Buying Wine Online?

Guy Who Buys Wine Online

But I am. Here’s why.

Chang-rae Lee

In recent years, like a lot of people, I’ve been buying more of my wine online. Frankly, I feel guilty about it, for I abhor living too much in the techno-cave, with all these meager, glowing implements; I love a lively fire in the hearth and snuggling in beside my sweet-smelling wife and drinking wine so tasty that it makes me think I can sing. Who wants to make virtual any of this life’s pleasures? Really, nobody.

Yet we all do: We surf the Net for reasons of convenience, efficiency, and frugality, which are mostly commendable things. And we’re bypassing even the minor pleasure of buying things in person—books, music, and (most irking to me) wine. The picture I would prefer to hold of myself is the fellow who faithfully patronizes (perhaps plagues?) the local wine shops rather than browses some brightly arrayed screen. Maybe you know the type: the oeno-pest who’s in the store every Friday afternoon (does he have a job?) studying the labels like a cryptologist or chatting with the staff about a producer’s vinification methods or a Piedmont vintage’s weather. To be sure, I’d rather be there in person, discussing a wine’s qualities with an enthusiastic merchant rather than passively scrolling through professional tasting notes. And I believe in the importance of neighborhood proprietors (whether they sell wine or house paint) to a vital, thriving community; they’re the hubs of the real social network.

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