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Sunday, December 5th
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 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.
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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