The UK’s Independent Wine Merchant of the Year and ‘sister’ of The Sunday Times Wine Club, Laithwaites exist to enable wine lovers to buy wine direct from the winemakers themselves, thus cutting out the middle man so that Laithwaites customers can enjoy the best tasting wines at the best prices. With a plethora of flavoursome wines to select from, novice and experienced wine lovers alike can sample spectacular wines straight from the cellar. Begun some forty years ago and originally known as Bordeaux Direct, the change in name reflects the global extension of this online wine merchant with its ongoing world wide wine making projects located in the Dordogne, in the vineyards of Bordeaux and selective cellars in Australia. With a passion for discovering new wines, to date Laithwaites have put in excess of 53 new wines ‘on the map,’ having tasted over 30,000 wines in the last year. With committed award-winning staff, business gifts and gift vouchers, the chance of attending various wine events, plus the option of enjoying premiere membership, Laithwaites is an essential site for wine lovers everywhere.
Range of Products
With wines supplied by Direct Wines Ltd, Laithwaites’ impressive wide ranging wines include classical favourites of Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir for the reds and Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Riesling and Grenache for some refreshing whites as well as vibrant New World wines, not forgetting selective sparklers and Champagnes. Special offers abound, especially for new customers who can take advantage of the half price Introductory Mixed Case for £39.99 (which equates to £3.34 a bottle) whilst other bargains include the Deal of the Day and bin-ends that operate on a first come, first served basis, where bottle prices are dropped due to stock running low. Then there are the Web Deals which are exclusively for Laithwaites online shoppers and include combinations of red, white and mixed cases, with all wines being chosen for their character, value and sheer drinkability. The price guide is arranged in to 5 categories, beginning with bottles under £5 and gradually increasing in price up to £15 plus, a category which includes bottles of vintage Champagne from £35 and £38. A wide ranging price scale with something to suit all pockets.
Minimum Orders and Purchasing
The focus at Laithwaites is on purchasing 6 or 12 bottle cases in various combinations, with the idea of saving through buying in bulk. Buying one bottle is a more suitable option when purchasing either the Sparkling wine or Champagne. Laithwaite customers can also participate in Wine plans, where a case of wine is reserved, usually every quarter. The plans are very flexible with the option of changing the wine selected to suit the customer’s preference, with the first 4 Seasons Wine Plan being offered to first time customers at a very competitive price. There after, the 4 Seasons case will cost £69.99 including packaging and postage. All major credit cards are accepted with security being certified by Verisign thus ensuring customers can enter their card details in complete confidence. 100% refunds are given on returned orders.
Delivery Times and Costs
All wines are delivered direct to the customer’s door – or a specified safe place that is easily accessible should there be no one at home when the delivery arrives. Wines can be delivered anywhere in the UK excluding the Channel Islands, PO Box and BFPO addresses. Standard delivery at £6.99 per delivery takes approximately 5 days, with deliveries to the Scottish Highlands, Northern Ireland and other off shore islands taking a few extra days. Bank holidays may also add an extra day to delivery times. There is an additional £3 per case for the gift range to cover the cost of additional packaging. An email is sent to the customer once their order has been despatched. Next working day delivery service is available at £8.99 per delivery for orders placed before 13.20pm on a working day. However, this option is not available for introductory offers or wine plan cases.
Style and Usability of Site
Laithwaites site is clear, colourful and easy to navigate with subheadings and accompanying photos arranged appropriately so that the new comer doesn’t feel swamped with the wealth of information presented. A great ‘at-a-glance’ web page with simple yet precise headings easily reached at the click of a mouse, with choice of wines being categorised by style, price, grape variety or country. A great site to visit to discover the world of extraordinary wines.