I’m thinking of starting to buy wine online. The Island Shop has a very limited selection and since the lockdown restrictions I’ve decided to limit my trips to Lerwick to every 10 weeks or so. So online buying makes sense, I think!
Obviously I can only buy from sources that deliver to the back end of beyond, so that limits my choice.
A few that DO deliver here are
Any experiences of the above outlets – good or bad?
If you want fine wines, the best way to buy them is on Laithwaites “en primeur” scheme. This is where you buy the most recent vintages before they’re bottled, then after bottling they keep them in their bonded warehouse for a nominal annual fee. When they are delivered to you , say a couple of years later, you pay the VAT and delivery.
I usually treat myself to a mixed case of claret or Burgundy most years by this method. There’s a lot of choice price wise on the en primeur schemes, but to give you a example, I bought a mixed case (12) of 2014 Burgundy early in 2015 and paid £20 - £25 a bottle. I had it delivered last year and it’s drinking superbly now. Those bottles are now costing £50 - £80 a piece.
I used to swear by Laithwaites. Their selection and customer service was really good. Right up until about a year and a half ago.
I received a call from their sales team and the person offered me an exclusive deal that I’d already received in the mail out. I brought this to her attention and her sarcastic reply was, “Well, if you don’t want it then somebody else will !” Whereby she hung up on me.
I complained and got sent a voucher. All fine.
Then she called again the next month, offering me a deal which had expired. I thought this was a good thing so accepted. As it was being processed I tried to use my voucher and she said that the offer was no longer open to me. Complaint. Another voucher was sent my way.
Don’t believe their 100% satisfaction guarantee either.
Over a period of six months, I had accumulated 7 vouchers for bad customer service. Each was worth £20. I bought 2 dozen bottles using the vouchers plus a few quid.
I then cancelled my membership and joined Virgin, as Virgin wines (same company) offer a better customer experience.
We use Virgin for quaffers. We have also used Naked Wines in the past. Some of the Virgin offers are very good. Their customer service and delivery has been absolutely excellent for years. We cancelled Naked because we started to receive too many duff bottles of wine and their customer service wasn’t up to snuff.