Picture this- You and your significant other decide to head out on the town for dinner and drinks. You get to the restaurant and stare with envy at a wine list crafted by experts and stocked with wines you have never seen. You ask your server, “What do you recommend?” I recommend…. A fantastic wine from (fill in the blank). One sip of that delicious vino and you are hooked- You simply must have some of this stocked in your wine cooler at home. Fast forward to 2 days later at the liquor store, charging up and down the isles like a pirate hunting for bounty, and you come discover your wine is not carried in stores. What can you do?
Thankfully a quiet revolution has been happening on the internet over the past few years- Something you may not have known was an option, until now. As if the title didn’t give it away… You can buy your wine online! But (there’s always a but), is it safe? When researching this article I came up with a list of questions that would be most important to me as a consumer. Then I put them to the test by making a mock purchase of my own through exelwines.co.uk, an online wine retailer that offers overnight wine delivery in the UK. First question- Is my credit card information secure? Second- Is the wine a good value? Third- Is the wine stored properly to ensure quality.
Is it safe? This brings us first to the age old question of whether or not shopping on the internet in general is safe. With online retail sales reaching nearly $200 billion this year, I think it’s fair to say that online shopping has earned the peoples’ trust. Sure there are things to look out for on particular websites, but in general purchases go smoothly. The most important element to look for in deciding if the site you are on is safe is whether or not there is secure encryption, commonly known as SSL. To verify this you can type in the website to your browser using “https://” instead of the common “http://”. You can also look for a verification of security like the GoDaddy logo (both of these are pictured for you below). SSL is today’s industry standard and I would not recommend shopping with someone who doesn’t have it.
Is the wine a good value? It depends- Sometimes you can find a great value but then shipping costs erase it. I found that on certain bottles the shipping alone could be £20, which I assume would most likely be acceptable when shopping for expensive wines or that must have bottle you tasted at the restaurant and can’t find elsewhere. The good news is that stepping up to shipping a case usually isn’t much more when buying online. 12 bottles of wine for £35 shipping, for example, would average out to just under £3 per bottle- Not bad! My favorite thing about online shopping is finding the deals I can get quickly, and Exel Wines had them. They post an entire section of wines with overnight shipping. When buying exactly what you want you can get a much higher value wine for the same total cost when shipping is that quick.
Is the wine stored properly? I came across this question almost by accident. It hadn’t really crossed my mind until I got a call from a website about my order (I had accidentally given the wrong address for my credit card). I asked them when I would get my order and surprisingly the answer wasn’t cut and dry. I expected to hear the standard, “we ship next day.” But instead the gentleman had to do a calculation based upon what day I ordered. He explained that they only shipped the first couple days of each week to ensure the wine didn’t sit in a shipping center over the weekend. They wanted to make sure my wine was stored at the correct temperature and the time from their door to mine was as quick as possible. Needless to say, I was very impressed by that, and more than happy to wait a couple extra days for my package.
I would rate my overall experience as highly satisfied. I got just what I wanted, an awesome Pinot Noir that I hadn’t sipped since I lived on the central coast many years ago. And I won’t hesitate to shop online again- What can I say, the grocery store’s selection just doesn’t satisfy me anymore. If you have any questions about online security or my experience buying wine online just post a comment below and I’d be happy to help.