Wine 101: How to Find & Pair Affordable Wine Online

These days, we’re all doing a lot more shopping online. And while it’s convenient and time-saving, one item that’s a bit challenging to “add to cart” is wine. Nevertheless, now is the time to place all those holiday libation orders. You’ll want to do your due diligence so you can still low-key celebrate with your favorite Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc or a bottle of bubbly without having to leave the comfort (and safety) of your own living room. 

New to online alcohol ordering? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some practical tips, pairing tricks and virtual options. Better yet, we’re highlighting stores that offer Cash Back with Rakuten. If you’re not yet a member, join Rakuten for free today and get a Welcome Bonus on your first qualified purchase. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of Pinot and start reading.

Tips for Ordering Wine Online

  • Before ordering wine online, you’ll want to check your state’s alcohol shipping laws. It’s different throughout the country. For example, many states will only allow in-state wine deliveries. It can be confusing, so read up on the rules before you go through the effort of browsing options. 

  • Depending on the service or company you’ve chosen, be aware that you probably need to have someone home to sign for your package. What’s more, the recipient must be 21 years old. Similarly, most shipping companies will not deliver your booze to a neighbor’s home to hold.

  • Branch out. Try wines in the $10 to $20 range, and be open to new varietals. Since you can’t sample like you would maybe be able to do in a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want to experiment a bit from home. Consider this an opportunity to broaden your options.

  • Don’t overspend, but consider elevating your just budget a bit — even a $20 to $30 bottle can make a difference. You can find plenty of cheap wines at your local store. It’s these higher quality, slightly more expensive bottles that are the sweet spot for online ordering. Here’s why: Shipping wine is expensive since bottles are heavy, so getting a better bottle means a bigger proportion of your spend is going toward the actual wine versus the weighty shipping cost.

  • While you’re browsing, consider subscribing to email newsletters from online wine retailers. They’ll give you valuable information on deals and pairing guides.

  • Some online wine stores offer a live chat option with sommeliers, so you can get free tips, pairing suggestions and more. It’s not the same as the local wine-store clerk who knows your palate, but it’s helpful, nonetheless.
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Where to Buy Wine Online

Wine.com is a great go-to option for finding your favorites and discovering new varietals. They have a vast selection of high-quality wines at every price point. They also sell baskets and other giftable items. 

Now through December 31, you can get 10% off your order of six or more bottles using code SNOW10. You can also opt to get $25 off a $200 order with Wine.com promo code PEACE.

GourmetGiftBaskets.com is a great destination for finding beautifully curated baskets of savory snacks and sweet goodies. If you want to give someone a pairing experience, then check out their selection of wine, charcuterie and cheese offerings.

If you plan on ordering the bulk of your wine online, Wine Library may be of consideration. Purchase a Library Pass, and get 12 months’ worth of free ground shipping from Wine Library. You can order as many times as you want and there is no minimum amount. (Note, shipping destinations may be limited.)
If you’re a wine connoisseur, opt for the WSJ Wine Club, Discovery Club members get 12 wines selected by an expert sent to their home every three months. Additionally, they get extra discounts, credits toward free bottles and exclusive upgrade offers. 

Want to bring Napa into your home? Order your wine directly from Stags Leap Winery. They can ship to many locations throughout the United States. Their celebrated wines offer sophistication for all different wine-loving palates. You can even opt to do a virtual tasting online — just take a sip, close your eyes and pretend you’re hobnobbing at the vineyard. 

Shopping for wine online might not seem intuitive, but, in time, you’ll get a feel for what you’re looking for, and, better yet, you may discover new brands and varieties you like. What’s more, you can sip and save by shopping for your vino with Rakuten, and earn Cash Back on your bottle purchases. A generous pour and money in your wallet? Now that’s a win-win – or should we say wine-win? Either way, enjoy! 

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