Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

From Cosmopolitan

Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re no stranger to shopping for just about everything online. (Amazon Prime, come through!) But, admittedly, some things are easier to buy than others.

For example, we already know what a family-size pack of Cheez-Its tastes like (let’s just say we’ve done the research), so we’re pretty confident about that add-to-cart. Wine, however, is a different story. TBH, we’re not even sure we’re buying the right wine when we are shopping in-store. So how the heck are we supposed to do it from the comfort of our beds? Just because we’re good at drinking it does not mean we’re pro sommeliers.

That’s where the, uh, pro sommeliers come in.

ICYMI, we recently launched our very own brand of wine with Guarachi. It’s called Uncorked, and you need it for many, many reasons. The biggest ones: a) it’s delicious, and b) it’s pretty to look at.

And now that we identify as Extremely Sophisticated Wine People, we have access to Guarachi’s very-legit team of sommeliers—so we asked their HSIC (Head Sommelier In Charge), Marilyn Vogel, how TF we’re supposed to buy this stuff online, based solely on photos and descriptions that use words like “toasty.”

Why should we buy wine online in the first place?

So, yes, Pandemic. But also your local liquor store probs doesn’t carry every single wine label known to woman. Picking your poison online means you have access to the entire world of of wine, and you don’t have to settle for the same few brands every time. Vogel’s go-to? (Yeah, that’s a website.)

Besides the sheer volume of options, wine shopping on the internet eliminates the intimidating human interaction stuff. Nobody likes to embarrass themselves in front of the seemingly extremely knowledgeable dude at the store! Plus, who knows if he’s just going to pitch you the most expensive bottle? We don’t trust anyone.

Sites like have entire teams of experts available for an on-demand chat to help you choose the best wine for any occasion. And, according to Vogel, “These people are not commissioned. So you can rest assured that they’ll steer you to the products that make the most sense for you.” Love. To. See it.

Last, but certainly not least, online shopping is just freaking convenient! Vogel is all of us: “Everything is shipped to your door these days. Why should wine be any different?” *Mic drop*

Do the prices reflect how good(?) the wine is?

Vogel’s advice is to “shop with reputable retailers like, and remember that you get what you pay for. When the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.” At the end of the day, $100 worth of wine for $20 is just $20 worth of wine.

How can I pick a wine that tastes delicious (or just not-horrible) online?

Quick reminder that literally the entire world of knowledge is easily accessible via this niche, up-and-coming search engine called Google. “In the local store, your only clue to a wine’s quality is the label design (or if you’re lucky, a small note card with a single tasting note). Online, you can really get a sense for what the wine will taste like and the story behind it. Sites like are encyclopedias of information with tasting notes, descriptions, professional scores, and customer ratings, helping consumers make an educated choice about every purchase.”

Wait, I just found out that you can’t ship alcohol in every state. SOS!

This is deeply, deeply disturbing, but also completely true. Vogel says to make sure your fave pick ships to your state before going all in. Most online wine retailers are regional, but bigger sites (yes, included) ship more widely.

Is shipping this stuff super expensive?

Actually, online wine retailers often offer shipping deals to make this process a little bit smoother. Vogel says offers a StewardShip program, which gives you one year of unlimited shipping for just $49. (That’s, like, one fancy meal at a restaurant.) Take advantage of it to stock up on wine for yourself—duh—and send gifts to friends and family across the country. Holiday shopping solved!

YAY! Placed my order. Am I done here?

Last (quick) thing. You need to sign for the package and show proof that you’re over 21! See if your online wine retailer offers delivery to a local pickup location like Duane Reade or FedEx, where you can pick up the package on your own schedule (no need to wait around for that delivery truck!).

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