More and more transactions are happening online, and buying wine is no different.
Every year more and more purchases are made online.
What happens once you pay for your wine? It has to be shipped to you, and this is where wine is unlike any other online purchase.
Most people don’t think about how the wine gets to them. In this “Amazon inspired” world we live in, everyone just expects the wine to get to them quickly.
Well, there is a ton of stuff to consider before you ship wine to yourself.
We are not even going to get into all the different states and all their different and unique alcohol shipping regulations. Let’s just say that part is very complicated.
I’m talking about what you need to consider before you buy wine on a daily wine discount website, your wine club, or any other website or winery that you happen to be visiting for that matter.
Why should you read this article?
I’ve been buying wine, shipping wine, and traveling with wine for 20 years. I’ve made all the mistakes and ruined thousands of dollars of priceless wine, and everyday wine.
I worked in the shipping department of Pine Ridge Vineyards/Crimson Wine Group shipping wine all over the country and even internationally.
While I lived on the West Coast, I’d send wine to friends and family in North Carolina and Florida. I’d also take wine with me on planes when I’d visit NC and FL.
And even though I no longer work in Napa, I still belong to a couple Napa wine clubs and have wine shipped to me 2,800 miles away in North Carolina.
I’m going to tell you exactly what I do to give myself the best odds of the wine.
How to Have Your Wine Delivered.
The first thing that you want to do is make sure you have your wine delivered to a business address.
Read that again because it’s important.
To this day, I have all my wine shipped to my friends office that is near my house. I do not have wine shipped to my home.
In the United States, you have to be 21 years old to drink alcohol. Because of this, the government requires that a signature from someone 21 years or older is collected by the delivery company (FedEx, UPS, etc.) before they release the package.
That means they can not leave wine on your doorstep, it must be signed for.
Because it must be signed for, a business location has the advantage of someone always being there during business hours to sign.
I have warned everyone that tries to send wine to their home address that there can and will be any random reason you can not make it to the door when your wine gets sent to you.
You might be taking a dump and can’t get off the toilet in time when you hear your doorbell ring. You might have run to the store to get some milk. You might have the T.V. turned up too loud and not hear that someone is ringing your doorbell.
There are a million reasons, and many more I can’t think of, for why you can accidently miss the delivery of your wine.
An unknown fact is that it is also slightly cheaper to have your wine delivered to an office address compared to a home address, although I don’t know if that savings get passed on to the consumer.
That fact might be some not that useful inside baseball info that I learned from years shipping wine.
Advantages of having your wine sent to a business:
-there is always someone there during business hours to sign for it
-the wine is delivered inside a building, and during summer buildings are cool with air conditioning
-it is also slightly cheaper cost to have wine sent to a business address
Have you wine set to a business that you know near your house. It’s totally worth it. It is what I do for all my wine club shipments and for random wine purchase I make online, or if I happen to be visiting a winery and buy wine and have it shipped back to my house.
Temperature Is The Most Important Factor You Don’t Think About When Shipping Wine
I have ruined a shit ton of wine.
I have ruined entire pallets of wine (a pallet holds 32 cases).
I have ruined priceless irreplaceable wine.
I have ruined a lot of wine for the company I worked for, and my own wine as well.
I am not proud of this, and percentage wise it has been a small percentage of wine that I have shipped that has gotten ruined, but I’m telling you this because I know.
I have the wine scars to prove it.
I am never happy when I ruin wine from shipping mistakes, but it happens.
The Number #1 Problem Shipping Wine Is Heat
There are huge chunks of the country that are too hot to ship wine for 6 months of the year. At least half the country has this problem.
How hot is too hot to ship wine?
80 degrees and above.
85 degrees is really not even that hot, but it’s too hot to ship wine.
Wine starts to spoil at 80 degrees, and it doesn’t take long at that temperature to ruin the wine.
And what people don’t think about, is how hot it is in the back of delivery trucks. The delivery trucks do not have a/c and they cook. Not good for wine!
The problem is, wineries and wine websites want to sell wine year round.
But me as the wine consumer, I only want wine shipped to my (actually to my friend’s office) during the cooler months.
I live in North Carolina. I stop getting wine shipped to me in April. And then I start back in October. So from May – September, I do not have wine shipped to me. It’s too hot.
Now in some parts of the country it can get too cold for a few months out of the year, but this is a way smaller problem.
The problem is most wine consumers have no idea about the temperature, they want their wine asap after purchase.
I’ve had many many orders that I was told to send out, into areas that I knew were too hot, and the wine would come back with corks pushed through. That’s what happens when wine get’s hot, it pushes through the sides of the cork.
Or the customer got the wine and was pissed that the wine was ruined, because they sent the wine when they were told not to, and it got too hot and ruined the wine, because we did exactly what the customer demanded.
Seen it happen many times.
Heat is your number one enemy when shipping wine. Which is also another reason why you want to send to a business. If it’s on the warm, but not to hot to send wine area, then a business is likely to receive the wine on the first attempt.
Often, home deliveries get missed. FedEx and UPS will usually give 3 attempts at delivery, before they return the package to sender.
But you have to remember that each time the deliver is not successful, that’s a lot more time for the wine to sit in the back of a truck and bake.
The main takeaway when you buy wine is to consider the temperatures of the place that you are having wine sent to. If you take this extra step, you will save thousands of dollars and lots of heartache.