What to Consider Before Buying Wine by the Case
First off…wine by the case is a yes all around. But there are a few things to consider before buying wine by the case. Will it be for a wedding or a holiday? Will it be for your own private consumption? Or will you be cellaring it?
What is the wine for?
Obviously, the wine bottles will be consumed by someone eventually. But which wine you choose should depend on how long you will be keeping it for.
Here are some great reasons to buy wine by the case:
- Add to your wine collection- Or to start your wine collection. Buying a case of wine is a great way to add some wine to your collection and fill your wine racks. It can be a struggle to start collecting wine when you only have one or two bottles of wine at hand…they seem to disappear suspiciously fast and then you are left with empty racks again.
- Wedding or Holiday– Celebrations always call for good wine. Buying wine by the case(s) will ensure that you have plenty of wine for everyone. Whether it be a large wedding or a simple family holiday. Awkward holidays at your in-laws? Bring a mixed case of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and become an instant favorite.
- Gifts- I hate buying people gifts. I never know what to get people and I hate buying material items that people may or may not use. Wine, however, is gold. You can never go wrong with giving people wine. It’s the perfect gift for Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, and anniversaries. They will always look forward to your gift because they know they will enjoy it.
- Case discount- Did you know that most wine stores give you a 10% case discount? Some even do it by the half-case. This goes for tasting rooms, wine and liquor stores, and grocery stores. Call ahead of time to see which places give you the best discount. Most places allow you to do mixed-cases as well so it doesn’t need to be all the same wine. There are perks for wines at all price points, but we can all appreciate a good discount.
- Because you love the wine- We have all come across a bottle of wine that we fell in love with only to never be able to find it again. Or maybe the next vintage of that Napa Merlot just wasn’t as good. If you find a wine that you absolutely love, just remember that it won’t be around forever. Eventually, the vintage will become sold out and you will be left without your favorite Bordeaux. You may be disappointed by the next vintage because vintages can vary widely. If you find a wine you really love; just by a case so you know you can enjoy it longer.
Even with a discount, buying wine by the case can be expensive- Look for sales
I am not always a fan of sale wines for many reasons. However, there are a few instances when you can get great wine for great deals. But be buyer aware that many sale wines are not good quality. Before buying a wine that is on sale, consider a few things.
How old is the vintage? Does the varietal age well? Many sale wines are wines that have just not sold well. or the wine is faulted. If you see a Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine from 2009…pass. Some wines do not age well. If you see a new wine that is on sale…pass. This is probably faulted.
Find a happy medium. If you see a popular wine that you have tried before and liked and it is now on sale, then go for it. They are probably just making room for a new vintage. One of my favorite go-to wines is the Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. It is normally $18 and was on sale for $13! I already think that it’s a good price for the quality of the wine. Needless to say, I went to all three stores they had in town and bought them out.
Inspect the bottle. Check the cork to make sure wine isn’t seeping out and that it doesn’t look dry. This can be an indication of a major fault.
Keep in mind that you won’t normally get a case discount for sale wines. But if you like the wine it can be a steal!
Ask the employee at the wine shop why they have the wine on sale. They will (hopefully) be honest with you. Are they trying to make more room on the shelves for new wineries? Are they making room for a new vintage of the same wine? Is the wine faulted? Or has it just not sold well? Know what you are getting before buying that case of Burgundy.
What if they don’t have enough of my favorite wine to buy a case?
What if they only have ten bottles of the wine I want? Or what if the wine I bought last month is no longer there?
Ask the manager or purchaser if they can put in a special order for you. Most often they will be happy to do so.
Even better yet…you may be able to special order a wine that they don’t normally carry at all. Stores have a huge wine list that they can choose from. Ask them if your favorite wine is on that list. If so, order it by the case. If they see that there is a demand for it they may carry it eventually as well. The vendor may or may not charge you a fee for a special order case.
Buy a wine that ages well
If you are buying wine for a wedding, holiday, or you know that you will go through this case within a year or so, then you don’t have to worry about buying a wine that ages well. However, if you are looking to add to your wine collection than be sure to get a wine that will get better with time.
Buy a bottle and try it first before committing to a case. Most red wines are good for aging. Aromatic wines like Riesling and oaked white wines are also good for aging. Whether the wine is certified organic or made conventionally, if you have any doubts about its ability to age; contact the winery.
Buy your wine online (or in-person) directly from the winery
Another option is to buy your wine online or in-person directly from the winery. Most wineries ship to a large variety of states. This is a great option for those who love their boutique wineries and for those looking for the best wine experience.
Buying directly from the tasting room also allows you to do a wine tasting. You can try different wines before buying. The employee at the tasting room is also a great resource. Ask questions! The employee is likely a sommelier or at least has a lot of knowledge about their wines. They will know which wines are aging well and how long they should be aged. They can also let you know about food pairings.
Keep in mind that shipping costs can be expensive, so if you are able to get it from a local store then do that. Save the online ordering for wines that you cannot get locally. Check to see whether or not the manager or purchaser can order the wine for you from their vendor first. You will most likely not be charged an extra fee with them and this will allow you to skip the costly shipping fee of ordering online.
This is also a great option for those who love to support small business directly. Buying directly from the winery is a great way to support the winemaker, viticulturalists, vineyard workers, and tasting room staff.
Tip: For better discounts, join a wine club!
If you are a bargain shopper; joining a wine club may be a great option for you.
Direct wine clubs can become expensive but online wine clubs are in a better price range and have more types of wine to choose from. You can also customize your wine club experience. Getting a couple bottles or a case by the month.
There are also options to stick with certain wine regions or varietals.
Winery wine clubs
Joining a wine club at the winery itself can give you up to 20% off of cases! This is a great deal on high-end and high-quality wines.
You don’t have to live near the winery either. Most places ship to quite a few states. But there are also more perks for those who are able to go to the winery.