Direct to consumer wine

Online wine sales, from online wine stores and wineries, increased the past decade-plus. Then came COVID. Online wine sales mushroomed.

Today, 45 sensible states and the District of Columbia allow direct-to-consumer (DtC) sales. Wineries shipped more than $3.2 billion worth of wine directly to consumers in 2019, according to a report by Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics.

The numbers will be significantly higher in 2020. Wine sales in general are up 200% or more. Some online sellers report year-over-year increases of 500 to 800%. The COVID event eventually will pass, but the impact on DtC wine sales likely will be lasting.

DtC advantages are many: Access to wine you could never, ever purchase at a neighborhood store. Curated bottles from wine clubs. Economic salvation for small wineries with no access to mass distributors. Freedom for you to search and explore the almost infinite world of wine.

DtC is particularly important to smaller producers and essential to the success of emerging wine producing regions and wineries. Many Texas wineries depend heavily on tasting room sales plus DtC sales through their wine club and online orders. Their small production means the nation’s mega-distributors—Republic and Glazer’s, for instance—don’t even take their phone calls. DtC gives you access. Gives them customers.

If you are for the little guy, for exceptional quality, for the family artisanal producer battling Goliath wine factories, cheer on DtC.

If you sadly live in one of the five troglodytic states that prevent DtC, shame on your state and you have my sympathy. In the land of the free and home of brave wine drinkers, we should be free to purchase quality wine directly from people who produce quality wine. Stand up for freedom and DtC, America.

BTW: to my Texas readers, celebrate we are a spearpoint in sensible DtC laws.

Tasting notes:

• Grape Creek Vineyards Grand Rouge Red Texas Wine 2018: Those into sweeter reds will find an easy drinking safe harbor here. $26 Link to my review

• Domaine Anderson Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2015: Subtle, gracious flavors. Audrey Hepburn, not Marilyn Monroe wine. $40-47 Link to my review

• Bending Branch Winery Malbec, Newsom Vineyards, Texas High Plains 2016: Elegant; another reason to take Texas wine seriously. $44 Link to my review

• Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve Red Wine, Napa Valley 2016: Smooth, delicious; tapestry of tastes from classic Bordeaux grapes. $55-65 Link to my review

Last round: Warning: If you knock over mommy’s wine, she will take all the marshmallows out of your Lucky Charms.