I am constantly asked for wine recommendations. I am happy to give them and I have noticed recently that those that are asking but requesting only from one site–they are asking because of their shipping commitment with one wine retailer. Sometimes, but rarely so, does that one website have wines that I would recommend. I do point out that not all wines will ever be on that site and that keeping an open mind can help a small, medium-sized and independent producer and wine retailer. They are insistent that I only pick from that particular website and I always come back with additional wines that are not on that site.
First that site will not always be able to have an assortment of all available wines in the US. There is a limited shelf space even for online wine retailers – simply because most wines are quite limited. And maintaining webpages and back end inventory systems for a specific SKU is time consuming–yes even now.
I also recommend a physical wine retailer in their area for purchasing wine and I suggest they visit perhaps once a month or quarterly if they are time starved. While even a physical retailer will have limited shelf space the opportunity for organic discovery is compelling that no online wine retailer customer experience can ever match.
Small and medium sized wine producers certainly want to build their house DTC program and sometimes they do offer shipping deals and sometimes they do not. I find satisfaction that I have been part of an effort to bolster a small and medium sized wine producer by buying direct shipping deal or not. I do not want only one place to buy wine from in the future. My advocacy is for import wines as well. The requests are not just for US wines but all wine regions and I do think even import wines can be purchased DTC from importer (depends on state) and from small independent wine retailer’s websites. Supporting all wine retailers online and brick and mortar can keep the pipeline of optimum selection available.
Prices from that one monolith online wine store are not always optimum either. I have done a lot of comparison shopping and find lower prices at smaller DTC wine retailers which are most often a brick and mortar wine retailer.
So it does take me time to assemble a list which, of course, I do free of charge. I do include wines found at other wine retailers or from the producer directly and urge purchasing from those sources if superior to what I have found on that one wine retailers website.
While there seems to be a sense that this wine retailer is rocketing year-over-year there are limits of the growth of 2020 moving forward. Growth yes, of course, but at the 2020 percentage growth rate for that one particular online wine retailer will not repeat the growth rate this year (2021). I do think some producers and importers will find their avenues to distribute their wines online in the future at a greater rate. And, of course, competition being what it is will only increase for share of wallet for wine purchases and keep the potential for selection at an optimum.
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