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How to BUY RED WINE ONLINE? Lesson 1

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Table of contents:

Learn how to buy your first red wine and find out what wines best suit your palate in 5 STEPS

buying wine online


If you are buying a wine first time online, you will probably be overwhelmed by the number of online wine shops and information about all these wines. Your task is narrowing it down to wines with honest prices and decent quality.

My advice is not to go for super fine wines straight away. Your brain and senses are not used to recognizing and then defining properly aromas they have just perceived. Moreover, complex wines will attack you with numerous aromas that will get your brain perplexed. This way, you will be left with a vague impression of the wine and no wine path to continue on.

STEP 1: Main red varieties

First, you need to start exploring what varieties suit your palate at the moment. Leave blends for later. I am not saying that you will not enjoy them, but you might need some time to understand which blends are the best for you.

For your first red, start with these three varieties:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon ( is usually fuller body and bolder wine)

  • Merlot ( is softer than Cab but still has a respectful body)

  • Pinot Noir (light in color and body)

using vivino

STEP 2:Finding wine online and its rating

Vivino is the world's biggest wine database; although information is not always correct, their ratings can be very helpful. Look for one of the varieties above, within the price range of 10-20 dollars and with a rating 3.7 or above.

STEP 3: Understanding the wine naming system

ROTH ESTATE - MERLOT - ALEXANDER VALLEY - 2016 (from the image above)

winery name variety appellation vintage

You must start understanding the wine naming system. If you appreciate this wine after tasting it, it's possible that you also like Willamette Valley's terroir and winemaking culture in addition to liking Pinot Noir as a variety. Try to analyze the full wine name every time you are drinking wine, it will help you buy your next wine. Now let's get back to finding the first one.

using wine-searcher

STEP 4: Finding a trustworthy online offer

Type the exact name of the wine "Roth Estate Merlot Alexander Valley 2016" in Wine-Searcher. Its advantage is that you can filter straight away websites that deliver to your location and allows you to compare the prices. With the Pro Version (8$/month) you will see even more offers.

Click Go to Shop to see the offer. Open several offers and check which wine shop has info up-to-date. This includes:

  • Same vintage in the description and on the label

  • Tasting notes for the exact vintage (2016 in this case)

  • Check for any additional reviews/ratings: Suckling, Parker, Burghound, Jancis Robinson, Dunnuck, Decanter ...

wine info - wine product page

example of a credible offer

STEP 5: Buying the wine

Pick a website with complete wine information and a good price.




Eli Maxwell
Eli Maxwell
Jul 10, 2023

Very insightful! I needed this. Thanks.


Rey Ver
Rey Ver
Jun 14, 2023

As someone who's new to wine buying, especially new to wine drinking to be honest, I found this post incredibly helpful. It's always can be quite overwhelming. Thanks to your guide, I just bought my first wine online purchase!


Gems Bond
Gems Bond
Jun 12, 2023

Wow! Your first step, identifying the key red varieties and their characteristics, really helped set the foundation. It's interesting to understand the differences between Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. Now, I have a clear starting point for my wine journey.

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