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The popularity of wine seems to just continue to grow. Wine enthusiasts and occasional drinkers alike are often looking for new and delicious varieties of affordable wines to taste. However, spending hours at a local liquor store is generally not a great use of your time. That's why many people are now turning to online shopping for their wines because of the time savings, selection and price.
Online wine retailers provide the convenience of finding a new and exciting wine when it best meets your schedule. Many wine drinkers can find their favorite wines at a better price online than the local grocery or liquor store. Either way, shopping for wine online has many perks.
Sunday, January 17th
Wired for Wine is a wine retailer that offers a wonderful selection of individual wines to purchase. The varieties they list are highly acclaimed wines that are offered at deep discounts to their customers. They choose these wines carefully and sell each until the supply is gone, and then find the next wine variety to offer.
The website of Wired For Wine is very easy to use. Along the top of the page is a list of different wine categories you can choose from, including Reds, Whites, Sparkling, and Just Launched. Under each of these categories are dozens of wines that you can browse through. Clicking on an individual wine within these categories brings you a page of detailed information about the wine. This information includes a detailed description about the wine, the awards won by that particular wine, and reviews for that wine from such publications as Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirits Magazine. This is great information that adds confidence to your wine selection.
For each wine, you can see its regular price, as well as Wired for Wine's discount sale price. Wired for Wine also offers free shipping options if you're buying more than one bottle of wine. Furthermore, Wired for Wine provides a Best Price Guarantee, where they will match the price for any wine if you can find a lower price offered on any U.S. website. That's a great offer that is a testament to the low prices they provide.
In addition to wine, Wired for Wine offers other options you may be interested in. In their Spirits section, for instance, you can find a listing of select Bourbon, Whiskey, and Tequila - each with detailed reviews, awards, and low discount prices. In their Accessories area, you can find decanters, wine glasses, corkscrews, and more. If you're looking to buy wine as a gift for someone, Wired for Wine has a unique Gift Ideas area where they've pre-selected items that they feel would make excellent gifts for a wine enthusiast.
The return policy at Wired for Wine is excellent as well - in fact, it's the best we've seen. You can return anything you purchase within 30 days for any reason. They'll even pay for the return shipping, as long as the wine is not more than 10 years old and as long as the bottle has not been opened.
Whether you're shopping for wine for yourself, or as a gift for someone else, Wired for Wine provides a great list of award-winning wines at prices among the lowest you'll find anywhere. Combined with free shipping options and a terrific return policy, Wired for Wine delivers great value for your money. If you're looking for a good bottle of wine, Wired for Wine should be your first stop. They've earned our highest rating.
Wine Access has been selling wine for around 18 years. They believe that small wineries, often owned by one family for multiple generations, offer outstanding wines for a great value.
Wine Access employ a judging panel to scour Europe and California in search of amazing wineries. Their judging panel consists of a master sommelier and master wine students. They taste over 20,000 wines every year, looking for wines that exceed expectations as defined by their price. Of the 20,000 they taste, only 3% of those wines make it to their website for sale. Wines range in price from $15-$300. The majority are in the $40-$50 range. We'd like to see the average a little lower - it seems pricey, especially for people just wanting to try great wines from small wineries.
The Wine Access website is easy to navigate. On their homepage you can search by todays finds, their store or you can shop by their experts. On todays finds they offer a limited run of wines that are revealed daily. These wines are only available for limited time which is displayed on the website. Wines are priced by bottle, the more you buy, the cheaper per bottle. If you select to search their store, you can shop by red, white, rose, sake and wine sets. However, quantity is lacking for products, since there are less than 60 products available.
Once you select a product the information about the wine and the winery itself is abundant. The pictures are beautiful, the tasting notes are informative, the flavor profile and wine facts should leave buyers feeling confident in their purchase. If you are familiar with a certain judge on the panel, you can select wines suggested by that judge. We do think it would be nice if they created a section for customer reviews. There is also a link to very informative blog that offers information about Wine Access news, wine lifestyle, travel and wine education. If you aren't a wine expert, this is a great resource to educate yourself.
On the homepage of the website there is a small fork and knife picture off to the side. When you click on the picture it takes you to a new screen where you can select meal pairings. Every dish taste better when complemented with the right wine. They offer the best pairings for red meat, fish, cheese, shellfish, dessert, etc. We think this is a really nice feature but could be better advertised on their website.
Wine Access offers a monthly wine club of reds and whites that include 4 or 6 bottles for $130 or $190. Wines are selected monthly by their judging panel. As part of the wine club you also get 10% off all purchases from Wine Access.
Wine Access offers free shipping if you purchase 6 bottles or spend $150. Wines are shipped directly from the wineries to your front door in climate-controlled boxes. They also guarantee their products - if you aren't satisfied, they will refund your money. Shipping laws very from state to state and they don't ship internationally. An adult will have to sign for any wine delivery. Customer service is available via email, and a phone number is listed for calls Monday-Friday. They also have a nice social media presence with Facebook and Twitter.
Wine Access has received great reviews from customers. People like the information provided about each wine, the small winery unique selections, customer service representatives are very helpful and knowledgeable and wines are a good value. If you're familiar with the wine industry and understand the lingo, this could be a great place to discover delicious wines from small wineries around the globe!
Wine offers a huge variety of wines to choose from. They also provide some customer friendly policies that make it nice to shop at this website. However, we found the shopping experience to be a little messy at times.
To navigate the huge selection, customers may select the Wine Shop drop down tab and then further sort by price, type, style, region, publication and more. Customers will find literally thousands of wine options from around the globe. When results appear customers are asked to slowly sort one by one to peruse the options. Unfortunately, this is not a fast process unless the customer knows exactly what they are looking for and type the name in within the search bar.
As far as pricing goes, our sample comparison found the prices to be slightly higher than some of the other companies reviewed.
Wine also offers an affordable and flexible wine club for those want to begin receiving wine selections on a regular basis.
Wine also stands behind their deliveries and works with customers that have a problem with their order. They offer a 1-800 number and customers service assistance Monday through Friday.
While the website lacked the neatness and organization necessary for a selection of this size, we were impressed with the amount of choices they offer. We also liked some of the low price shipping for first time shoppers the Steward Ship option if someone plans on making regular purchases throughout the year. Wine has it's perks but keep an eye on the per bottle costs.
Naked Wines is a wine club that offers discount wines to its members, whom they call "angels". This monthly fee for a discount is a common feature of many wine clubs we have reviewed, but Naked Wines brings a different angle to the wine membership idea by using the membership fees to directly fund independent wine makers, who then offer their product back to Naked Wines at a deep discount which club members are able to enjoy. The way the "angel" membership works is, members pay $40 a month that goes into the "Naked Piggybank". Naked Wines then uses this pool of money to invest directly in over 100 independent winemakers who supply their product back to the club where members enjoy an advertised 40%-60% off retail.
Naked Wines claims this direct investment approach allows them to offer lower prices than other wine clubs, since they directly fund the wine makers themselves, avoiding marketing, sales and other costs. This unique structure functions like a crowd-sourcing program with members funding the winemakers, so that the membership fee feels more like an investment in independent wine makers with a personal return of excellent wine. This is an attractive idea for both the winemakers and prospective members.
The Naked Wines website is attractive and easy to navigate. The home page is divided into three sections that highlight the main features of Naked Wines, which are getting access to world class wines, receiving a deep discount on wines made by independent wine makers, and supporting wine makers through the company's group funding concept. Clicking on any of these sections brings to you pages describing the various features of the site, and if visiting the site for the first time a pop up window will appear offering a $50 voucher for use on any online order.
When we went to apply for an angel membership, however, the angel program was currently closed in order to "keep the number of angels manageable". (More than 100k members were registered at the time of this writing) We were offered an additional voucher for $60 if we joined the waiting list which they said was currently around 31 days. Along with the $50 first time voucher this could be used to get a total of $110 in free wine. There is a link to a page to cash in the vouchers using a code, and then the discount is applied against the order total at checkout. The vouchers can only be applied to orders of more than $160. Additionally, the vouchers are not available in all states dependent on state liquor laws. For example in Massachusetts Naked Wines offers a 20% discount instead.
Overall we really love Naked Wines for its wine community feel. Wine lovers can have a lot of fun here, access excellent wines for good discounts, and support local winemakers as well. However the voucher system seems a little spotty and we didn't love the idea of having to wait a month or more to get access to the discounts of being a member.
Wine Insiders is a nice little business started by wine purveyor John Davis as an alternative to expensive, large store wine offerings. Wine Insiders is a new business, but has been running since 1983 under the name "A Taste of California". Wine Insiders has a panel of 5 wine experts who sample over 2000 bottles a year with the goal of being very selective and only providing the best tasting wines to their customers.
The Wine Insiders website is easy enough to navigate, if a little unremarkable. The main page features some special offers such as 1 cent delivery on a purchase of 12 bottles, or other savings that can be gained from joining a wine club through Wine Insiders. There is a link to a contact page that provides a 24 hour toll free customer service number, as well as an address and e-mail for the business. There is an "Insiders Info" section that contains a nice selection of resources such as a frequently asked questions section, recipes, wine trivia, and even how to plan your own wine tasting. It's a nice little touch to provide some of these extras, in addition to just selecting and selling the wine.
Down the left side of the main page you can select wines by type or price. Due to Wine Insiders beginnings as A Taste of California, the selection is 100% California wines. The problem is, however, the selection is very small. We counted only 36 total bottles available on the website. This selection is far smaller than most of the other online wine retailers we have reviewed. The stated goal of Wine Insiders is to be selective and only offer superior wines, but we would hope they would expand their selection somewhat as they grow their business. The prices range from $9.99-$24.99 so Wine Insiders offers only reasonably affordable selections.
After selecting the wine you are interested in you get a page with the profile for that wine describing in detail the history and characteristics of the wine. The descriptions of the wines are quite detailed, and in some cases there are reviews from consumers to help customers make decisions on which wine may be right for them. Also on this page is the price per bottle, or case, and an option to add the wine to the online shopping cart. It's a simple process to add the wines to the shopping cart, go to check out, and process the order.
Like most wine retailers, Wine Insiders offers a wine club. When you join the club you get 15 bottles for $89.99, a savings over $140 over retail. This is a good value, competitive with other wine clubs, but with only 18 reds and 18 whites to choose from, if you stay in the club for any length of time you'll likely be receiving the same wines over and over.
Shipping is not too bad at $9.95 for 11 bottles or fewer, and there is an offer for 1 cent shipping if you purchase 12 bottles or more. That is a very good deal and compares favorably to some of the wine websites that offer free shipping when buying in volume.
Wine Insiders is a decent option for anyone looking for a nice, well-reviewed California wine, selected by knowledgeable wine experts. However we could only give it a middle of the road rating due to the very limited selection of wines.
The House of Glunz has been in the business of selling wine for over 129 years. Needless to say, they know what they are doing when it comes to wine and spirits. Their business is located in Chicago and operates out of a store front in Old Town. Wine connoisseurs enjoy the selection, ambiance of the old building and the knowledgeable staff. In an effort to continue to provide fine wines to their customers, The House of Glunz started selling their wines online. Although, their main business really seems to be in person at their store front.
The House of Glunz website is pretty basic. On their homepage you can select from wine, spirits, custom gifts and wine and whiskey clubs. They also offer a small list of featured products to select from. When looking at wines, you can select from red, white, rose, sparkling, dessert, etc. There are hundreds of wines to choose from.
Once you select a wine there's additional information and notes about that specific wine - like varietal, country, region, size and descriptive information about the taste and flavors. There is also an area where you can review their wines but we never found a bottle that had been reviewed. Leads us to believe that this website has not been around very long and/or they don't do a lot of business online. You can also narrow your search by selecting by country, variety and price. Prices on the website for wine vary from $10 a bottle to $550. Prices seem to fall in line with other online websites.
The House of Glunz also sells spirits on their website. Their selection is pretty extensive and prices vary from $7 to $7,500. $7 will get you some cherry bitters and $7,500 will get you Champagne Cognac from 1934. This bottle of champagne has been sitting in the cellar at The House of Glunz for 80+ years. The information for their spirits is very similar to the wine. You can select by several different categories - gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, brandy, vodka, etc. You can also narrow it down by country and price. Once you have selected a product you will see the additional information and notes about that item. Again, there is a section for reviews but we didn't see any reviews for the items we looked at.
The House of Glunz also offers custom gifts and wine and whiskey clubs. If you want to purchase a custom gift you have to either email or call the store. Wine and Whiskey clubs are offered through a sister site and can't be purchased on their main page. The House of Glunz website is really only selling wine and spirits.
The House of Glunz is not able to ship internationally and is restricted from shipping to certain states. All packages must be accepted and signed by someone over 21. Shipping fees will be determined by the availability of the product, shipping date, shipping method and weight. Sounds like it could get pricey! Returns are only excepted when an error has occurred by The House of Glunz. No other returns are accepted. With not much leeway here, could become frustrating if you are unhappy with a product.
The House of Glunz is a place that we would like to visit in Chicago on our next trip to the windy city. Their website is pretty basic and we think lacks personal reviews about the products. They seem to cater to people that enjoy high-end wine and spirits. Most products are expensive and will be costly to ship. Our guess is that most people visit their store, enjoy a bottle of wine and then head to their website to purchase another. We don't see ourselves purchasing anything from their site anytime soon.
For online wine shoppers, it's good to know which wine companies provide the best shopping experience and affordable, high quality wines. When shopping online for wine, you should be sure to look for the following characteristics:
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