The Drizly Review – Is This Wine Subscription Any Good?

One thing is clear: wine and spirits online delivery services like Drizly are on-trend right now. And you need only look at American’s take out habits to realize this.

At restaurant leadership conference in Phoenix this year, Melissa Wilson, principal of Technomic, a management consulting group for the foodservice industry, informed attendees that the take out business is projected to grow twelve percent in the next five years alone.

While delivery services used to be more concentrated in urban settings, they have found widespread popularity in suburban regions as well. What began as business mostly for American Chinese cuisine and pizza has now expanded at an impressive rate.

As of 2018, food delivery was already up to ten percent, with UBS investment bank projecting and even more aggressive rate of a twenty percent increase in delivery services for all sort of foods and beverages. That’s in part due to millennials tendency to order out more and cook at home less.

Still, it’s not just millennials. While many Americans do still dine at home, or at traditional restaurants, it’s clear that there’s a continual demand for online delivery services.

And now that’s extended to wine.

So where does Drizly fit into this scenario, and is a delivery service like Drizly worth it if you’re looking for good wine

In this review, we’ll discuss the delivery model for wine, how Drizly performs, and tell you whether you should try it or not.

Why are wine and alcohol delivery services like Drizly on the rise?

If you think the answer to this question has something to do with millennials or with the rise of taking out, you may be partially correct. Certainly, the rise of taking out points to more Americans valuing convenience, more than ever.

But it misses another larger trend, which is actually a decline of traditional wine and beer sales. In regular stores, including both groceries and wine specialty stores, fewer consumers are buying. There are a few reasons for this: one is a general decline in brick and mortar stores for certain products.

The other is what is described as a fragmented market, which offers consumers not only an abundance in choices and variety but also improved access to information. In other words, consumers not only want to be able to make their choices in a more convenient way, but they also want to have more options in general.

In the past, individual state laws made selling wine online less viable, but now more and more services are popping up to meet the growing demand for delivery services like Drizly.

Just how fast are online wine delivery services growing? 

Projection aside, right now wine, spirit, and beer online delivery services are growing at a steady rate of about three percent per month; as of 2017 alcohol delivery services grew about thirty-two percent for the year.

Online specialty retailers, such as The Spirits Business are also growing, selling everything from light beer to Merlot and Pinot Noir.

How many competitors does a company like Drizly have?

 Drizly is in good company, to say the least. 10 online wine and beer delivery services account for over ninety percent of the market. Wine.com, Total Wine, Mini Bar, Fresh Direct, BevMo, Safeway, Harris Teeter, Walmart to Go, and delivery.com are Drizly’s most notable competitors.

But Drizly has an impressive share of the market. According to a report by Slice Intelligence, Drizly accounts for just over nineteen percent of the total market, in an almost tie for first place with Wine.com. Its nearest competitor, Total Wine account for sixteen percent, while Minibar makes up twelve percent of total market sales.

How do online wine delivery services work?

As you can imagine, wine delivery is not so simple as getting Cabernet Sauvignon shipped right to your door–but it can be. Individual state laws will affect how or if you can use delivery services for wine like Drizly.

First of all, three states will not allow you to order alcohol at all online:

  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma
  • Utah

If you live in any of these three states, then this review isn’t for you. You’re better off checking our guides on regional wines or red, white, and sparkling varieties.

The other problem?

Not only do individual states have different laws, but individual states can even have laws that vary from different types of alcohol. So you may be able to order Natural Light easily but have trouble, for instance, ordering Chardonnay or vise versa.

The best solution is simple: check the website to see where wine can be shipped. Well established delivery services like Drizzly adhere to state laws, so you don’t have to worry.

That’s also why it’s important to select a well known and respected wine delivery service to make sure they are in compliance with state laws.

Other requirements for ordering wine delivery include:

  • Providing proof you are twenty-one years of age or older
  • Signature of adult upon receiving the package
  • Possible presentation or scan of valid ID upon receipt

To that end, you’ll want to make sure you select a delivery time and day where you can be there to receive the package.

How do you select the best wine delivery service?

Finding the best wine delivery service possible of course is ideal. So before we jump into our review of Drizly itself, let’s discuss some criteria we should be on the lookout for.

  • Reasonable shipping polices. First of all, you need to make sure that the wine will ship directly to you. Next, you need to look at shipping and handling costs. If either of these has issues, skip the delivery service. You’re better off going to find the wine at a physical store and selecting it yourself.
  • Model of wine delivery. There are actually two models of wine delivery services. While you might imagine wine delivery coming right to your door, there are also delivery services that instead deliver to local stores.
  • Quick delivery. The biggest risk to wine, no matter the variety, is that heat or other harsh weather conditions can damage it. That’s why it’s important that the delivery service can promise prompt, and as precise as possible delivery times. There’s an added benefit if there’s any protection against delays in delivery services.
  • Money-back policies. While it’s not realistic to expect online delivery services to necessarily return wine, a good thing to look for is if there are any policies regarding protection against damaged packages or if you receive the wrong item.
  • They know their wine. One of the biggest red flags for an online delivery service is a company that does not seem to know its own products. While it’s hard to tell exactly how knowledgeable a company is–and they don’t need to be wine experts, they should provide tools to make your search easier, including filters not only by price point but by wine region and wine variety. There’s a bonus is the company also offers wine buying guides or any informative articles. Even if you personally don’t need them, it’s a sign they are more invested in the wines they’re selling.
  • Good Descriptions. You should never buy wine without a developed description. Look for the following:
    • Origin or Region. This can be general, such as “France” but the more specific the better. Be wary of any wines or companies selling wines that do not disclose this.
    • Tannins. You may not get a full mention of tannins. If you do not see the word ‘tannins’ look instead for something that describes them, such as ‘structure’.
    • Acidity. Again you may not see the actual word acidity (although that is ideal). For a smoother, lower acidity wine such as Grenache or Viogner, you may see something like ‘gentle’ or ‘soft’ in the description.
    • Body. Again, will some wine descriptions use the word ‘body’ this can be communicated in a few ways. A mouthful, full, and light are all terms that indicate body.
    • Flavor notes. Of course, the number one thing you need to look for that indicates a proper wine description is flavor notes. Flavor notes should make sense for that wide variety. If a wine is labeled as aged in oak, it likely should have some form of vanilla and or toasted notes in the description.
  • Well Known Vineyards and/or Suppliers. It’s fine to give wine from a vineyard or supplier you know less a chance. But if you don’t recognize any wine brands, it’s better to steer clear.
  • Company Reputation. You can check this in a few ways. Look for external reviews on aggregate review sites such as Consumer Affairs. Better Business Bureau can also clue you in on any formal complaints, though it is not uncommon for an e-commerce delivery service, especially a relatively new one (past ten years) not be accredited.
  • Method of Payment and Privacy Policy. These may not be the most exciting details, but when it comes to finding the best wine delivery service and conducting a full review, they are important. How are payments processed, and how is your information stored or used?

Drizly Review: is it any good?

 Now that we’ve established some key criteria, let’s take a look at how Drizly works, and it it’s a viable way to get wine delivered to your door.

  • What exactly is Drizly? Do they specialize in selling wine? No. Drizly, like a number of other alcohol delivery services, does not sell only wine, but beer, liquor, and even non-alcoholic products, including juice, soda, energy drinks, and snacks. Drizly is considered an e-commerce delivery supplier that works in conjunction with more than 100 stores in Canada and the United States. Think of Drizly as providing delivery services, and as a supplier.
  • How does the model work, and what do they promise? The model is fairly simple. You peruse the website on your own, select what products you’d like and place your order. Drizly promises delivery in an hour or under.
  • Let’s talk more about ordering. How does it work? Ordering requires a few steps. First, you must create an account, which requires you to supply an email, password, country (which must be either Canada or the United States) as well as your date of birth. They also have apps for both Android phones and iPhones. From there, you’ll have to add a physical address and billing information.
    • Before you order, there’s a chance to add a comment under your delivery requesting preferences to both the store and delivery driver, which is a nice feature.
  • So Drizly doesn’t order directly to your door? Drizly does offer door delivery through Drizly connect-but it’s limited to two states. However, it is perhaps best known for delivering to a local store where you pick up your order. You might think this would negate the service, but there are actually some great advantages to this model. For one, there’s not too much risk about you missing order and for another, there’s less risk that wine will go bad en route.
    • There are still advantages to this model over going to a store and selecting wine. For one, you’ll likely have far more options. For another, it’s still convenient in that, with proper search filters, it tends to take less time to select.
  • Is there a way to cancel orders? There is a way to cancel orders, and also more than one ordering option. You may cancel orders by logging on to your account; however, you can be subject to a five dollar fee and if the order is already en route, you may not be compensated.
  • What is their privacy policy? It takes some searching to locate Drizly’s privacy policy. Perhaps the easiest way is to Google it, which will take you this page. Effective as of September 2016, Drizly collects the following:
    • The personal information you provide
    • Cookies and tracking information via computer and geolocation and device type via a phone app.
    • Purchase history will be shared with retailers and shipping companies who are filling your orders
    • Basic personal information may be shared with third parties. You must select an opt-out option to prevent this.
    • All payments are encrypted and use SSL.
  • Are there any additional fees or charges? You’ll be charged a flat five dollars per delivery.
  • What are the delivery options? You actually have three delivery options: ‘get it now’,  ‘get it later’, or ‘Drizly Connect’. Gift orders are available for both on-demand and scheduled delivery.
    • Get it now orders are shipped as soon as they’re ready. This where Drizly’s hour or less delivery comes into play. For these kinds of orders, you can only cancel within ten minutes of the order being placed.
    • Get it later orders allow you the same service, but to schedule a time for pick up. For these orders, you have up to half an hour to cancel.
    • Connect is limited to Washington and Massachusetts for now. Connect ships directly to your door and allows you access to even more choices. While this is a great concept, the fact that it only applies to two states makes it a moot point for anyone living outside of those states, though they do plan to eventually expand in the future.
  • How does payment work? Drizly will accept major credit and debit cards, including many international cards, but they will not process other payment methods such as Paypal or ApplePay or cash. You can download a digital receipt, which will be under your account’s order history. A one-dollar charge may be added for authorization from your credit card company. Reimbursement for canceled orders should be effective immediately, but depending upon your credit card company, it may take up to a few business days to process.
  • What do customers have to say about Drizly?

 Here’s where it gets a bit tricky, in that customers are rather split when it comes to a review of their experience with Drizly. You only need look at TrustPilot to see that.

    • At first glance, reviews are quite low, with an average of two out of five stars.
    • The issue is reviews are very polarized, with sixty-nine percent of customers rating it the highest rating possible
    • While the majority of customers are happy, a sizable minority greatly brings average ratings down
    • Complaints included canceled orders, and orders that took as long as three hours–well over the promised hour. These were fairly consistent complaints
  • How do you shop for wine? On the upper tab of the website, you’ll have an option to shop under a few categories, one of which is wine. From there, wine is divided into varieties; there is also a trending section. If you select ‘shop all wines’, you’ll have an option to sort by:
    • Country of Origin: Though more limited from some places than others, you can select from many places of European, Latin American, American, Canadian and Asian wines.
      • Select from United States, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Greece, Austria, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Lebanon, Mexico, Brazil, Republic of Georgia, Switzerland, Uruguay, Belgium, Romania, Moldova, Netherlands, India, Armenia, Denmark, Republic of Macedonia, China, England, Scotland, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Palestine and South Korea.
      • Individual states, from thirty-six out of fifty states.
    • Specialized wine, including kosher and vegan. While there are just a handful of vegan and kosher wines, it’s still nice to have an option.
    • Body, including full-body, light body, and medium.
    • Categories: Red wine, white wine, Champagne and sparkling wine, Rosé wine, dessert wine, sake, and specialty wines.
    • Wine Brands are also a great search feature. Drizly ships just a few specific wine brands, which include Louis Jadot, Beringer, Vineyard Block Estate, Barefoot, 90+ Cellars, and Francis Ford Coppola.

You can also easily filter through results and search directly. Filters allow you to sort by relevance, name and price point

  • What about the wine descriptions? And the wine itself? Descriptions are exactly quite excellent. When you click on a product, you get about all the information you’ll get the following information (which may vary slightly depending on the specific wine):
    • Category
    • Country of Origin
    • Tasting Notes
    • Suggested Food Pairings
    • Full Product Description, which includes hue, prominent flavor notes, and normally finishes and a mention of acidity and/or body.
    • Information about the specific label or brand, which allows you to investigate more about it

As for the wine itself, they are most well known, but commodity brands. That means that many of the wines may come from larger sellers who are not attached to a specific region or vineyard. You won’t find vintage wines or much in the way of reserve wines. While many of the brands are recognizable, the focus is on accessible and more affordable wine varieties.

Is Drizly a good service? 

Drizly certain has its advantages and disadvantages as a wine delivery service. Let’s look at some pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Excellent search features
  • Detailed wine descriptions and product information
  • Impressive inventory, with over two thousand wines, and from around the world
  • Multiple delivery options, including on-demand, direct, and pick up
  • Gifting Options
  • Reasonable delivery fee
  • No markups on products
  • Easy payment method
  • Ability to cancel orders in a limited time frame
  • Carries recognizable brands

Cons:

  • Privacy policy leaves some to be desired. When you can go through a process of opting out sharing for advertising, it is not clear you can completely opt-out. Data collection is not out of the norm but seems more than necessary
  • Wines themselves–you won’t find much in the way of more fine wines, vintage wines. It’s more focused on decent commodity wines that are affordable
  • Only accepts credit or debit cards
  • Very mixed customer reviews, which include customer complaints about canceled orders and delays

Bottom line: Drizly is an imperfect delivery service, offering nice features and falling flat elsewhere.

If you want affordable wine from nearly anywhere in the world and you’re not in a rush, it may be an option. For affordable wine and an enormous selection, as well as an easy shopping experience all around, Drizly has some nice features. The very mixed, and many consistent negative comments on delivery delays and cancellations give us some pause. If you want to try it out, our best recommendation is to order a fairly inexpensive, small selection and for later pick up rather than on-demand.

Further read:

Erin Jamieson

Erin Jamieson brings the latest information to you on wine flavors and types so you can enjoy your next glass to the fullest. In the past, she covered wine selections for weddings and engagement parties. She also previously worked with a private chef company to suggest the perfect wine pairings and believes there is a flavor for every occasion. Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio.

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