Have you ever had a bad experience with some of the local wine merchants in your area? Perhaps you were uncomfortable with the service and the overall “look” of the store. Did you find something you didn’t like and wish you could have avoided?
Maybe it was just the wrong time of year. Maybe you were shopping during an “off season” when everyone was trying to hang on to the Christmas wine deals. Maybe you just didn’t know where to shop. It can be hard to judge the value of wine, particularly if you don’t live in a town with a large local market where you can see the wines being picked off trees. I live in San Diego and have shopped at a couple of different local shops – and there is no question that there are some excellent wines available in this area.
But what about shopping in a place where you can’t smell the wine? This is a problem for several reasons. One is that wine does not go out of style so if a particular grape is available it will be a good wine. Another is that the market for wine is constantly changing. If one store sells a particular grape then it won’t be long before another store starts offering it.
This can happen in a town of any size. If the wine shop in your area doesn’t carry the grape then you need to find another one. It’s not like going to a movie theatre where they show the film you want to see and play the DVD. You have to go through the menus first, look for the View Here movies, and compare them to see if it’s playing on the theater screen. And since most video stores have the same menus that show the selection of recent releases, you can do this there.
My advice is to avoid chain stores. Unless you live in a small town or in a quaint little section of a city, chances are there are two or three other shops selling the same brands of wine. You’re competing with the same number of customers, so you might as well aim for a higher ranking on the lists. A good wine shop will be able to give you recommendations for wines you might like to try but the best ones are those which don’t rank very high on the lists. These include wines from smaller vineyards, boutique vintners, and small winery companies.
I’m often asked if buying wine online is safe. Yes, it is; however, you also need to know what you’re looking for. Make sure you read the list of what the wine shop has to offer before you order so that you have an idea of what you’re getting. If you don’t buy wisely then you could end up with a dud.