Updated: Jun 14, 2020
Here at Welcombe Hills Vineyard, we’ve really noticed how social distancing has had an impact, both on our business and how we live. It’s dictated how we shop and how
we behave as consumers. Panic buying created supply issues with toilet roll and cleaning products at the start, and some retail outlets even put a restriction on purchases of bottles of wine!
It’s been heartening to see so many local businesses react to the changing situation and offer an online shopping experience which gives consumers the option to buy directly from producers and suppliers and have goods shipped to their door.
As well as supermarkets, there are also plenty of wine merchants who can ship mixed cases or individual wines. In addition, local producers of wine, gin, cider and beer have also enhanced their delivery services to meet demand.
So, here are some top tips for buying wine online……
1. Work out the delivery costs before you start
As with any online purchase, you want to be spending more of your money on the wine and less on the delivery costs. Most online shops offer free delivery if you buy a certain amount so familiarise yourself with minimum order amounts to qualify.
Shipping an individual bottle of wine costs about £5.95 so rather than buy just one bottle, it’s more cost effective to stock up on a few bottles to get that free delivery.
Local producers may offer a free delivery service to local addresses – Welcombe Hills Vineyard will deliver any order within a 25 mile radius of Stratford-upon-Avon with no minimum order required. See our online shop >>
2. Consider it an opportunity to explore new wines
Online shopping is great for those who know exactly what they want. However, if you’re not sure what it is you’re looking for this is a great opportunity to do a bit of research. How do you work out what you want when social distancing is preventing you from trying it?
Take this opportunity to educate yourself with the various regions, grapes and wines available. Don't just browse the producer’s website - get in touch with them either directly or through social media for more information on their products, tasting notes and reviews.
Or, book onto a Virtual wine tasting event, where you can buy the wine beforehand and then taste the wine live alongside the producer/winemaker/wine merchant. These events offer the perfect opportunity to try something new, alongside some professional guidance!
3. What are you buying it for?
I’m not casting aspersions on your drinking habits – certainly in “lockdown” it’s been all too easy to reach for a bottle. Think about when you’ll be drinking the wine – a lower alcohol wine for during the day, an aperitif, to pair with a specific meal or even something to share with friends.
4. Go wild!
Discover new wines – there are so many different varieties of wines to experiment with, from different countries, climates, grapes, soils and processes. For example, if you love a good Sancerre, then why not switch to an English Bacchus to match that vibrant acidity and floral notes? Or if a smooth Pinot Noir is your go-to, experiment with this grape from different emerging regions such as England, Romania, New Zealand or Chile. The important thing here is to enjoy the process, and identify some new favourites!
5. Know what you're buying.
Don’t assume that expensive wines are the best wines. Spend what you can afford - there’s no need to blow your budget on one bottle of good wine to get the best. Price differentiation depends on many factors, particularly it’s origination and the taxes and duty applicable in that country.
It's a huge frustration for us that the EU Tariff on wine from Australia is effectively 6.5p to 8p a bottle, whereas UK wine duty on still wine is a whopping £2.60 per bottle.
If you buy a £5 bottle of wine in the supermarket, the wine itself represents about 30p (6%) of that cost. Buy wine for £20, and it represents about 35% of the total price. The rest is taken up by packaging, margins, logistics, VAT and duty.
Overall, like most things in life you'll get what you pay for. There is a huge variety out there on the market, and a lot of fun to be had exploring it all!
Here, at Welcombe Hills Vineyard, we hope the lockdown will continue to ease up over the next few weeks. As soon as it is safe to do, we'll be welcoming guests on our vineyard tour and wine-tasting events for people to walk the vines, and try the wines for themselves.
Welcombe Hills Vineyard produces award-winning wines from grapes grown on land once belonging to the Shakespeare family.
Having established a reputation at both local and national level for producing award-winning wines of high quality, we won a trophy and silver medal at the 2018 WineGB Midlands and North of England awards for our 2018 Bacchus – The Tempest.