Buy Wine Online: 3 Tips to Help Avoid the Pitfalls

French Wine Explorers | Saturday, Feb 20th 2021

This video is an excerpt from our Facebook Lives FAQ Friday Series. Join the Live or see the replays here.


Hi, it’s Pascale Bernasse with French Wine Explorers and we help wine lovers become connoisseurs through our online classes and our wine tours to France.

Today we want to talk about how to buy wine online.

You know buying wine online is kind of like buying shoes online sometimes you end up with sore feet and a heaping dose of regret. So we thought what could we do to help you purchase wine online, in a way that allows you to feel more confident. 

I call it the rule of the three, p’s anybody who knows me knows that I love the rule of threes .

In buying wine online whether it’s fine wine online or everyday wine is provenance process and policy.

So let’s dig into that a little bit more.

  • Provenance means where did it come from.
    • So the first thing you want to do is can I get wine shipped to my state from this retailer.
    • And secondly what is their policy when it comes to shipping wine during the extremely hot or extremely cold seasons.
    • So that’s really important for you to know secondly is what we call provenance meaning .
      • Where does it come from/
      • So for example if you want to purchase an older vintage wine- where has it been between the time it was produced and how it’s arrived to your place?
      • What that means is for example if you buy directly from an estate the provenance is excellent because they’ve been storing it in their temperature controlled seller until this time.
    • If you buy it from an auction house well that’s a little bit more of a gray matter. Because if they acquired that wine through a private wine cellar we really have no idea what the conditions were and they can claim that the conditions were excellent and they may have been but we’re just not really sure so it’s more of like a buyer beware moment.
  • And the second thing you want to consider is process.
    • What does process mean?
      • It’s simple: why are they selling wine? What I mean by this is what’s their story?
      • So for example I was a member of a wine club that only focused on grower producer champagnes that were imported into the United States and not found anywhere else and I love that story!
      • I’m also part of a wine club that offers what we call clean wine which is wine that has no additional sugar and that was really important to me because I want the wine to be as clean and have as little intervention as possible- so someone’s already curated that for me so their story resonates with me .
    • So wherever you purchase wine online think of what is the process why are they in it.
  • And then the third is policy.
    • Now this might be one of the most important factors in considering the quality or the caliber of where you’re going to purchase your wine.
    • And what is policy it’s simple what is their customer service like and what’s their return policy?
    • So the best way to figure that out is to call customer service.
    • If they answer their phone you’re already on the right path. If they don’t keep that in mind.
    • Next ask them what their policy is.
    • And third if they’re unable to answer you by phone send them an email or a message and see how long it takes to get back to you. 
    • Again find out what the return policy is.
      • I’ll give you a story  I had purchased some wine from France directly from the estate these were older vintages and when they came to me unfortunately one of them was just not drinkable and this was not an inexpensive bottle of wine.
      • And normally to return the bottle  you have to return it in order for them to analyze what the fault is in that wine, but I was already in the United States so that wasn’t possible.
      • But their customer service was really kind and they allowed me to get a replacement bottle.
  • So those are the three things that we would like to recap when purchasing wine online and how to avoid pitfalls . 
    • Provenance process and policy.
    • With these three tips you’re going to be able to enjoy the wine buying process a lot more have a story or a memory attached to the wine that you’re drinking and have more joy in the wine tasting process.
    • Do me a favor give me a comment below subscribe and let me know what your thoughts are ask us questions and maybe we’ll include it in the next frequently asked questions video for you thanks and I’ll see you soon!