Shipping prices may be the thing that finally convinces me to drop mailing lists

I freely acknowledge I am on too many mailing lists. But I don’t tend to be a huge volume buyer from anyone. There aren’t many wineries I buy more than six bottles from, and in most cases I buy three or four to hit the minimum. There is a lot of wine out there, I don’t like to drink the same thing all the time, and I don’t want to just drink American wine.

Recent shipping price increases (particularly this year) have really changed the math on ordering direct from wineries. A lot of wineries I normally buy from are charging $13-$19/bottle for two or three bottle orders. That is a huge percentage of the total cost when talking about $40-$90 wines. At that price for shipping, basically everything is cheaper retail. In most cases, older vintages that ready to drink now are still cheaper than the all-in cost with shipping.

I will be doing a lot less direct ordering this year.


If you can source the same wine retail for less than the list, it sounds like you’ve got your solution.
I am also a habitual 3-6 bottle orderer, and for the most part the thing that keeps the math working is I split cases with a friend in town. Not sure if feasible for you to find a local wine buddy.


Online retailer shipping prices seem to have gone even higher. I will be a little pickier about my online purchases in general.


Shipping was a major factor for me in dropping many west coast mailing lists. Plus, as you allude to, I don’t need all that many arrows in my quiver and I usually tried to get to a full mixed case to validate the shipping costs.

Luckily I live in New Jersey where local retailers (and a few from NYC) can provide a vast and varied selection of wines to choose from. Plus I should never buy new wine, just drink down my cellar. As if.


The cost to ship 2-3 bottles on a per bottle basis is so much more expensive than shipping 6 bottles. This is NOT to say that all orders should be at that range - but understand that is not always possible. Just understand the economics - in some cases, wineries may be ‘making a profit’ on shipping but in most cases that is not the point. In fact, in most cases, like mine, I am actually eating some of the exhorbitant costs and they are still not as low as I’d like to see them.



This is a good approach and I’ve even had success getting wineries to combine multiple list members allocations into a single order with a polite request when the order went beyond any single allocation .


I got a Marcassin offer last year after not having purchased for over a decade. When i figured it out the shipping costs were about $18 a bottle and jhad to ship it to DC as they reduced the number of state they shipped to. Too much. I dropped Kst
Er for the same reason and the price increases.

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I’ve had a similar reaction @Kevin_Lloyd. I left those lists.

Felt a little bad as some were smaller wineries that I had a good memory finding, but the math just didn’t work.


Shipping just 2-3 bottles never made sense.


Shipping costs for the wineries just gets passed on to the consumer. More times than one would think, the wineries actually eat some cost. Shipping is out of control. And, there is no insurance from the shipping companies other than $100. When shipping your case of Realm at $3,000/case there is no insurance if the corks are pushed, leakage, broken bottles, heat damage, freeze damage, etc.



With some shipping companies, you can pay for more insurance.



I posted nearly the same thing a few weeks ago. Yes, to we small-time buyers, it’s can be a problem on which I am starting to take more [non-buying] action.


Yes, you can pay for more insurance, but not to the value of the product. Good luck having the shipping company fully insuring a $6,000 case of Scarecrow. Typically the winery just eats the cost of replacement bottles when they’ve been shipped and are broken, popped corks, heat damage, leakage, missing bottles, etc.


fyi the carrier insurance covers loss and maybe breakage, depending on how they assess the packaging or who handles the claim. No help for environmental issues. I hit the insurable limit on a package last year with FedEx. I seem to recall it was $20000.


I only wish we could charge the rates described here. But we have competition in Retail DTC. We absorb significant shipping cost to play in this space.


for those on this thread in the business, why aren’t there consolidation nodes around the country where the winery can ship pallets and then broken up more locally for delivery or shipping? or is that more expensive?


I totally understand this perspective.

Just for everyone’s understanding, there are a couple of costs that really work against shipping 2-4 bottles.

First, there is a $7.50 adult signature fee for alcohol. It’s a flat fee regardless of number of bottles. So on a case, it’s $.63/bottle and on 4 it’s $1.89/bottle.

This one is frustrating as well, since through Covid, not one delivery of wine I received from 2020-2022 did the drivers do anything but drop off the wines.

Second, shipping materials. The box for 12 bottles is barely more than a box for 6 or 4 bottles (about $8 for the 12 and $6.50 for the 6 and 4 packs).

Third, for most of the shippers and carriers the labor in handling a 6-pack and 12-pack are the same, so they offer only a percentage discount.

None of that is meant to suggest anyone has an obligation to buy dtc, it’s just the back end financials for a winery.

We charge a $35 flat rate, but to ship to more than 50% of states a 12 bottle case is about $90-95, plus the shipper. For 6 bottles it’s about $60-65, plus the shipper.


This works through the cold chain shipping.

We ship to a Northern California hub for consolidation and shipment via cold chain.

They cost the same, or slightly less, than if I ship from the Newberg Mail Room. The issue is that consolidating businesses aren’t in business to lower shipping prices for consumers. So they charge close to bitmal rates and the temp controlled shipping is the value (until it gets handed to UPS or FedEx for final day delivery).

If there was a big winery shipping co-operative it would probably work, we just need someone to run it….


We’ve had multiple claims for obviously damaged and destroyed boxes by both UPS and FedEx.

So far none of the claims have ever been paid.


I estimate about a 50% success rate on claims under $100. The rejected ones cite the packaging as inadequate. The same packaging that was used in the successful claims. Thankfully, the incidence is reasonably low.