Whether you’re pairing a bottle with a nice dinner in the garden after being sat indoors working all day, or over a Zoom call for a catch up with friends, trying times often call for a glass of wine.
Wine isn't counted as an essential item – although we all know the relaxing benefits of a glass or two, especially at this time – so we advise instead of making special trips out to buy wine, that you order online.
Not only is it a way to support smaller businesses who will have shut their shop doors, it means you’ll barely need to get off the sofa to receive it.
The Winchester wine festival, whose annual event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus spread, has compiled a detailed long list of vendors due to be at the festival who are accommodating with online orders instead.
Many are offering free delivery, discount codes and charity donations with every order too. Consider buying a gift card too if you’ll be missing out on seeing a friend for their birthday during this self-isolating period.
One of the biggest online retailers, Virgin Wines, is taking orders again, after temporarily pausing new orders due to the surge in demand. Although as with many online wine stores, your delivery may take longer than usual.
It is advising a seven-day wait and has limited its product range to a selection of pre-mixed cases of its top wines, in order to ensure its warehouse is running as safely as possible.
If you’re new to the business of ordering wine, here are some of the best to get started with.
You can trust our independent roundups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Online wine shops and merchants delivering
Nationwide wine giant Majestic has announced the closure of all its stores but is accepting online orders, both for standard and nominated delivery. The merchant says you are likely to receive your order faster by emailing your order to your local store who will deliver it to you, you can find your local Majestic store here. Majestic is not offering a click and collect service.
There won't be tasting services on offer for now, but the store has donated the tasting budget to local food banks.
Fine wine specialists Corney & Barrow is continuing to offer home delivery, which is free on orders more than £100, with its entire range still available to shop.
Online retailer Honest Grapes is also still delivering to its customers nationwide. It’s the ideal opportunity to take advantage of getting access to a wine guru who you can chat to over the phone, webchat and email, which is available when you sign up for a membership, starting from £50 a month. Delivery is free on all orders over £75, and the retailers is still managing to deliver within 2-3 working days.
If you needed more persuading, it came out on top in our IndyBest test of the best online wine shops for its easy to navigate menu and food matching sector and the personal touch from its wine experts.
Wanderlust Wines is doing one better and committing to delivering across the UK for free on orders over £100. Its next-day delivery service is not guaranteed however, due to the surge in demand. It imports handpicked wines from around the world from lesser-known producers, so you’re getting something special with every order. It's currently running with a limited amount of stock though.
London and Basingstoke based Berry Bros. & Rudd is another one to look for, it is taking online orders but lead times are slower than usual. It has a wide selection of wines and spirits from regions in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy and the USA that will leave you spoilt for choice.
Another online retailer, Slurp, is delivering too and has free delivery on orders over £100. It's is offering mixed cases too which start from £78, and will be delivered before Easter, while other orders may take longer.
One of the biggest online wine merchants, Laithwaite's is back up and running after it temporarily paused orders for first-time customers. It is operating a normal service, delivering within 2-3 days.
Despite having an urban winery in London, Roberson Wines is sticking to just online orders for now, with standard delivery taking just 1-2 working days. We were impressed with its personalised services and carefully curated selection from the USA and France, especially its "this week’s picks" which recommends vinos to compliment the weather.
English vineyards delivering
There are plenty of English vineyards still able to deliver their goods, including Denbies, Lyme Bay, Ridge View, Albury and organic vineyard Davenport, although many of which are experiencing delivery delays, so next-day delivery services are mostly unavailable. Denbies is currently offering 20 per cent off all online orders too.
Try Hampshire-based company Black Chalk, which specialises in sparkling wine. It is currently offering free delivery for six bottles or more within two to three working days. Tours and tastings will take place at a later date, so you can plan a day trip for when things go back to normal.
The Classic 2015 and Wild Rose 2016 sparkling wines are £35 each. Made in small batches, the classic 2015 is a crisp blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot Meunier while the wild rose 2016 is a summery mix of raspberries and strawberries that would suit a sweeter palate.
Cornwall winery Camel Valley is taking online orders, while its terrace and tasting room remain closed. We’d suggest trying a case of the 2018 Camel Valley darnibole bacchus, for £193.86, for a crisp glass to enjoy in the garden.
In the south-east, Kent winery, Chapel Down has made delivery free across all its products, so stock up your shelves now. Delivery will take seven days and it has asked its customer to be patient, but while you’re waiting for your order, you can plan your dinner around it. The Chapel Down intro case is perfect for dipping your toes into the world of wine delivery. In a case of six for £80, you’ll receive a non-vintage brut, two bottles of Bacchus, a pinot noir gin, an apple cider and a curious brew.
Whether you’re a London local looking to call and collect after you’ve placed your order or are self-isolating in the countryside and looking for home delivery, Borough Wines has plenty of small wine producers and organic options to shop, either in single bottles or cases of three, six and 12. In-store it is offering 20 per cent discount in our shops to all NHS workers when you show your ID card.
If you’re planning an Sunday roast with the family over video call and want to splash out on a case of fine wine, take a look at Bauduc, who makes its wines on its Bordeaux vineyard, Château Bauduc. It’s white, rosé and red are house wines in the restaurants of Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein and Hotel du Vin.
Currently offering free delivery in England and Wales for 12 or more bottles, stock up to see you through the summer. There's plenty of choice to make up a mixed case with, too. We’ll be trying out the Rick Stein collection of signature wines, where a case of six bottles of Les Trois hectares blanc 2015 starts at £66. The dry white is described as gently fruity and aromatic.
Elsewhere, mother and son (Rachel and Rubén) run company, L’Altre Vi, caters to those who have a penchant for Catalan wines. There’s sparkling, red, white, pink and orange wines to shop from, and if you live within 15 miles of Oxford, you’ll qualify for free delivery. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a bottle of orange wine, L'Apical Methodic 2018, from £18 a bottle and made in limited quantities.
If Italian wine is your tipple of choice, pay a visit to Arthouse Wine, digitally that is of course. Its library is focused on organic and biodynamic wines – which eliminates the use of chemicals and employs the use of natural materials and composts during the manufacturing process
Minimum orders of six bottles are required so we’d suggest picking up a mixed case, so you can do a spot of wine tasting at your kitchen table. The food-friendly mix case, £103.50, is a great place to start to get a mix of everything it offers.