Didn’t Buy Enough of Your Favorite Napa Wine on Your Tour?
After a Napa Valley wine tour, you’ll likely think of at least a few wines you wish you’d bought, or perhaps bought more of. Many of Napa’s wineries ship Direct to Customer, usually abbreviated as DTC. DTC is big business in Napa, accounting for a total of $1 billion in sales in 2015. Napa actually leads the DTC wine shipping business, and as more consumers turn to e-commerce for their daily shopping needs, this number is only expected to grow. So, what do you need to know about having your wine shipped to you after a rewarding Napa wine tour? Here’s your guide to buying Napa wines online.
What is Your Purpose for Ordering Napa Wines Online?
There are two basic reasons why customers follow up a Napa wine tour with online purchases:
- Are you interested in sampling lots of different kinds of wines?
- Are you interested in saving money on your favorite wines?
If you would like to try many different wines, your best bet is trying one of the many e-commerce sites that specialize in wines. Some of the big online stores also offer wine selections. Many of the Napa wineries also offer value packs, allowing you to get several different wines in the same shipment for less than the cost of buying the bottles individually.
However, if you have your favorites all picked out and just want to get great deals on those, you should order directly from your Napa winery. Buying from the winery directly has several advantages. First, the wines are packed and shipped with the ultimate care. These winemakers are exceptionally proud of their wines, and will take special care to make sure the product is packaged carefully, shipped efficiently, and arrives in the same pristine condition it was in when it left their facilities. You’ll also be proud to know you’re helping support the “little guy” instead of just making a wealthy corporation even wealthier. Many will also negotiate good prices for you to keep your business.
Find Out What the Wine Shipping Laws are in Your State
Unfortunately, a winemaker faces certain restrictions with their online sales that other manufacturers don’t. States regulate the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages rather stringently. The good news is, more states are opening up to allow for wine to be shipped into the state, to a private buyer. The bad news is, some of the laws are still restrictive. For example, some states allow you to have wine shipped directly from the winery, but not from another retailer. That means you don’t have the option to shop at one of the e-commerce sites. Others allow wine shipments from inside the state, but not from another state. Some wineries will also ship internationally.
Find Out if Your Favorite Napa Winery Ships & to Where
Even if your state does allow shipments of wine, some of the smaller wineries in Napa don’t do enough business in certain states to warrant the substantial cost of buying the necessary bonding and licenses. Those licenses aren’t cheap. So, check your state’s laws and then check with the winery you’re interested in ordering from.
Determine the Best Place to Have Your Wine Shipped to
Some shippers (delivery companies, like UPS and FedEx) won’t allow a neighbor to sign for your wine delivery. So, if you’re not home at the time of delivery, you don’t get your wine. You might have to pick up the shipment from their distribution facility. Be sure your boss is cool with it if you decide to have the wine delivered to your work (and be ready to endure the ensuing ribbing about you being an “alcoholic” or a “wine snob”). Talk to the Napa winery first if you plan to have it delivered to a P.O. box or other alternate address. Just be sure that you’ll be able to receive your order without a bunch of hassle before placing your Napa wine order online.
Consider the Weather Forecast Between Napa & Your Home
Wines are generally tolerant of cold weather, but are not so good in the heat. Even if the wine isn’t damaged en route, the heat exposure could cause the wine to go bad faster. Many wineries take precautions to protect wine from heat exposure, but you’ll need to check with your Napa winery to see what their techniques involve. Sometimes, alternate delivery methods are available, such as rush delivery or refrigerated transport, but these options do cost more than standard shipping rates. Alternately, you can stock up on your favorite Napa wines during the cooler months and avoid transport during the hotter months (above 80 degrees). This is particularly a good idea if you live in the hotter zones, such as the desert Southwest or Deep South.
Read Online Reviews by Other Customers
Even if you know you’re madly in love with that Zinfandel or Sangiovese after your Napa wine tour, and are sure that’s what you want to order, still read the other customer reviews before having the wine shipped to you. See if other customers had issues with shipping, transport problems, delivery snags, etc. Then you can order with absolute confidence that your wine will be shipped carefully and arrive safely.
Haven’t taken your Napa Valley wine tour yet? What are you waiting for? Contact Allure Wine Tours today to schedule your trip!