Buying your favorite wine online leaves much to be desired. This rare lack of supply to match what would be an obvious demand is mostly due to the myriad and antiquated laws that were enacted shortly after the repeal of prohibition that still exists today in many states. Licensing a store to be able to ship to every state is convoluted, slow process and costly process.
We sifted through a lot of the bad options and have found five online wine stores we frequently order wine from. Each online wine store offers different selection of wine and different shipping options that we will explain in detail.
List of Online Wine Stores
1. Wines ‘Til Sold Out
Wines ‘Til Sold Out, or WTSO for short, is only a recent online favorite of ours, however they have been around for over 10 years. WTSO works directly with wineries and distributors to source their wines and then sells them online in a very unique manner.
Once WTSO has selected a wine they want to sell based on their review of the quality of the wine, they offer that one specific wine with a nice discount through a “flash sale” and sell that wine only ‘Til it’s sold out! They typically offer 5 different flash sales a day, one of which will almost always pique our interest, and it’s always fun to get the notification there is a new wine available.
WTSO also has a great app for your mobile phone so you never have to miss that great wine while you’re on the go! One of the great things about WTSO is that they offer free shipping to the 48 contiguous US states (sorry Alaska and Hawaii) if you buy at least 4 bottles which is a very nice deal. Most wines are received within two days of ordering.
Outside of the “flash sale”, you can also shop “Last Chance Wine”, “Premium Wines” and “Weekly Tastings”. “Weekly Tastings” is a really nice feature to use to learn more about different wines and enjoy the tasting experience. With the wine you also receive wine notes, paired recipes and tasting video from WTSO’s sommeliers. This can be a great way to connect with your friends and family virtually during this pandemic.
2. B-21 Fine Wine & Spirits
B-21 is one of our favorite local wine merchants near us in Florida. They have been in business for over 50 years and is one of the largest, if not the largest, independent wine and spirits retailer in Florida. In addition to their brick-and-mortar store in Tarpon Springs, FL, B-21 has a great website for online orders and ship anywhere in the US that allows it.
Their website is very user-friendly and allows you to search by country, region and varietal. We love shopping for wine at B-21 because they have a huge selection of imported wines from many different countries.
Their shipping is very reasonable as well and is a function of how many bottles you buy and the total value. For us in Florida, if you spend more than $175 on 12 bottles, shipping is free! Just out of curiosity we checked how much it would cost to ship to Los Angeles, CA and it ranged from $12-$24 depending on how much you bought, which is very reasonable in our experience.
B-21 also has the option to ship to a local Walgreens store which is a great way to avoid the dreaded tag on your front door informing you that you missed your much anticipated wine delivery!
3. Total Wine
Total Wine has become the large “box store” of wine, beer and spirits and they have a huge selection at decent prices. Unfortunately, in the alcohol retail business, like most other retail categories, it has become extremely hard for the little guy (or gal) to compete and survive.
Total Wine’s online store also gives you the option of buying online and picking it up at your local store or have it delivered to the house. We have found this to be a very convenient method to restock our wine supply when we are strapped for time and can’t wander endlessly up and down the aisles searching for our next favorite wine.
Total Wine also has a program called Winery Direct where they work directly with the producers and from time to time, they will offer really good deals if you buy a minimum amount of Winery Direct wines. We have seen up to 20% off occasionally, which we like to wait for to replenish! Also make sure you create an account with Total Wine so that you can collect loyalty points and use them as discounts as well.
Although we normally prefer to support smaller businesses whenever possible, we have to give it to Wine.com. They are the largest online wine retailer by far, and with just a brief stroll around their website, it is easy to see why. We’re not sure exactly how many different wines they offer because it depends on where you live. For example, for us being in Florida they had 8,181 wines at the time we were writing this post, whereas California had 16,650 options. Time to move???
In addition to an extremely large selection, they have an exceptionally clean and user-friendly interface to filter based on region, grape variety or price. Since we are often learning about a new region or varietal when searching for wine online, this is extremely helpful and time saving.
One thing to always be conscious of with buying wine online is the cost of shipping, which can be remarkably high due to the weight of the wine bottles in addition to the packaging needed to protect your precious cargo! Wine.com offers a program – StewardShip, for $59/year it covers the cost of all of your orders for that year. That is a good deal since we have found websites charging nearly that amount just to ship 6 bottles.
Another thing to keep in mind is the need for someone 21+ to be home when the delivery comes, which can be challenging since they never really tell you what time of day they will come. We have bought so much wine online this year, our Fedex driver doesn’t even bother to ask for a signature anymore and will call us to let us know he left our package waiting for us so it doesn’t get too hot outside! Since Wine.com ships exclusively with Fedex, you can also choose to pickup your wine at any Walgreens store.
5. Bliss Wine Imports
Bliss Wine Imports is a different option we have used for buying wine online. Bliss is a wine club, where your membership gets you 3 bottles a month of an exclusive wine for $109/month, shipping included.
Bliss is a small, independently run company that personally visits every winemaker they work with to allow them to provide the best wines at the best price. They are the exclusive importers to the US for their winemakers, which means you can’t try these wines any other way unless you want to go directly to the source (which is always a good option if you can). All of their wines are organic and natural.
We have been members on and off multiple times. Bliss mainly uses UPS for wine deliveries and with us not being home during the day the pick up location is very inconvenient for us. But their wines have always been unique and delicious.
Please see our other helpful wine buying and tasting related posts below…
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How Wine is Priced
The Ultimate Guide to Two Weeks in Croatia – For Wine Lovers
Three Unique Wineries in Columbia Valley – Washington State
Best Wineries to Visit in Mendoza
One Perfect Day in Chateauneuf-du-Pape