Updated: Feb 23
So, you’re considering your next wine purchase through an online delivery service. You've come to the right place. There has been a lot of progress in the wine industry over the past decade. Convenience, instant gratification, and ease-of-use are all important aspects of the Wine 2.0 experience. Below are a few of the big players in the wine delivery space that are providing an engaging, unique experience for their community.
One thing to mention is that we won't be diving into wine clubs or local delivery services that happen to deliver wine. If you are looking for that type of experience, you can read our other article about some of those options here.
Finding the right wine recommendations for you is a hard nut to crack. Why? Because every unique palate is different. So in recommending the best wines for you, it really comes down to what preferences you have or what you've liked in the past. Recommendations are a key differentiator between a lot of the wine startups out there looking to deliver you delicious wine.
Many companies like Vivino, Delectable, or CellarTracker rely on user reviews to recommend wines that were enjoyed across their entire community. Nearly every online wine delivery service also has some type of brief quiz that determines your tolerance for sweetness, sourness, or bitterness. Although these choices can lead you to great wines, it doesn't do much for finding that perfect wine for you.
With Delectable and CellarTracker, they are more about cataloging your wine experiences and not helping you with a purchase. Vivino has a recommendation engine with their mobile app that gamifies the process for you while also delivering.
Most recently, Vivino launched a taste profile for each member of their community. It is separated by "What You’ve Tried, What You Like, and What You Dislike." It is dependent on you rating every wine purchased. At that point, they make recommendations based on past performance of other customers who fit your shared interests. For many wine drinkers, they might find this approach to be too predictable and not as experimental as they would like. Recommendations have the chance of running stale or too similar to the last wine purchased. In that case, a more scientific approach might fit your needs.
The Science of Wine Recommendations
Chemists have identified over 400 aroma compounds that create complex flavors when you take that sip of wine. Human beings are just not cut out to process that amount of data. So Yahyn has leveraged the next best thing— sensory science and AI. Yahyn partnered with a company called Tastry to add an unparalleled layer of futuristic sophistication. Every product is analyzed to determine the ideal chemical makeup of a wine that would work best for your unique palate.
Another differentiating factor with Yahyn's community is the on-call sommelier service that is at your fingertips and always ready to recommend some fantastic wines to you.
A key difference with many of the wine delivery services out there is the way they actually ship the wine to you. Wine.com is one of the juggernauts out there in the wine delivery space controlling the lion's share of purchases. They'll ship your wine to a Walgreens in your area or a FedEx location for pick up. Standard shipping rates apply, but be careful. If you're ordering more than one bottle of wine, the shipping costs can get pricey.
Personally, I like connecting with the individual vineyards out there to build trust and rapport. It's one thing to love their wines, but it's another to feel connected to their future growth. Finding a diamond-in-the-rough boutique vintner that explodes in popularity over the following years is a badge of honor and a right of passage in the wine world.
Yahyn Sommelier Tip: If it's an expensive order, make sure you get insurance if they offer it. Or at least a guarantee on a refund.
Wines are often packaged differently from company to company based on the retailer or distribution center. As a buyer, you should be aware of their process to protect your wines from becoming damaged in the delivery process. You should know who you need to reach out to for any potential complaints.
Both BuyWinesOnline.com and Argaux store all of their inventory in a temperature-controlled warehouse. Every product is curated by them and they do the deliveries themselves. BuyWinesOnline has nearly 400 in rotation, while Argaux has an ever-rotating selection of 50 different "small production, family-owned, and responsibly farmed wines."
Other online wine delivery experiences act as marketplaces for wineries and retailers to show their product and the orders and inventory isn't held. Yahyn's community allows you to order from boutique vineyards across the world. There's also a flat-rate shipping cost regardless of how many bottles you order. Winestyr and SommSelect also have discounts on shipping 6+ bottle purchases.
Winestyr boasts an inventory from 125+ artisanal wineries. SommSelect's selection is 250+ wines. They'll ship UPS Ground, climate-controlled, and typically deliver it within 7-10 days. No local pickup. Ice packs are allowed during the checkout process for an additional fee. SommSelect does outsource some of their shipping to a few third-party shipping companies. All will deliver directly to your door.
Yahyn Sommelier Tip: If it's a hot month, pick a delivery option that keeps your wine temperature regulated while it's in transit or has ice packs offered during the checkout process.
Lastly, we've come to the actual process of selecting your wine. Are you looking for the widest selection of wines, expertly curated, or boutique vineyard choices? Sommelier approved? Are you looking for a pairing wine? Want to search by region?
All online wine stores offer a variety of searchable functions to find the best wine for what you're looking for. Ratings, reviews, pairing options, deals, and region selections are all staples across the online choices we've mentioned. And if you're not sure yet what to purchase, order a Yahyn wine tasting from one of them.