How To Buy Wine Online Safely
The Wall Street Journal makes a good point. When buying wine online—Buyer Beware!
Actually, the WSJ Digital Network made a number of good points in a video featuring Tom Geniesse, owner of New York City's wine shop Bottle Rocket Wine & Spirits, in which advice is given on how to buy wine on-line.
I haven't seen a good video primer on how to approach on-line wine buying in some time. This particular video hits a lot of the high notes that novice on-line wine buyers ought to keep in mind:
1. Indeed, Buyer Beware
2. It's best to know the wine or the seller before hitting the "purchase" button
3. Look for lots of detail about the wine in any on-line or email offer
4. Ratings are helpful, but remember, they are generally one person's opinion.
These are all the points that Geniesse makes in the WSJ video. And they are good ones. They got me thinking about the wide spectrum of points that ought to occur to folks before they buy on wine. So, let me add the following to Geniesse's points
1. If you have never heard of the marketer or store or winery involved in a wine purchase, do a bit of research first. At the very least, Google the marketer, store or winery and look for numerous positive endorsements of the seller
2. Check the price. Is the deal coming through your email or featured on-line a good one? You can do this on-line using wine-searcher.com or Snooth or other price comparison sites. But take the few seconds it might use up to make sure the deal is as good as it seems.
3. Look for Endorsers if You Don't Know the Wine. If you don't know the wine that has piqued your interest, then look around and discover if anyone else does. Cellartracker.com is a great place to see what a wide variety of consumer palates think of a given wine. You may find the vintage being offered was a dud. Or, you may discover you are looking at a wine that is dearly loved and coming at a great price.
4. Get a phone number. If I can't call the people with whom I'm looking to spend money, I don't spend money and these are words to live by, particularly with an on-line purchase. There are any number of reasons you may want or need to contact the sellers. Make sure you can
5. Have the wine delivered in the quickest way you can afford. The fact is, the wine you ordered could easily end up sitting in a hot truck that will render it un-tasty. The faster it gets to you the less likely it is you will end up with cooked wine.
6. Don't buy inexpensive wine on-line. If the wine costs less than $10, it's likely that you can find it in a nearby store. Do so. The costs of shipping are likely to make the wine much more expensive on a per bottle basis and by purchasing it at a local store you don't have the risk that it is damaged in transit. More expensive wines tend to be more difficult to find and this is one of the main reasons folks shop online—they can't find what they want locally.
The reasons so much wine purchasing has migrated on-line are many. It's convenient now with efficient logistics. It's easier to find exactly what you want in an on-line environment simply because your local wine shop can't stock all the wines there are to sample. You can easily search for the best price on-line. Of course, buying on-line doesn't put you face-to-face with a real person with whom you can talk out your preferences. So, there are trade offs. But there is no question that on-line purchasing is here to stay and likely to grow. So, if you buy on-line, do it right.