Give online wine a try

It’s a great time of year to buy wine.

If you’ve not yet purchased wine online, you’re missing out on some of the best deals in the wine world. Online flash sites like Wines Till Sold Out, Last Bottle Wines, Invino, Cinderella Wine and Underground Cellar offer a unique opportunity for the wine buyer who wants to explore, drink better wine and maintain a modest budget.

As a wine journalist, I probably have more wine in my home than most. A good guess is that more than half of that wine has been purchased online.

Most of these online retailers offer good to great wines at a pretty significant price cut. It’s not unusual to find wines marked down 30 to 70 percent. How do they do it? It’s pretty simple supply and demand. Sometimes, wineries just need some cash flow — even the best wineries. So they’ll sell wines to sites like the ones mentioned above at a reduced rate.

In the fall, and particularly close to the holidays, many wineries will start clearing previous vintages and let go of their wines to the discount sellers.

I’ve bought wine online for several years now but have never seen buys like the past two months. I’ve recently purchased $40 Oregon Pinot Noir for $16 a bottle. A few weeks back, I snagged some Margaux region $50 Bordeaux for $25. Margaux is one of the premier growing sites for Bordeaux wines.

With most online sites, shipping is free with a minimum purchase. If there is a catch, it’s that one. But most of the time, the minimums are three to four bottles.

Online wine purchases might be the best way to improve the quality of wine you’re enjoying for the best possible price.

You can find all of the sites mentioned above and others with a simple Google search. My personal favorites are Last Bottle Wines and Wines Till Sold Out. I have bought wine from all of those listed.

2016 wine trip

I’m taking a group to Burgundy, France this summer on my second Grape Sense wine trip June 11 through 19. We’ll spend five nights in Beaune, the heart of Burgundy, and three free days in Paris.

If you want to know more, check it out on my blog or write me at my email below. Registration deadline is the end of February. The trip is nearly sold out, but two to four spots remain.

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about wine every other week for more than 20 newspapers. Contact Hewitt at hewitthoward@gmail.com.