How to Buy Wine While Self-Isolating

We’re all going to be stuck at home for a while. That means we will need wine. And lots of it. For those of you who don’t have more than a couple of bottles squirreled away, that means you’ll need to order some. And so, at the risk of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, I present to you the basic tips on how to get yourself some good wine during your self-isolation, sheltering in place, pseudo-quarantine.

There are basically two places to start when it comes to getting wine delivered. Do you know what you want to drink, or do you want suggestions?

Step 1: Open your web browser.

Step 2 – Option 1: If it’s domestic wine, go to the web site of the winery whose wine you want and buy wine from them directly. Lather, rinse, repeat. If it’s foreign wine you’re hankering for, see Option 2.

Step 2 – Option 2: Got to and search for the wine you want.

Step 3: Choose a retailer with shipping in mind. That is, shipping wine is expensive, and so the least expensive option will usually be a retailer in your own state, even if the price per bottle is a bit higher. As an example, in my case New York prices on wines I want to buy are always cheaper when I look them up on Wine Searcher, but I usually have to pay significantly more in shipping, so it ends up cheaper for me to buy from a California retailer even though they’re charging $3 more per bottle.


Step 1: Try to remember one or two wines you like — even if all you can remember is the grape.

Step 2 – Option 1: Ask a friend who is into wine what they recommend given what you like. Yes, I count as a friend. Feel free to ask me.

Step 2 – Option 2: Read a wine magazine or wine column or a wine blog and see what writers are recommending.

Step 2 – Option 3: Use the power of the crowd. Use an app like Vivino or Delectable and see what people who are drinking the wine you enjoy are also drinking.

Step 2 – Option 4: Find an online retailer in your state using Wine Searcher and browse their site for recommendations until you see what you might want.

Step 3: Buy it online (see “If you know what you want” recommendations above).

Ninety percent of the wine clubs that most people have heard of (there are a few super boutique ones that are an exception) are crap. They’re either crap because they deliver lousy wines that aren’t made by real wineries and real people, or they’re crap because in order for them to give you free shipping, they have to make sure the wines are cheap enough to make a profit on, so you end up with…. wait for it…. crap wines. Wine clubs are really only a solution for people who value the convenience of not having to shop for wine so high that they’re willing to drink lousy wine rather than spend a couple of minutes buying good stuff for the same price.

In some more enlightened states, you can buy decent wine at supermarkets, especially those such as Whole Foods and other upscale groceries. There’s no shame in supermarket wine, especially if you can manage to pay more than $10 per bottle, which will get you up out of the dregs and into something much higher quality. If you can’t pay more than $10 per bottle, then just enjoy what you can!