Choosing the Best Online Wine Retailer: 5 Things To Look For

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Laptop with screenshot showing 2 bottles of wine and white and red wine in glasses.

Internet shopping isn’t as new as you might think. In fact, the earliest version of online shopping goes as far back as 1982, with an e-commerce shop centered around buying and selling used computer parts.

Of course, shopping online has changed dramatically since then and keeps evolving. Big names like Amazon and eBay have made it the new “going to the mall." Online shopping gives consumers a convenient way to shop for their needs and wants from the comfort of anywhere.

But what wine? It used to be that you could only purchase alcoholic beverages in the liquor store, but not anymore. Now that you can shop for wine online, here are some online shopping tips to keep in mind, as there are certain things to look out for when searching for the best online wine retailer.

Quality Selection

The best online wine retailers will have a wide selection of wines to fit any possible taste you might have. The absolute best online wine retailer will have quality selections categorized by year, region, varietal, and more. You might have a specific wine that you like, or you might have a more supple palate, in which case having a choice in selection is always a plus. 

Having a high-quality, varied selection means having a variety of prices as well. Competitive pricing helps determine which online wine retailer is the best for you. Keep in mind that some popular, widely distributed wines will be identically priced no matter where you look. 

High-Quality Photos

A site that has high-quality images of the wine they’re selling is a site worth looking at. Without good images, a business can only expect to sell so much. Customers aren't likely to purchase a bottle if the only photo is blurry, low-quality, or non-existent. 

An online wine retailer cannot simply rely on the name and year of the wine. They must have good pictures of their products to accompany them. Images help you feel secure in the authenticity of the retailer, give a clear idea of what you’re purchasing, and allow you to compare bottles. Just as you might see a bottle of wine at a restaurant and decide you want to buy it, a good image on a website can help you determine if that was the same bottle you fell in love with.

Detailed Descriptions

A picture is undoubtedly worth a thousand words, but it’s helpful to have in-depth descriptions of the wine you’re considering purchasing. Any online wine retailer worth their salt will have accurate write-ups of their offered wines. Customers rightly avoid online retailers who describe their wines as nothing more than “red” or “white." 

Look for descriptions that explore the notes and flavor of the wine. You may even find online wine retailers that specifically categorize their wine by region, year, grape, and more. Be on the lookout for these specific descriptive components:

  • Body: This refers to the physical feeling of the wine (viscosity). A full-bodied wine will feel bold and heavy. A light-bodied wine will have a light mouthfeel.
  • Alcohol content: This will depend on the fermentation process and fermentation time. The warmer the wine feels in the back of your throat, the higher the alcohol content. 
  • TanninsTannins come from grape skins, stems, and seeds. They also may come from the oak barrels in which wine is stored. A wine that is high in tannins will feel dry in your mouth.
  • Terroir: This is a French term that refers to the region in which the grapes were grown.  
  • Sweetness: This refers to whether the wine is fruit-forward and not dry or if there is a presence of sugars left over from the fermentation process. 
  • Acidity: A wine with high acidity will taste powerful and bold. Low acidity in the wine will cause the flavor to fall flat.

Mobile-Friendly Site

Most online shopping these days is done on smartphones. Online shopping is more convenient this way since people are always on-the-go. With the world at the tip of your fingers, it’s easy to jump from one site to another, especially when searching for a product. That’s no different when it comes to wine. One day you might be having dinner at a restaurant and love the wine you’re drinking. Having access to a mobile-friendly online wine retailer will allow you to order a bottle for home before dessert. 

No matter what you’re shopping for, online shopping can become a nightmare if the site is not mobile-friendly. A screen might cut off important bits of information or force you to scroll all over to find where you need to checkout. Unfriendly sites require too much manual input of every piece of personal information. Mobile-friendly sites will automatically fill in the data if your smartphone settings are set to autofill. Conveniences like these make checkout painless and straightforward.

Proven Track Record

There are many online wine retailers out there  you can take your pick. Some online wine retailers even send out vouchers through the mail or with any popular subscription you might enjoy. Make sure that they are legit by searching for their reviews and presence online.

Avoid online wine retailers with few or no positive reviews or little social media presence or experience. Disreputable retailers may sell low-quality wine, scam customers, have poor customer service, or a combination of the three. While most retailers are verified, be wary of where you decide to shop.

JJ Buckley is in the Business of Checking All the Boxes

Your search for the best online wine retailer ends with JJ Buckley Fine Wines. JJ Buckley meets all of the criteria for choosing an online wine retailer. We have some of the best customer reviews around, excellent client services such as free wine storage, and one of the broadest wine selections in the online wine world. Check out our selection or consult with our wine specialists for some extra help.