10 best online wine shops
Discover smaller wine merchants and get the best deals
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If the thought of choosing a bottle of wine from a wall of supermarket plonk leaves you feeling faint, it might be worth turning your attention to the online stores, providing all manner of added assistance.
Whether you’re a novice or a WSET-certified wine expert, these online wine merchants offer bigger ranges than most physical stores can stock (thanks to unlimited shelf space) and plenty of helpful tools and advice to make sure you purchase wines you and your guests will love.
Get help with food matching, gift buying or storage suggestions and make purchasing wine enjoyable and effortless. If you’re looking to stock up, deals can often be had with bigger cases, perfect for parties or larger gatherings and all without you having to lug it home yourself.
The online marketplace is also a wonderful way to discover smaller wine producers, often championed by professional wine critics, which you might not otherwise come across in your local store.
Specific dietary requirements and preferences, such as vegan or organic, can be simply searched for, leaving you with an edited array from which to make your selection from. Or perhaps you’re trying to hunt down a much-loved wine you tried on holiday? You’re much more likely to find it online.
Whatever your budget, there’s wine shops specialising in affordable, everyday wines, right up to extremely rare and hard to find vintages. Depending on your level of commitment, you could purchase on an ad hoc basis or opt for more regular deliveries – just be sure to factor in delivery charges where applicable.
We have rounded up our favourite online wine retailers, looking for ease of use, price points on offer and customer service satisfaction.
This online wine shop certainly looks the part with its nifty wine selection tools, wine quiz and food matching selector, but what really sets this small company apart is the personal touch.
The friendly team make it easy to navigate the exceptional wine list and have been known to rush wine across town for last minute dinner party deliveries within a couple of hours. You’ll find something for everyone with organic, biodynamic, vegetarian and vegan wines all stocked.
Membership is also available, starting at £50 a month which gives you access to a personal Wine Guru who you can chat with by phone, webchat and email as well as free and discounted tickets to tastings and events.
With a focus on smaller producers from the USA and France, Roberson take the stress out of finding the perfect wine with their clever curated collections and personalised service.
As well as supplying wine to many Michelin star restaurants across the country, the award winning website offers next day delivery with no minimum spend to worry about.
We particularly like the This Weeks Picks section which recommends seasonal vinos to compliment the weather.
If you want to take things offline, Roberson have their own urban winery in London – a space where they invite customers to taste wine and get to know the team.
If you can’t make it to one of Borough Wines’ neighbourhood bricks and mortar stores (recently named Independent Retailer of the Year 2018 at the Drinks Business Awards), no problem - their website reflects what you’ll find on the shelves and then some.
Take your pick from small wine producers, including lots of low-intervention and organic options, either as single bottles or in a curated case of three, six or 12 bottles.
For customers living in London there’s a free click and collect service but national delivery is also available. Shop by food match, occasion, browse staff picks or check out new arrivals.
The Vino Beano
The Vino Beano team work their way around the world unearthing undiscovered gems from producers which haven’t yet hit the mainstream, but thoroughly deserve to be shared and appreciated.
The result is a fully stocked selection of the unexpected, the artisanal and the exotic, curated by a qualified Master of Wine.
The Vino Beano free membership provides users with regular updates on the latest wines, special deals and events and the techy savvy wine merchant pride themselves on accepting payment via Bitcoin (alongside more mainstream payment methods).
Stocking over 5000 wines and spirits, including some incredibly rare vintages, Berry Bros are experts in the fine wine world.
The UK’s first wine broking service, Berry’s Broking Exchange (or BBX) is a marketplace for individuals to bid for wine that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you’re looking for something you can drink without having to re-mortgage your house, their award-wining own label wine is well worth checking out, and the in-depth information available on regions and producers is both invaluable and engaging.
The Fizz Company
Whether it’s cava, champagne or prosecco you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it at The Fizz Company, an online wine shop specialising in all things sparkling.
Learn tips on storage, serving and sipping, get food pairing advice and put their big brand match to the test. Simply let them know what champagne you normally drink and they’ll suggest a smaller producer with a similar flavour profile.
Buy a single bottle or create a mixed wine box made up of six bottles or more for free delivery.
The Wine Society
A lifetime membership to The Wine Society will set you back just £40, with £20 taken off your first order. You’ll then be part of the co-operative, having a say in how the company is run, which is how they keep profit margins low, and delivery free-of-charge.
The buying team at The Wine Society have a simple brief – they should only stock wines which they are super enthusiastic about, but if for some reason you’re not completely sold on a bottle, there’s a no-quibble returns policy.
With over 140,000 active members, they must be doing something right. Bottles start at a very reasonable £5.75.
With wines from Australia to Spain, via Romania and Brazil, you won’t find any mass-produced supermarket plonk on this website.
If you know what you’re after, you can buy bottles on an ad-hoc basis, creating your own case or alternatively, leave it to the pros and join the Discovery Wine Club, where you’ll receive a box of 12 delivered to your door every three months.
With free wine advisors, over one million customer wine ratings and regular nationwide tastings, we’re confident you’ll be a happy Oenophile, but there’s a money back guarantee if you find you’re not keen on what you’ve tried.
Whether you’re an expert or a wine novice, Lay Wheeler aim to make it easy to find fine wine.
Specialising in selling wine on release or “en primeur”, this website has a special feature where, prior to the wines’ release, customers can register their interest and then get notifications when the wines are available for sale.
Named Online Retailer of the Year at the International Wine Challenge awards 2018, they are the ones to turn to if you’re looking to build up your wine cellar.
Once you sign up as a customer you’ll have your own private page which shows everything you’ve bought, its market value and provenance.
Much like the in-store experience, you’ll be asked 'What Do You Fancy?' as you enter the site, and after a few simple questions will be presented with a curated selection of wines to peruse across a variety of price points.
Community is key at Majestic, where a simple Buy it Again rating helps other customers know whether to take a punt on a particular style or if you need even more guidance there’s a new concierge subscription service available.
Free glass hire and delivery are just some of the added benefits of shopping online with this wine giant.
Offering over 900 wines from just £6, Slurp have made quite the impression over the past few years. We're continually impressed by their ever-changing and always innovative wine selection, and they’re committed to supporting great smaller producers.
The quality is there, the prices are fair and the selection is vast, so you can just about always find what you’re looking for.
As an added perk, if your partner isn’t into wine, they offer an award-winning range of beers and spirits too.
Laithwaite’s has long been one of the most convenient and loyalty-driven online retailers. It’s their sign-up deals that have captured the most attention and they’ve become the perfect enabler for those who want to dip their toes into the wine world to find great quality at fantastic value. Personal favourites from our wine columnist include two incredible Aussie reds, Black Stump Durif Shiraz and Black Duck Durif Shiraz.
Keep a special eye out for the very good sign-up deals if you’re looking to stock up at Christmas, Laithwaite’s never disappoint with their ‘Introductory Offer’ which allows you to get 12 bottles for just £50 (that’s about £4 per bottle!)
Wanderlust Wine prides itself on offering sustainably made wines from off the beaten track and allow their customers to gradually evolve beyond the comfort of their usual grape varieties. Named as our wine columnists Online Retailer of the Year in 2017, Wanderlust has continued to rack up a number of awards over the past year.
They also offer an on-demand one-hour delivery service within London, adding an extra layer of innovation and convenience to the mix. Wanderlust is perfect for those looking for incredible wines at great value. If learning about new grape varieties and finding hidden gems is what you’re all about – this one’s for you.
Wanderlust also has a unique Wine Club offering, so you can save yourself some money while getting your hands on some fantastic wine. It’s one of the few wine retailers that blows us away by introducing slightly unusual (but delicious) wines to our lives. Dry white tokaji, anyone?
The Verdict: Best online wine shops
We’ve long been fans of Honest Grapes, thanks to their excellent selection, easy to understand tasting notes and fun interactive quizzes.
With all the ease of ordering online, but with the personality of purchasing in person, we’ve never had a bottle we didn’t love from this online wine merchant.
Stacey Smith is the founder of food & drink website Crummbs
Adrian Smith is the Independent’s wine columnist. You can read more of his recommendations and his ongoing column by clicking here