WINE BANTER - Shipping Wines for the Holidays
A Gift from Sonoma
With the holidays coming up – it’s already time to plan how to stock up and, indeed, how to share joy with friends and family. Well – living in Sonoma, how about sending the gift of wines from Sonoma across the country? Wine shipping can be a bit of a maze – here are some suggestions:
Shipping wine from a Sonoma County Winery:
A very pleasurable way to ship wine if you have the good fortune to live in Sonoma County or be visiting, is to go to one of our more than one hundred and eighty local wineries. Wineroad.com, 101things.com/Sonoma or the Russian River Valley Winegrowers (www.rrvw.org) are some great websites to get you started with more complete lists of Sonoma Wine Country.
I have written about many wineries in past articles which can also be located in the archives of the Sonoma County Gazette (www.SonomaCountyGazette.com – click GAZ Extra – and look for the Wine Banter Columns). Go visit the winery, taste the new releases and consider sending them as a gift. Better yet, you can buy a wine club membership for so many months. Sonoma County wineries will, depending on their licensing, have the most options in the area for states they can ship wine to. While individual bottles may cost a little more at a winery than even some of our local retail wine stores, wine club memberships and case discounts will normally get you the best price, and you have the added fun of tasting and choosing some of your selections. You also get to spend some dollars locally.
Shipping wine from a Sonoma County Wine Store:
Another way to spend your dollars locally (three times over) – is to buy wine and ship from a local wine store. If the wine is produced in Sonoma County, your dollars will pass from the retailer, to the winemaker and the winegrower and many other local Sonoma County businesses in between. Wine stores have the added advantage of being able to personalize wine clubs with multi varietal and multi winery selections. Not all local wine stores can ship, and most only to a limited selection of States – here’s a partial list of local wine stores in Sonoma County who should be able to help you send a Sonoma wine club gift.
In most cases you will need to buy from the wine store. If your local wine store is not listed, please check with them – here’s a hot list of Sonoma County wine shipping stores: Wine Emporium of Sebastopol (www.the-wine-emporium.com), Wine Tasting of Sonoma County, Duncans Mills (www.winetastingofsonoma.com), Sonoma Wine Shop, Sonoma (www.sonomawineshop.com), Gourmet Au Bay, Bodega Bay (www.gourmetaubay.com), Vine & Barrel, Petaluma (www.vineandbarrel.com), Sonoma Fine Wine, Occidental (www.sonomafinewine.com), and last, but by no means least, my own store… Sophie’s Cellars, Monte Rio, (www.SophiesCellars.com).
Shipping Wine from a third party wine shipper:
Allways Cool of Santa Rosa, (www.allwayscool.com), and Wine Country Shipping of Windsor (www.winecountryshipping.com) are two Sonoma County businesses who store and ship wine for clients. While they will not be able to assist you in your purchases, they will likely be able to help you ship wine you have already purchased elsewhere as it is no longer possible to purchase wine and ship it via the regular UPS, Fedex offices or US mail.
Take it with you
Often forgotten, but if you are flying to your relatives and friends for the holidays, many airlines still allow two checked pieces of luggage per person. Check ahead with your airline – but a case of wine, normally weighs in at around thirty-six pounds (three pounds per bottle) and the box for a case of twelve will measure roughly 18” x 13” x 16” – it may cost you absolutely nothing to take a case of wine with you from Sonoma – apart from the shipping box. Even an excess luggage cost may be comparable to shipping your wine via regular carrier.
I would like to wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving, and hope you consider this time to share some Sonoma Wine with friends and family, I always do…
John Haggard is owner of Sophie’s Cellars, The Sonoma Wine & Cheese Market in Monte Rio, California. Sophie’s Cellars is open 11am – 7pm, closed only on Wednesdays. www.sophiescellars.com