Small lot, hand crafted wines from vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County
Home / Whining About Wine / Whining About Wine . . . Shipping Charges . . .

Whining About Wine . . . Shipping Charges . . .

Every winery, including me, should be appreciative that you are willing to spend your hard-earned money on our wines. Heck, no one NEEDS wine! (I’m ducking, awaiting the arrows coming out me from the rest of the industry!).

That said, it really blows my mind that many wineries simply charge too much for shipping – so much so that they actually LOOSE CUSTOMERS . . . NOT based on the quality of their wines or company BUT because people balk at paying the shipping charges . . .

I use a third party shipper to handle all of the shipments of my wines. The prices they charge me have increased about 25% over the past year due to increases in oil prices, supplies, etc., and I am okay with this. What I’m NOT okay with is increasing my prices to my customers . . . It’s just not good business in my opinion.

There are many different ways that wineries arrange to ship their wines out. Some have their own in-house fulfillment capabilities – they pick and pack their own orders, using their own packing materials, and arrange themselves for UPS, Golden State Overnight, Fed Ex, or other such companies to come by and pick up their orders. These companies are able to control costs well since they do not use a third party . . .and SHOULD offer very good shipping rates to their customers.

Some use third party shippers outside of their facility. These wineries either a) have to move their wines over to the fulfillment house or b) have the wines picked up by the fulfillment house. If b) is used, guess what – your costs will be higher . . . Once at the fulfillment house, the winery has handed the wines off and it’s up to the fulfillment house to pick, pack, and ship your order. Some of these houses, such as the one that I use, are VERY reasonable, and allow me to offer great rates to my customers . . .

Others are apparently NOT that reasonable (see some recent releases by ‘cult’ Napa producers, for instance) and charge the wineries an arm and a leg – meaning that YOU will pay and two arms and two legs! Is this fair? One possible justification of this is if the winery chooses to send all shipments out next or 2nd day air in order to ensure your wines arrive without the possibility of heat damage. In this case, kudos to the winery for being so concerned about the wines themselves . . . . BUT they should give YOU, the customer, the option to reduce your costs by shipping it in another manner . . .

Now I COULD get into wineries that use oversized bottles and the shipping cost implications of just THAT . . . But I’ll save that for another blog!

So what do you think? Would you choose NOT to purchase wines that you really want simply because freight charges are too high? Please share your thoughts here . . .


3 responses to “Whining About Wine . . . Shipping Charges . . .”

  1. Larry says:

    Thanks for the comments! I personally do not think the 3 tier system has ANYTHING to do with individual winery’s shipping charges to retail customers . . . Period.


  2. Kris says:

    Kudos to you Larry!

    I have definitely abandoned more than one shopping basket when I find out what the shipping charge will be. Everyone has a different threshold for how much they will pay though.

    In my opinion, wineries and other businesses, should search out the best deal and not mark up shipping costs. This should be a service, not a place to generate extra revenue.

    For me, the shipping has to be next to nothing. I will buy a whole case if the shipping is free. And I’ve done just that. So instead of selling me one bottle and charging me $15 to ship – I’ll buy 12 bottles – if you’ll give me a superb deal on shipping.

    But that’s just me.

  3. 1WineDude says:

    Interesting topic and one long overdue for analysis, probably.

    What parts do the 3-tier and state-run monopoly systems play in increasing shipping prices? My guess would be it’s not an insubstantial contribution?