You buy beer by the case, so why not your wine? Sure, beer is cheaper, but you can't put a stopper on the beer after you've opened it, whereas you can stretch that bottle of wine over a few evenings. Before you write off buying wine by the case as being a bit too decadent, consider the following points, keeping in mind that only 2 years ago, liquor stores, agencies and other retail outlets sold $7.5 billion worth of wine during the year. That trend has not gone down since.
The next 12 points will show you that it's actually quite smart and, yes, frugal to purchase your wine that way. Whether you're a collector or just learning about wine appreciation, this article will either remind you of the benefits of buying by the case, or will introduce you to a whole new way of thinking.
- You always have wine on hand. Your bestie drops in (or Zooms in), you have last-minute dinner guests, or you want to enjoy a glass at the end of a long day (maybe even in the tub). Whatever the occasion, buying your favourite wine by the case means you never have to run out at the last minute, or have to go without altogether (whaaaat?).
- You save money. Yes, that's right. How many times have you detoured to the wine store on the way home, or on your way to a dinner party? It seems innocuous enough, but if you add it up, you would probably be shocked to discover how many kilometres you burn up just getting to the store, never mind the over payment that we're inclined to do when doing panic purchases. Plus, some wines come in cases of six, so the investment isn't as high as you might think. And gift giving? Well, check out #6 on our list.
- You take the guesswork out of "what to bring?" If I had to log the number of hours I've found myself staring at a wall of wine, debating, discussing, and changing my mind 12 times over, I'd probably match the time it takes to earn a degree. Ok, maybe knit a sweater. Still, I'm a creature of habit. When I find one I love, I tend to stick with it - and introduce all my friends to it. I'd much rather grab one of my favourites out of the case, then head over to the dinner party and spare myself the dreaded pit stop.
- You look pretty savvy to friends and family. When you're buying directly from a wine agent, there's a very good chance your new favourite isn't available on the shelves but likely in restaurants (where a sommelier, or other expert picked it for their restaurant). It also means that your agent has sourced this particular wine-maker, so there's an even greater chance that you're getting a gem.
- No disappointment that it's out of stock. When you find a wine you love, nothing is more disappointing than finding out it's out of stock when you try to pick it up again. Like items in a big box store, if you don't buy it when you see it, it's often gone when you try to replenish. When you build a relationship with your wine agent, they can keep you posted and well-stocked. They can also recommend other wines that fit your taste profile.
- Gift giving made easy. When you give something you love, the gift is that much more significant to the recipient. Having a swell-stocked cellar or cooling unit can serve you amazingly well when birthdays and major holidays roll around. Plus, if your wine isn't available on the shelves, the recipient doesn't know what you paid for it (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
- No surprises...or disappointments for your taste buds. How many times have you purchased a wine off the shelf only to be sorely disappointed after the first (or second, or third) sip? Sometimes our taste profile simply doesn't match those of critics. Good wine agents let you try before you buy. If it doesn't suit, the good agents allow you to return it. Keep an eye on your favourite agent's tasting schedules.
- Your own personal wine valet. A great wine suggestion is only a phone call away. Your relationship with your wine agent is the same as the one you have with your butcher, or your jeweller, for example. They get to know you, your tastes and can make suggestions based on your needs and budget.
- Convenient. It doesn't get much easier than this: you pick your wines online, you place your order, it's delivered to your home, you're set for the season. BOOM! Mic drop.
- Budget friendly. Wine purchases are one of those expenses that can creep up on us when we're not looking. Our disposable income might not notice a $200-$300 deficit when it's split over 5 to 10 charges in a typical month. When buying wine by the case, you have a fixed cost that you can fit into your regular food expenses. No surprises, and it's easier to control your spending.
- The Storage Factor. How many food items actually get better with time? If you store your wines in a cool place, you can enjoy it for years to come. Make sure you check with your wine agent to find out what wines can be enjoyed now, stored for later, or both. The beauty of many wines is that they take on a life of their own and can become more complex and nuanced with time. That 2012 you tried when it was first released can be a completely different wine today.
- Party Planning Made Easy. You're hosting a holiday dinner, a bachelorette, a larger event - no matter the occasion, buying wine by the case and having it delivered checks off a very big item off your "to do" list. PS. Don't forget your Special Occasion Permit.