Best Places to Buy Wine Online
Plonk

The Best Places to Buy Wine Online

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Best Places to Buy Wine Online
Plonk

From the Vineyard to Your Door

Cheapism Best Places to Buy-Wine BadgeThere is a pleasure to browsing the racks of a truly great wine store and getting lost amid the vintages as you daydream of sipping wine at some secluded vineyard. But if you don't have a browse-worthy wine seller nearby — or simply don't want to bother with the store in the first place — buying wine online is a great alternative. Selection is the most obvious reason: The best online retailers carry hundreds, if not thousands, of different varieties. Another factor is convenience, whether you order online to pick up curbside or have a monthly selection of wines shipped to your door. Wine clubs are a particularly good option if you're not well-versed in winespeak and would like guidance as you choose wines or harbor an affinity for a certain type of wine, such as sparkling or organic. We took a look at some of the most popular wine clubs and online wine stores, rating them on a scale from 1 to 5 based on criteria including selection and specialization, price (including shipping), and overall user experience. Note: State law may limit or prohibit what you can order and have delivered.


Related: 20 Affordable Wine Clubs That Will Satisfy Even the Snobs

Wine.com | Best Overall Online Wine Store
Wine.com

Wine.com: Best Online Wine Store Overall

Cheapism Best Places to Buy–Wine: Best Wine Overall

Shopping score: 5

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  • Price range: $5 to $10,000
  • Selection: 3,726 red wines; 1,798 white and rosé; 479 sparkling
  • Shipping: Standard and expedited available; price varies. Free for StewardShip members ($49 annual fee). Free local pickup available from select retail partners.

When it comes to selection, price, and convenience among online wine sellers, Wine.com impressed us the most. Browsing the site is a fairly straightforward affair; you can sort by style, region, rating, and price. If you need help, Wine.com maintains a robust Learning & Discovery section, with tutorials on basics such as how to pair wine and food and access to virtual tasting events. We also like that purchases can be shipped to local pickup locations including select FedEx, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Safeway, Shaw's, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, and Fred Meyer stores. Prefer to let Wine.com do the choosing? The Picked wine club will send you six bottles of wine, based on your preferences, at regular intervals for about $120, and shipping is free.


Related: 50 Great-Tasting Red Wines Under $20

Total Wine | Best Overall Online Wine Store, runner up
Total Wine

Total Wine: Best Wine Store Runner-Up

Shopping score: 4.8

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  • Price range: $2.50 to $16,000
  • Selection: 2,953 red wines; 1,171 white and rosé; 1,502 sparkling
  • Shipping: FedEx Ground, 2-Day Air, and Overnight; price varies. Orders can also be picked up curbside at no charge or delivered locally for a fee.

Truth be told, there's not much separating Total Wine from our top pick, Wine.com. The overall selection may be slightly smaller than Wine.com's, but Total Wine has physical stores that provide contactless curbside pickup and expert wine advice from a human being, not a website. Another plus: free shipping on orders of Total Wine's proprietary Winery Direct vintages totaling $99 or more. Residents of select states can also join Total Wine's rewards program, earning points toward future shopping discounts and more. There's even a wine club with three price tiers (starting at $59 for a six-month membership) that will send you two bottles of wine per month. 


Related: 22 Great-Tasting White Wines for $20 or Less

Splash | Best if You Buy By the Case
Splash

Splash: Best for Buying by the Case

Shopping score: 3.8

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  • Price range: $105 per case and up
  • Selection: 73 red wines; 32 white wines
  • Shipping: $4.95 per case with a basic account; free for subscriptions and with membership for Winos ($29.95 annual fee) and Founders ($150)

Unlike the other sellers in this roundup, Splash sells wine only by the case, for one-time purchase or by subscription. Shoppers can build their own 15-bottle cases from the (relatively limited) selection or choose from one of 13 curated shipments, including options that focus on rosés, red blends, and single varietals. Splash has membership tiers that offer free shipping and other money-saving perks for an annual fee.


Related: 20 Toast-Worthy Sparkling Wines for $20 or Less

FirstLeaf | Best Wine Club for Beginners
FirstLeaf

Firstleaf: Best Wine Club for Beginners

Shopping score: 3.6

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  • Price range: $10 to $280 per bottle; $90 for six bottles (shipping included) with club membership
  • Selection: 196 red wines; 113 white and rosé; 6 sparkling
  • Shipping: UPS Ground and FedEx Ground; price varies

Firstleaf is a good option for wine newbies who want to learn more. Start by answering a handful of questions designed to suss out your preferences (dry? juicy? sweet?), how willing you are to try new varieties and styles, and what some of your favorite foods are, then sit back and wait for your curated case of wine to arrive. Or, browse the sizable reference library and educate yourself, then browse the by-the-bottle wine shop. 


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Naked Wines | Best for Supporting Indie Wine Producers
Naked Wines

Naked Wines: Best for Supporting Indie Producers

Shopping score: 3.6

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  • Price range: $10 to $50 per bottle 
  • Selection: 74 red wines; 61 white and rosé; 10 sparkling
  • Shipping: Free for subscriptions and for orders over $100; $10 otherwise

One of the joys of visiting wine country is discovering the mom-and-pop wine producers whose products you'll never find in stores. Naked Wines promises access to some of these independent winemakers, giving subscribers the opportunity to receive additional discounts and free bottles of wine in exchange for "investing" as an angel. Think of it like a more intimate Wine.com with a much more limited selection. One drawback: Naked Wines lacks the robust wine education resources that Wine.com and Total Wine boast, but it does have a lively collection of social groups, where members can discuss everything from favorite wines to pairing advice and organizing local meetups.


Related: 13 Cheap, Refreshing Summer Wines

Wine of the Month Club | Best Value Wine Club
Wine of the Month Club

Wine of the Month Club: Best Value Wine Club

Shopping score: 3.3

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  • Price range: $6 to $1,495 per bottle; wine clubs start at $38 per month for 2 bottles
  • Selection: 193 red wines, 75 white and rosé; 14 sparkling
  • Shipping: Standard and expedited available for bottle and club purchases; price varies

The great thing about wine clubs is that they take the guesswork out of choosing wines. They're also fun if you're partial to a particular style or variety of wine, or just like to discover wines that you may otherwise never pick up at the store. What we like about Wine of the Month Club is how many options it offers: a baker's dozen, ranging from California wines to organic selections. There's even a "mystery case" option that delivers a dozen reds and/or whites to your door on a quarterly basis. As with most other wine clubs, you can also buy individual bottles, membership not required, although selection is a fraction of what you'll find at a dedicated online wine store. What's also lacking is a robust wine education section; tasting tutorials and pairing guides are buried under the site's general Info section, and the blog hasn't been updated in years. 


Related: Taste Test: The Best Canned Wine

Vinebox | Best for Sample-Sized European Wines
Vinebox

Vinebox: Best for Sample-Size European Wines

Shopping score: 3

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  • Price range: $65 to $96 per box
  • Selection: 14 red wines, 6 white and rosés
  • Shipping: Free for subscriptions and for shipments of 6 bottles or more

For some people, it's the seemingly endless variety that makes wine fun. If tasting parties — not seeking out that rare vintage — are your idea of a good time (or you simply don't drink much), consider Vinebox. Every three months, you'll receive a new shipment containing nine 100 ml samples of red, white, and rosé wines, each just enough for a full glass. Host a tasting party with your besties or keep the wines all for yourself. Like what you taste? Receive credit toward the purchase of full-size bottles. (Vinebox does sell full-size bottles to nonmembers, but the "Bottle Shop" is hard to find; the link is buried at the bottom of the home page.) Vinebox also sells a limited number of sampler boxes with no subscription needed.


Related: Boozy Gifts That Don Draper Would Endorse

Plonk | Best for Organic and Biodynamic Wines
Plonk

Plonk: Best for Organic and Biodynamic Wines

Shopping score: 3

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  • Price range: $23.75 to $28.75 per bottle; wine clubs $110 and up
  • Selection: 82 red wines; 82 white and rosé; 11 sparkling
  • Shipping: Free; minimum 6 bottles per order

Plonk's focus is on sustainable winemaking and lesser-known wine regions, but what we really like about this wine club is its flexibility. You can get shipments of four, eight, or 12 bottles sent on a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly basis, as well as buy individual bottles. What we dislike is the lack of any tips, tutorials, tasting and pairing guides, or other resources that novice wine enthusiasts can use to educate themselves.


Related: When Is It Worth Buying Organic?