These Are The Best Places To Order Wine Online

In case you hadn't noticed, 2020 gave us all a reason or two to have a drink or three. There was civil unrest, a stressful political season, and of course the wretched COVID-19 pandemic. If wine is your usual drink of choice — whether for perfect pairings at meal time, a relaxing moment on the couch once the kids are asleep, or to sip from a mug during yet another painstaking Zoom meeting — 2020 also made it harder to find favorite bottles, as many of us avoided going out to shop (even though liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and remained open during the pandemic in most areas, albeit often with strict safety protocols in place).

The good news is that it's easier than ever to find and buy great bottles of wine online. And as more and more customers are turning to the web to buy their wine, beer, and spirits, you can count on online booze buying to become ever easier and more popular as time goes on. According to a survey conducted by Drizzly, independent American liquor stores saw their online sales more than double (from 5% to 11%) during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to sales from the year prior. And a survey by vinSUITE conducted just after the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday saw a 78% increase in online wine sales compared to the Thanksgiving week of 2019.

Online wine sales are here to stay, and here are ten of the best places to get your wine online. 

Underground Cellar

Buying wine from Underground Cellar is a bit like playing Russian roulette, except that instead of potential tragedy, you have the potential to get amazing bottles of wine for a fraction of their price in the best case scenario and getting a selection of fine wines at fair market prices in the "worst" case scenario. When you shop from Underground Cellar, you don't select individual bottles of wine, but rather you choose a given collection. These have names like Wondrous Cabernets or Gorgeous Pinots from Around the Globe, to name two. As you can guess, the former is made of up cabs, the latter pinots. Let's zero in on Pinots from Around the Globe collection to illustrate how it works.

You'd pay $204 for the Pinot collection, which comes with six bottles, meaning you're paying $34 per bottle, which isn't cheap. But five out of those six bottles are guaranteed to be "upgrades" that retail for more than that, so you get more than your money's worth. And in some rare cases, you may get way more — one bottle some lucky members who buy the Pinots from Around the Globe collection may get is a $500-plus bottle of 2016 Henri Boillot Bonnes Mares Grand Cru, for example.

A membership is required, but it's also free. And note that with your membership you can buy wines but have Underground Cellar hold them (in proper storage) and only ship when you want. (There are some shipping costs, unless you get a 12-bottle case shipped all at once.)

Winc

Winc wants to take all the guesswork out of getting great wine into your hands. So they do all the thinking stuff for you, more or less. When you sign up for a Winc membership, you take a survey (the Palate Profile, they call it) that helps develop a profile that will inform which wines they select for you. And note that while they are a winemaker, they also source wines from other wineries, so they have a deep catalog from which to curate your shipments. 

Each month, you get a shipment of four bottles of wine selected based on your Palate Profile answers, and you can always skip a month without any charge (or cancel your account altogether without penalty as well, and you can always place larger orders which come with discounts once you're buying by the case). And don't worry if that initial six-question survey didn't perfectly pin your wine preferences, even though the questions are scientifically developed (think: "How salty do you like your food?" This tells how much minerality you like in white wines, and there are five different answer options), because you can give feedback on every bottle you get which will prompt the folks at Winc to adjust your next order. And if need be the next after that. And after that and so on until they have your preferences dialed right in.

Drizly

Founded eight years ago by a prescient team of entrepreneurs, Drizly is by now one of the best known alcohol delivery platforms writ large, and wine accounts for a huge portion of their sales. Or rather their brokerage of sales is a more accurate way to put it, because when you buy wine via Drizly, you are actually shopping local. Thus you have the convenience of online wine buying plus the satisfaction of supporting businesses in your community. They have partnered with thousands of wine and liquor stores in more than 1,400 cities around North America (Drizly is accessible to some 100 million customers in the United States and Canada), and they can usually deliver your order within the hour and almost always same day.

And if you're looking to give wine (or other booze) as a gift, Drizly has you covered there, too. You can browse based on the zip code of your intended recipient, and you can even use Drizly to curate large gift orders for business gifting with their White Glove team handling curation and logistics that meet your corporate gifting needs and budget with just a bit of input from you.

Minibar

Minibar is similar to Drizly in most ways. Both partner with local alcohol retailers, both ofter same-day to-your-door booze delivery (or scheduled delivery up to two weeks out), and both are generally well regarded by customers. If you're shopping for beer or spirits, Drizly is probably your better bet, and it's certainly the larger of the two, as Minibar is (currently) available in many fewer markets than Drizly. But if Minibar does serve your area, and if you're on the lookout for wine specifically, then by all means try Minibar.

Whereas Drizly is rather a catch all, showing you everything available in your area in a selected category, Minibar does a bit more curation, usually featuring mid- to higher-end wines so you can pick fine bottles suitable to your refined tastes. The Minibar shopping experience is refreshingly simple thanks to the crisp layout of the website or app, making the whole affair efficient and easy even for the less-than-savvy tech user.

Wine Access

As Fritz Hatton, the proprietor of Arietta Wines and an international wine auctioneer says at the start of a Wine Access promotional video, "The most important thing, personally, in choosing a wine, is the recommendation of the wine. Who has recommended it? There are so many wines... that what I rely on are recommendations from tasters I trust." Easy enough for an international wine auctioneer and wine shop owner to say, but what can the rest of us who don't have access to top sommeliers do? You guessed it — try Wine Access. Their team tries thousands of wines every year, and selects only about one out of 20 to offer their customers.

This is a company committed to connecting connoisseurs with wines they might never have otherwise found or even heard of and introducing newer wine fans to the finer stuff, such as with their curated Wine Club. Their online catalogue has plenty of bottles in the $20 range (and even some cheaper), but you'll also see bottles priced well over $200 and even the occasional $300 and $400-plus wine, like a $425 2014 Ornellaia Bianco Toscana IGT. And don't worry if you get a bottle you're just not loving, they offer a money back guarantee.

Harry & David

Sure, Harry & David might be best known for gift towers loaded with sweets like caramel popcorn, chocolates, and candied nuts, or for gift baskets stuffed with sausages, cheese, crackers, and spreads — and of course let's not forget their impeccable ripe pears and apples — but these guys also ship a lot of wine. And for decent pricing when you order in bulk — like a $220 12-bottle mix, which comes out to a perfectly fair $18 per bottle. 

But the best thing about ordering wine from Harry & David? Well, it is all the other stuff. Say you're shopping for a great gift for the foodie in your life. They have literally dozens of different gifts in that category, many of which sport the "ADD WINE" banner. So if that Holiday Charcuterie and Cheese Board Gift just isn't enough on its own, just click the "Make It Extra Special" tab and add on a bottle of Pinot Noir or Merlot or what have you. (Or even a Sparkling Pear Juice if you're passing on the booze but not the special.)

Omaha Steaks

You would expect to find great wine at a fine steakhouse, no? So why be surprised that you can get great wine from an online purveyor of fine steaks? Omaha Steaks has an impressive roster of wines for sale, including more than two dozen reds, a selection of white and sparking wines, and lots of curated sets with several bottles. And while they also offer a number of Harry & David-style gift baskets with wine, crackers, dried meats, and such, here the beauty of it is that you can send wine along with top quality cuts of meat, making a superb gift indeed.

Let's use as Exhibit A the Omaha Steaks Deluxe Gift with Tour de France Wine Gift Set. That entails four filet mignons, four pork chops, eight burger patties, eight jumbo franks, four servings of potatoes au gratin, four Caramel Apple Tartlets, a seasoning packet, and three bottles of French wine, all for $200. Which is frankly a pretty good deal for multiple fine meals delivered in a box.

Wine.com

With a name like Wine.com, you'd hope that Wine.com would be a good place to get wine online. And good news, it is. In fact, by their own claim, they "have the largest wine selection in the world, online sommeliers with free advice, and unparalleled convenience." This Wine Enthusiast 2019 "Retailer of the Year" does indeed have a massive catalog. At a quick check for this writing, they currently have 4,039 reds for sale, 1,513 whites, 324 Champagne and sparkling wines, and so on down into other categories. 

In fact, it would be a bit overwhelming trying to shop from that catalog if it weren't also well curated — you can shop by region, by price, by rating, and more — and if indeed there weren't help there for you. In researching this article, a chat window opened in mere seconds with a real human (named Julianne G. – thanks, Julianne!) helping recommend a bottle perfectly for specs given (bold Rioja, under $30) within about 45 seconds.

Naked Wines

Naked Wines is a company that's all about the little guy. Or little winery, that is. They invest in and support new and smaller wineries, helping these operations focus on winemaking without the distractions of fundraising and marketing and such. And in return, Naked Wines gets pretty sweet deals on a lot of pretty great wines, deals which are passed on to members. (Hey, that could be you!) Naked Wines customers can save up to 60% off market retail prices on wines, and many of those are from winemakers of whom they might never have heard if not for the agency of Naked Wines.

Now to be candid, the selection here is smaller than you get with other places. Remember how Wine.com had more than 4,000 reds on offer? At present Naked Wines has 144 reds for sale. And only 36 whites. But what they lack in quantity, they make up for with good ol' quality, and with a series of filters that make it easy to identify a great pick for your palate — think "Fruity White," "Rich White," or "Sweet White," the latter of which they currently only sell four. So you might not have a massive selection, but you'll find the bottle that's right for you.

Wine Insider

In a lot of ways, Wine Insider is a lot like many other companies that ship you wine. They have lots of bottles curated by varietal, by region, by price, and so on. And they pass on savings to you thanks to a direct-to-customer model, they offer lots of tasting notes and support so you can find the right bottles, they offer gift sets, and so on. What makes Wine Insider so notable is that they truly put their money where their mouths are. Or your money, that is — Wine Insider offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee that you will be satisfied with every wine you get from them, or you will be refunded in full.

They can also usually ship you your wines in just a few days, and when you order six or more bottles, the shipping is free, which is great because many places don't give free shipping until you order a full 12-bottle case. And hey, if celebrity partners like Ludo Lefebvre and even Martha Stewart feel comfortable becoming part of the Wine Insiders team, they must be doing something right. (Stewart has currently curated three half-case collections, in case you were wondering.)