what the winery publishes on their products. Searching for the winery’s own website and digging for what you want to know can become a full-time job when comparing even a few wines but often it’s a necessary evil. A website which culls information from the winery’s sites is a great time saver and convenience. Links to the sites of the wineries from one place would also be convenient.
Attempting to find a specific wine which caught a persons’ palate is apparently a common occurrence. With over a quarter million different wines on the market and different laws and distribution systems in each state, this can easily become a time-wasting exercise in futility. Finding wines which are rated high, especially when the production is or was limited, and finding it in stock and at a good price, can take a lot of time and effort. This is especially true of the highly rated wines listed on many virtual online wine shops who don’t actually have the inventory. While nobody or company has access to every wine out there, a good wine shop is more than happy to attempt to locate wines which they normally don’t stock. A Special Request service would be a welcome addition to any wine store.
Summing up indicates that shopping for wine online will save you a lot of time while usually saving you plenty of money too. Overhead expenses for online stores are much lower than retail stores and you will usually pay less when all is said and done.
The pleasure of becoming a more knowledgeable consumer in a fun way will also lead to a deeper enjoyment when drinking wine. The convenience of home delivery instead of carrying home a 40 lb. case of wine is also meaningful to many people. Yea, we usually need to pay shipping charges when we buy wine online and there is also an extra fee from the shipper regarding adult signature requirements but sales tax is usually avoided when purchasing wine out of state. However, there are often specials for free shipping from some of the larger online wine shops.