During the Coronavirus lockdown, online wine sales are exploding for obvious reasons. But we are likely developing a habit that will be hard to break when the lockdown is over. Truth be told, buying wine online is convenient and the selection at some of the better sites (Wine.com, K&L Merchants) is quite good.
But if we want the wine business to return to something like it was before Covid19—with lots of interesting, distinctive, artisan wines available– we need to be selective now about where we buy our wine online. The big online retailers will not only survive in this environment, they will flourish. It’s the small importer or retailer, who formerly made a living selling unique wines to restaurants, that will not survive without our help. While I enjoy the selection at the big sites I’m shifting some of my wine purchases to small, local retailers who do a great job of finding wines that are otherwise unavailable.
I don’t normally promote products on this site but I’m going to make an exception and give a shoutout to DOCG Imports. If you love Italian wines, this is a place to get distinctive, high quality, small production wines that cannot be found elsewhere. Proprietor Marina Snow divides her time between the U.S. and Italy and knows both markets intimately. She has hand selected each wine she sells and her taste and judgement are spot on. I’ve tasted many of these wines and have never been disappointed. (She ships to any state that permits sales by out-of-state retailers)
If businesses such as DOCG Imports don’t survive, we will be left with mostly mediocre, homogeneous corporate wines. Small retailers are utterly dependent on consumers like us to make it through these difficult times. So lets make an effort to see to it that the wine culture in the U.S. continues to flourish by supporting these small, independent businesses.