Let’s get one thing straight: Brick-and-mortar wine shops, beer shops and spirits shops will never go out of fashion. They’re so often community cornerstones, serving as places to learn and gather. But for so many of us, online shopping is a way of life. According to the International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR), online beverage sales for wine, beer and spirits are projected to grow 66% between 2020 to 2025, potentially reaching $42 billion in sales.
It’s easy to see why. Today’s online retailers are more than just digital storefronts. Many offer clubs that give exclusive access to elusive bottles, online classes and more. Other spots do the legwork when it comes to finding the best discounts. And, arguably their best feature? You don’t need to get off your couch to patronize them—everything is shipped right to your door.
To pinpoint the best online drinks shops, we turned to experts from across the industry. We chose to focus on shops that ship nationally, and divvied the list into sections for wine, beer and spirits. Of course, some retailers span categories—Wine.com, K&L, Astor Wines & Spirits and others, for instance, also offer spirits, beer and plenty of other beverages. A vendor’s category was assigned based on the area of expertise for which pros deemed it most impressive.
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Best Online Wine Shops
This is one of many email-based retailers that sends daily specials. Garagiste is “kind of addicting…seductive, or hypnotic,” says Dan Fredman, a longtime wine retailer turned public relations and marketing consultant for brands from San Luis Obispo and Sonoma to Austria and Argentina. Fredman appreciates Garagiste owner Jon Rimmerman’s “eclectic selections interspersed with old standards,” including many under $20 and “mystery” wines that represent major discounts.
“I like to research the background of the wines when they get here, since it expands my horizons immensely,” says Fredman. “But oftentimes, if you don’t act quickly, the wines will have sold out by the time you place an order.”
For Varinder Sahi, the winemaker and owner of Copia Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles, California, K&L served as a conduit for growing his expertise in a region without many international wine shops, even helping him earn a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certification. “My wife Anita and I travel often to different international wine regions,” he says. “As we visit producers, we frequently reference K&L’s database to see if we have access to the wines stateside. If they aren’t [in the database] we buy them at the winery.”
Winemaker Ryan Beauregard, who lives in a remote part of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, is also a fan. “The selection is solid, and there is always a value on everything from daily wines to unicorn wines,” he says.
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Winemaker Ryan Pease, whose Paso Robles brand Paix Sur Terre focuses on Rhône varieties and blends, turns to this legendary Berkeley-based importer and retailer when seeking direction for his own wines.
“From Bandol rouge, blanc and rosé to Corsican Vermentino along with Grenache from the South and Syrah from the North of France, I find no shortage of inspiration,” says Pease.
Bobby Stuckey, renowned restaurateur and Wine Enthusiast’s 2014 Sommelier of the Year, stands behind Parcelle, an online retailer started by Grant Reynolds and Josh Abramson in 2018. They quickly grew into a bottle shop, which opened the same year near New York City’s Lincoln Tunnel. Later, in 2022, they opened a Lower East Side wine bar.