Now that the post-Christmas sales are over and we can wrap up this absolutely crazy year for online wine sales, the results are in for the year’s winners and, yes, losers.
So, without further ado and other clichés, here we go:
BEST FOR ONLINE DISCOUNTS
One site kept improving its offering throughout the year while maintaining healthy discounts usually over 50%, sometimes approaching 70%.
The same site actually apologizes when the discount on a special wine falls below 30%. Others brag when they can offer something at 25-30% below average retail.
And the winner for best discounts in 2018: www.wtso.com
As a footnote, this site was sued 2 years ago for mis-representing average retail prices. So it has really cleaned up its act to become a role model.
We can only hope that other sites relying on false and misleading prices, scores, and narratives take note.
BEST ONLINE WINE DISCOVERIES
This category looks for wines that are not available either in traditional wine shops or on most websites. The focus is on discoveries of unusual, limited production wines that are true to their type. But NOT EXPENSIVE.
Every wine lover is on the lookout for something different, a wine not in the mainstream.
Such as outstanding wine from Greece or Slovenia as well as wines from Germany, Spain, Italy and France. A wine that is highly enjoyable and comes with a rich and exciting history.
And the 2018 winner for presenting the best wine discoveries is: www.sommselect.com
BEST WEBSITE FOR CULT-LIKE WINES
We know there’s a market for 95+ point rated wines priced on the high end. This wine buyer is interested in not only California cults (Cade, Pahlmeyer, Insignia, Shafer, Harlan) but also in the top rated Bordeaux and Brunello, as well as the Super Tuscans like Sassicaia.
Not limited to the current favorites but also interested in the next great cult wine.
This is a hotly contested category.
Over the year one site has proven itself to be the one-stop shopping for the cult and cult-wannabe wines of the world.
The 10-20% discount and free shipping on orders of $149 or more cemented its place on the top.
The proven track record for reliability doesn’t hurt either.
And that site is: www.wineexpress.com
BEST WEBSITE FOR INFORMATION, KNOWLEDGE SHARING
This category may surprise those of you all too familiar with the non-stop hype that highlights fake scores, 100 point winemakers, “greatest vintage ever” nonsense so common on wine websites.
You may be surprised that the category even exists.
But it does. And we reviewed many websites for their content and found that…
One site offers helpful background information about regions and vintages as well as insights about the wine producer.
One site knows the prime regions of France and offers insider insider information about recent vintages.
One site finds the best values available in Washington and Oregon, both fast-changing wine regions, as well as the occasional gem from California.
The winner is this category also seeks out wines that are organic and NOT MASS produced.
The winning website which is also a good read is www.garagistewine.com
BEST ALL PURPOSE SITE FOR WINE SHOPPING
Think of amazon prime but only for wines. And, no, sorry but amazon does not yet have a good, all purpose wine department.
Check out my review at www.bestonlinewineshopping.com
So for now finding an all-purpose wine website offering wines from all regions, in all price ranges, including top sellers and cult-like wines is of extreme importance.
It can’t possibly have everything, but we looked for the one site that offers close to everything.
And the winner in 2018 is:
(We interrupt this awards program because it is New Year’s Eve and the Head Judge
just heard the sound of a Champagne cork…)
To be continued next year.