- These food and drink subscription services will get you through self-isolation
- Australia's best cocktail, wine and beer deliveries
Not so long ago, home-delivered drinks were the province of partygoers running dry, binge-watchers needing pinot grigio or people who'd rather order online than brave a bottle shop on a busy Saturday. Now? Ordering in is the new, responsible way to buy wine.
We're catching on. At fast-delivery service Jimmy Brings, customer numbers climbed more than 20 per cent in March from the previous month, says spokeswoman Angelina Nguyen. Likewise, at alcohol delivery start-up Tipple, Head of marketing Michael Calle saw orders rise around the same time. "A few companies have also been surprise-ordering for their employees and getting their team on video calls at the end of the week as a replacement for office drinks."
Wine subscription club Good Pair Days co-founder Tom Walenkamp says subscriptions and one-off orders to his site started picking up mid-March. "I don't put this down to people drinking more in general, but rather instead of eating out or going to a bar one or two times a week … These drinks are now happening at home. Paired with a lot more home cooking."
The Hunter Valley's Brokenwood winery is one of hundreds around Australia seeing a spike in orders: "We have introduced special 'bunker' offers online for customers to stock up in isolation," says marketing coordinator Krysten Barros.
At a time when some of Australia's biggest liquor retailers have been forced to impose buying limits, it's worth exploring what online clubs, smaller stores and winery cellar doors will stack into a van and send your way with the promise of contact-free delivery.
Beer, wine and spirits come in 30 minutes from Jimmy Brings. Photo: Supplied
Jimmy began bringing drinks to Sydneysiders in 2011 before heading to other capitals and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. The pitch is wine, beer and spirits ordered via app and delivered chilled to your door in half an hour; the fine print indicates 90 per cent of orders land within 30–45 minutes. It's a $20 minimum order, the delivery fee ranges from $4.95 to $6.50 depending on location and the wine range is big, as you'd expect of an outfit owned by Woolworths: everything from weeknight reds to Dom Perignon.
Bonus: Jimmy brings extras – think snacks, condoms or ibuprofen.
The product range you see when you open the app comprises what's available in nearby independent bottle shops. Tipple delivers to more than 120 suburbs across Sydney and Melbourne for a flat $7.95 (minimum order $30). During ordering you'll be asked to select a date and time window for arrival; a message lets you know when your coldies are due. At most locations that's about 30 minutes, others may take a bit longer.
Bonus: Stock is always rotating with new picks and specials.
Wine subscription service Vinomofo offers great value on quality bottles. Photo: Supplied
You've got mail
With a clever online palate quiz and heaps of online interaction, Good Pair Days is not just an engaging wine subscription service – it offers one-off and gift orders too. As of late March, they're offering free shipping on orders of four or more bottles (one-offs or subscription), and $20 off your first order in a monthly subscription. Orders typically depart Sydney next business day with couriers or Australia Post.
Bonus: Weekly online tasting conversations via Zoom; online tastings with sommeliers on Instagram Live; Facebook group to chat about all things wine.
The schtick is zero "bowties and bullshit", the offer is good-value deals on wine from Australia and around the world. The deepest discounts – often 50 per cent or more below RRP – come from Vinomofo's "black market" range, where the maker's identity is concealed on the website (you find out when your delivery arrives). Minimum order is a three-bottle pack and ships via Australia Post. Orders are a flat $9 but waived for members who sign up for an annual $35 unlimited shipping deal.
Bonus: Orders of three cases or more ship free.
Anyone can order from Naked's (almost) all-Australian online range but the best value kicks in when you sign up to be an "angel" – members who top up their accounts with $40 a month to create a stash to spend on wine at when they feel like it. The top-up helps fund the winemakers who work with Naked and in return "angels" get to buy at much lower prices. Delivery is via courier or Australia Post. At some locations it's free, for others you'll need to check the site's delivery fee calculator.
Bonus: Some gun vintners are part of this scheme and the wines are generally exclusive to Naked.
Handpicked Wines now offers cheese and charcuterie platters with their wine deliveries. Photo: Supplied
Drinks with benefits
Can't come to the cheese platter? The platter might come to you. Handpicked makes premium wines from grapes grown across Australia and beyond, hence its "cellar door" is in central Sydney. For a fee of $15, cheese and charcuterie formerly available at the urbane Handpicked lounge can be ordered for same-day arrival, with a delivery range of 25 kilometres from the Sydney CBD.
Bonus: Orders over $100 come with a personalised video message or gift greeting from Handpicked's cellar door staff, with tips, tricks and suggested pairings.
The Prince is one of many independently owned wine shops around the country ramping up home delivery offerings. The Prince is, however, the only wine shop delivering ready-to-heat meals by acclaimed Bellota chef Nicky Riemer to lucky residents in suburbs surrounding its South Melbourne store.
Bonus: Watch their site and socials for special delivery runs (wine, not food) outside metro areas.
These two are just two examples of retailers getting inventive. If you have a wine store you love and you're not on its contact list, sign up so you're kept aware of new discounts and cheaper or faster delivery deals – maybe other benefits, too.
Stuart Hordern, senior winemaker from Brokenwood Winery, one of many wineries offering special deals online. Photo: Supplied
Straight from the source
8. Call your winery
Liquor barn running low on your favourite? Frustrated by case limits? Go direct to the winery – online or by phone – chances are they'll still have stock and will gladly put it in the post. Many are currently reducing or waiving delivery charges, especially for customers signed up to their clubs and mailing lists.
Bonus: You'll support winemakers who've missed Easter tourist cellar door sales. If you've shelved plans for a holiday in a wine region, consider starting your online winery tour there.