By May 2021, 27% of all retail took place online – a whopping 10% growth from pre-pandemic 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. With retail moving online so quickly, what does it mean for discerning wine drinkers looking for quality over quantity? Moreover, how can you shop online with confidence when all you have to go by is a short piece of text and a picture?
The good news is that finding high quality wines online isn’t impossible. Here are a few tips that may help.
1. Look for awards
It’s not just the most expensive wines that get top marks. If you know where to look, you can grab award-winning wines from small, family-owned wineries at bargain prices. For example, this Amarone della Valpolicella 2013 by Rubinelli Vajol (£44.99), and Brunello di Montalcino 2015 by Ridolfi (£41.85) both lifted 2020 Decanter Silver Medals.
2. Buy from online-only merchants
Some established physical shops may simply see e-commerce as a side business, with deliveries costing as high as £7-10 and taking multiple days to arrive. Online retailers, however, may offer incentives such as free delivery from one bottle as well as next-day delivery.
3. Check the shop’s reputation
Reputable online wine shops will participate in industry competitions, such as the Decanter Retailer Awards. They’re also likely to be included by HMRC in the government’s Alcohol Wholesale Registration Scheme (AWRS).
4. Check the press
If the shop sells any wines featured in the press, it’s a sign of quality. For example, this organic unfiltered Grillo by Salvatore Tamburello (£21.04) was in The Guardian, while this Brenntal Gewurztraminer Riserva by Kurtatsch (£27.44) appeared in Forbes.
We hope that you’ll find our tips useful, and they help you to find high quality and enjoyable wines.