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Where should I buy wine online?

DanielleM Aug 7, 2006 06:34 PM

Can anyone recommend a good online wine retailer who will sell me wine in Pennsylvania? I have purchased from WineExpress.com and was relatively happy with them, until they shipped my wine on a 100 degree plus day despite assurances that they would hold shipments because of excessive heat. I guess I'd just like to try someone else now.

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  1. moto Aug 8, 2006 09:02 AM

    hello, when I've shopped online I saw good selections and prices in a couple of NJ places,winelibrary for example; didn't use any because I'm on the opposite coast, making both shipping costs and transit time prohibitive. Use the wine search sites (wine-searcher, winezap,wineaccess <.com >) for specific wines you're interested in that your local places lack, look at the sources relatively close with competitive prices, and take your inquiries from there. In general, places that do a significant business in premium stuff have to take the temp issue seriously if they expect to keep customers. Sorry if this is obvious stuff you've done already. cheers

    1. moto Aug 8, 2006 11:12 AM

      hello, I'd be remiss not to mention my regular retailer, rootscellar.com He just moved to a larger temp-controlled facility and would be able to delay shipping.

      Minuses, his distance from you [Healdsburg,CA, where 3 major Sonoma Co. wine appellations (Dry Creek, Alexander Valley, Russian River) conjoin and premium Napa Co wineries are 30-40 min. away], and the size of his small family operated business limiting what he can competitively price, given that the big box outlets can get huge discounts from importers/distributors. Pluses, his many years in the biz, fun and caring personal integrity/qualities give him contacts with many small CA producers that don't sell to big outlets, and distributors/importers of a wide array of imports as well; his full disclosure of tasting notes, often his own and/or major pub's like the advocate and spectator,often with other info about the origins and winemaker. Most of his business is via his e-mail newsletter, and the prices of the wines featured thereon are very competitive.

      I initially thought of NJ because of my own bias to minimizing distance and time, and I pick up from Roots directly, had to realize most of his volume is web-based. If you like CA small producer wines, and shipping to PA is legalized, definitely get on his e-mail list; he makes 1-2 offers per week, fun and informative to read, absolutely no spam or ads attached. cheers

      1. Bill Hunt Aug 8, 2006 03:13 PM

        My recommendation may also be moot, as it involves the "Other Coast," as well, and I do not know the legalities of shipping to PA/USA. However, K & L Wines (www.klwines.com) does ship to me in AZ and will hold all shipments in the Summer (which in AZ seems to be about 10 months long). Their two brick-n-mortar stores are in California at San Francisco and Redwood City. Their prices are fair and their selecitons extensive. Bdx. is one of their specialties, but they handle international stock and cover US wines very well.

        You just have to factor in the shipping costs, shipping time and any legal issues.

        My first choice would be to go with a good company closer to your location - one that understands the possible problems with shipping damage.

        Good luck,

        1. m
          Marilyn Aug 8, 2006 04:05 PM


          Im in PA and I use Wine Library and never had a problem
          with shipping, always excellent service. Good store to visit too, very knowledgeable staff. They're located in Springfield New Jersey


          1. d
            DanielleM Aug 8, 2006 04:14 PM

            Thank you for all of the suggestions -- yes, I am looking for an east-coast supplier. I will try winelibrary -- I thought wineexpress was perfect since they were in NY and I was happy with their prices and selection -- but I was really displeased with my last order.

            Does anyone have any information on Zachy's? That was another option I was going to try.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DanielleM
              RCC Aug 8, 2006 11:59 PM

              I buy often from Zachys. I don't know know if they ship to PA, but I know, very well that they've held on to my orders during extremely hot weather - and I live in NYC.

              Their prices are expensive, but when they have a sale, especially on recent vintages of Bordeaux and Burgundy, as well as recent and older Barolos and Brunellos, that's when I load up as their prices can be so much lower than anywhere else in the country (using winesearcher.com professional version). Plus, my impression (and many others that I know that buy from them) is that they have very good storage as their wines are always in excellent provenance.

              Zachys can be expensive (I'd suggest that you buy only when they have a sale), but has one of the best selection in the country.

              By the way, I also buy quite often from winelibary. I hope this is just an aberration, but my last order was shipped in the middle of the heatwave last week. I tracked it with their order tracking email and saw that it was held up overnight by the carrier/shipper before it was delivered to me. I had a few of the bottles with some guests and they're fine, but I plan to remind them about it on my next order.

              1. re: RCC
                JanR Aug 9, 2006 05:45 PM

                Zachy's has always shipped to PA.

            2. yayadave Aug 8, 2006 05:52 PM

              You should know that most out of state wine shipments into PA are illegal. They set up some proceedure to allow them because of a recent supreme court decision, but I don't think they were too happy about it. Also, you should know that the PLCB has a web site listing available wines and wine sale items and their wine prices are pretty competitive. Some wine shippers say right on their web sites that they don't ship to PA. Look for that. The Wine Buyer is in Jersey, offers a nice selection, has good sale items, and ships to PA. (thewinebuyer.com) Arlington Wine is in NY. They recently had an item not available in PA or many other places and they ship into PA. They may deal in more speciality items. arlingtonwineandliquor.com
              Both places seem to offer pretty good service by 'phone or email.

              2 Replies
              1. re: yayadave
                navinr75 Aug 5, 2007 04:29 PM

                Shipping via the PA LCB from a winery isn't worth it at all. From their website:

                The Direct Wine Shipper will have a shipping charge, and must add a $4.50 handling fee, Pennsylvania's 18% liquor tax, 6% sales tax (and 1% sales tax in Philadelphia & Allegheny counties).

                screw them. Love how they act like they are doing us a favor when the Supreme Court has basically said they can't restrict the sale of wine.

                1. re: yayadave
                  zin1953 Aug 7, 2007 08:18 AM


                  Pennsylvania, being a "control" state, makes it ILLEGAL for companies outside the state of Pennsylvania to ship directly to consumers inside the state. See http://wi.shipcompliant.com/WhoShipsW...

                  That said, I have no doubt that places like the Wine Library DO ship into PA, but they need to have a PA business address from which they can ship (to do it legally) or you the consumer risk the state confiscating the shipment and/or fines and arrest (under the strict letter-of-the-law!).

                  It wasn't all that long ago that the Attorney General threatened UPS with siezing its entire Texas fleet of trucks because he had proof -- paraphrasing here -- it was being used as a part of a criminal conspiracy to ship alcohol to citizens of Texas from out-of-state retailers in violation of Texas law.

                2. m
                  munchie1 Aug 9, 2006 05:50 PM

                  Sam's in Chicago, IL is very good.Huge selection in all price ranges.Don't know about the shipping restrictions to PA though.

                  1. waitress Aug 10, 2006 02:06 AM

                    Straight from the wineries is a great place to start and

                    Carolina Wine Company

                    1. t
                      tomself Sep 7, 2006 02:24 PM

                      My family all buy from Groezinger's in Yountville, CA (Napa Valley). They ship to us in AL, VA & DE. Run by two young guys who are fairly well connected. Will hold shipments until you are ready. They send out a newsletter monthly. Don't be put off by their irreverent style. Great to work with.


                      1. l
                        liverfail Sep 13, 2006 04:58 AM

                        http://www.bevmax.com has a very good selection, but I don't know if they deliver to PA.

                        1. s
                          Scottydog Sep 14, 2006 07:31 AM

                          The Wine Club in Santa Ana, CA is my favorite. As above, I don't know if they can ship to PA.

                          1. m
                            Marco Sep 15, 2006 04:35 PM

                            PJwine.com in NYC

                            1. o
                              OTChowHound Sep 15, 2006 11:48 PM

                              Best Deal, hands down:

                              Sometimes good:

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: OTChowHound
                                tito Mar 23, 2012 05:31 PM

                                Agreed on WTSO.....they shipped be a case of the wrong wine and when I notified them of the error they sent me the correct wine OVERNIGHT and told me to keep the other wine at no charge!!!

                                Now that is what I call above and beyong customer service!

                                1. re: tito
                                  wally Mar 23, 2012 10:08 PM

                                  Were the wines in good condition in all cases, no oxidation, or heat damage?

                                  1. re: wally
                                    jlbwendt Mar 24, 2012 08:40 AM

                                    The one time out of a dozen I got bad wine from WTSO it was just crappy wine, not a shipping issue. It was an unknown PN that almost tasted like raspberry vinegar. They refunded my money, no questions asked, and the "wine" went down the drain.

                                  2. re: tito
                                    Stuartmc910 Apr 23, 2012 09:34 AM

                                    I buy almost 95% of my wines from WTSO. Not only are the prices great, in addition to no tax to NYS or shipping, but they donate a case of good mixed wines to my charity auction. Nice people.

                                2. t
                                  tom porc Aug 6, 2007 02:49 AM

                                  Looking at winelibrary and the wine buyer websites both say they dont ship to PA and yet people say they will ship to PA with no problems. So I wouldnt count on the website but call for confirmation on their actual shipping before ordering online. If you order from NJ and live in the eastern/central part of PA the wine arrives the next business day according to their shipping chart.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: tom porc
                                    Marilyn Aug 7, 2007 07:35 AM

                                    The Wine Library no longer ships to PA. You can order online which helps to speed up your checking out when you get there.

                                    1. re: Marilyn
                                      tom porc Aug 8, 2007 02:30 AM

                                      They must have been threatened.

                                      1. re: tom porc
                                        Marilyn Aug 8, 2007 01:46 PM

                                        Yep something happened, as of the beginning of this year they were
                                        still shipping to PA.

                                    2. re: tom porc
                                      Bill Hunt Mar 21, 2012 09:45 PM

                                      Amazing what one can read on the Internet. Many claim that they can do BYOB on Maui, when the laws of that county forbid such. Many claim that they can ship to any state, though some are forbidden. I just guess that many people have a "cousin Vinny," and are not subject to the same laws, as us mere mortals?

                                      Personally, I would check with the actual retailers, rather than rely on what you read. Just not sure how accurate some of that "stuff" really is.

                                      Good luck,


                                    3. p
                                      pblumb Aug 8, 2007 07:46 PM

                                      I've used Wine Library and Wine Exchange (winex.com) - both have competitive pricing and good selection.

                                      1. c
                                        cmalloy Mar 21, 2012 08:48 AM

                                        I like to get wine from www.dabblewine.com

                                        They offer great daily deals with nationwide shipping and free West Seattle delivery!

                                        1. Longing for Italy Mar 24, 2012 07:50 AM

                                          A late response to an old post, but WineAccess delivers to PA. I've been generally pleased by their service. They often offer wines I can't get in Ohio, Michigan, or KY and they'll work with you about delivery schedules.

                                          1. m
                                            mhujazz Aug 31, 2012 01:43 PM

                                            www.jjbuckley.com ships to Pennsylvania, and they offer free wine storage for up to 6 months during the summer.

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