Online wine specialists in the UK
Readers often ask for recommendations for UK-based online wine specialists. As we are currently in the tightening grip of the Covid-19 pandemic and the festive wine buying season is fast approaching, buying wine online is particularly appealing.
The value of Independence
Firstly, anyone that favours an independent wine merchant is to be commended, as the wine in your glass will almost certainly taste better.
It’s a significant reason why the UK independent wine merchants continue to have thriving retail sales. Most of these have retail premises, and over the past few years, have added an online offering. Those are usually generalists, stocking wines from around the world. Consequently, their selections are frequently well-chosen. However, a specialist can offer more diversity and exclusivity within their chosen category.
Online enables specialism
Online also means that having shop premises is no longer the business prerequisite it once was. All of us are now well-versed in buying online. It’s an everyday occurrence, accelerated by the ongoing pandemic, where safety is as important as convenience.
Covid-19 has reduced retail footfall and trashed the hospitality sector, but online retail has grown. Indeed, Wine Intelligence estimates that 34% of regular wine buyers in the UK in 2020 now buy online (2017 – 30%). And even if online isn’t the sole wine venue, it’s now firmly established in the mix.
Specialists can delve deeper. They can offer obscure but excellent artisanal producers, sustainable wines, small production, rare grape varieties and a smattering of the individual weird and wonderful – all things that make wine such a treasure.
Many specialists also have direct relationships with wine producers. It cuts out the middleman and enables small artisanal producers, sometimes exclusively. We all like to find things that aren’t otherwise available, and specialists have the talent to unearth these.
What makes an excellent online wine specialist?
What criteria make an excellent online wine specialist? The primary one is that they stock only superb tasting wines. Without that, nothing else matters.
Next, the pricing has to offer value and be competitive, including delivery charges.
Retail always means detail. Hence there are other vital customer experience considerations as part of an online proposition. So look for:
An engaging website. Check out the social media presence too.
Content that’s easily navigable and valuable.
Slick ordering and secure payment systems;
The ability to mix and match;
Themed selections and regular offers;
Available stock and trackable delivery services;
Sustainability. Ideally, the wines are sustainable, but the delivery packaging must be too!.
If you haven’t tried an online specialist, there’s never been a better time to do so. Why not try out with a small order first. That way, there’s not much risk because the online retailer wants repeat orders! The majority of wines recommended by Wine Alchemy have a link to a UK stockist. Often these are independent merchants with an online presence. Give it a try; you might discover a life-long relationship!