Buying wine online
August 4, 2016 4:27 PM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for buying wine online in the US? There was a previous discussion here but from 2009, and I assume/hope there are new options available.

I would want the wine shipped to CA. I'm mostly looking for wine from Italy (the idea is that my dad who knows wine from that area well can order wine for me). I'm looking for general things to keep in mind and recommendations for specific websites/vendors.
posted by toadlover to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Moore Brothers is fantastic, one of the best wine stores in the country, owned by the former sommelier of Le Bec Fin, which at the time was one of the best restaurants in the country. All of the wines come from personal relationships with the vintners and their focus is on Italy, France, and Germany.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 6:10 PM on August 4, 2016

Best answer: The Rare Wine Company has a very deep selection of Piemontese wines, including a lot of mature Barolo and Barbaresco.
posted by mr vino at 7:13 PM on August 4, 2016

Best answer: I like K&L Wines. They are in California.
posted by Nelson at 12:45 AM on August 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not totally sure what problem you're trying to solve here. If you're looking for the ability to find old bottles of Produttori del Barbaresco, then yes, you'll want to keep an eye on local merchant inventory with a subscription to wine-searcher or something similar. If you're looking for a way to get bottles from small producers in Italy shipped to you, that's a taller hill to climb. If they already export to the US, then they almost certainly have an exclusive agreement with an importer/distributor, and they won't sell directly to you for fear of violating that agreement. If they don't have an agreement, then they'd need to navigate the legalities of international wine shipping, which is an unbelievable amount of work--to ship to the US, for example, you have to go state-by-state to make sure you're not running afoul of any local laws by, say, shipping on a Sunday or to a residential address. California is one of the easier places to ship to, but a small place in Piedmont probably isn't going to see that; they're going to see a regulatory nightmare that isn't worth navigating for one individual buyer.

You probably want to do one of two things. If you're not married to the idea of your dad doing the curating, make friends with/find stores that carry wines from a distributor who consistently finds little gems. Kermit Lynch is one name that I know off the top of my head, or you can look into mailing lists like Full Pull. And if you absolutely want to find bottles that your father recommends, presumably based on his own experience, you're going to want to find boots on the ground in the area--someone who can physically go to the winery and buy it there to ship it to you. Italy doesn't have the same insane three-tier politics that the US does, so it's MUCH cheaper to buy at the winery; you just need to find a way to get them to ship it to you. Maybe you can find someone in Italy who is in the same boat you are regarding CA wines? I can't help you much with that, but maybe the forums at can.

Unfortunately, unless you're dealing in pretty high-end wine, whatever savings you'll realize from buying directly from the winery will be eaten up in shipping costs. You're probably looking at north of $100/case to get it shipped across the Atlantic, and that's in steerage, where you'll need to worry about temperature fluctuations and damage from rough handling.
posted by Mayor West at 5:44 AM on August 5, 2016

Best answer: Oh, you're in the Bay Area. If you can get into SF, I highly, highly recommend a visit to Biondivino, a fantastic wine shop that specializes in Italian wine (this is also a particular passion of mine). They often have winemakers, growers, and experts in from the bel paese to give talks and tastings. They're friendly and knowledgable folks. Here's their website.
posted by missmobtown at 7:47 AM on August 5, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by toadlover at 10:59 AM on October 9, 2016

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