While we love the ability to order great wines online just as much as anyone, there are still some immeasurable benefits to having a trusted local wine vendor. Some of these will be obvious; others less so. We’ve found that a local wine vendor brings an important social element into the life of the wine lover. We won’t give it all away in this intro. Here are a few of the ways that local wine sellers are essential to the wine experience.

They’re Knowledgeable.

A good wine vendor knows her or his stuff. They can tell you a lot about the vast quantities and qualities of wine in their storerooms, and they probably (definitely) know a lot of things that you don’t. If you’ve ever wanted to expand your wine horizons, try something new, or learn more about any facet of the fermented grape juice you so treasure, a great vendor will be able to help you out. The best ones are in the game because they love wine. You’re interest and enthusiasm won’t come across as weird. They’ll probably be happy to drone on about wine any time you care to listen. Just ask, listen, and learn

They Are Part of a Cultural Group Around Wine.

When you see your local wine merchant standing beside their little iPad POS, the merchant looks like an individual. In reality, your wine seller is part of a community built around wine. People who love wine love to talk about wine. They love to get together with other people and drink wine. They like to give and receive wine as gifts. They’re all about wine and the people who love wine. If you love wine, you’ll love it even more if you know people who are into it as much as yourself. Do yourself a favor and plug yourself into the local wine community.

They Know About Deals.

I’m not saying your wine merchant is just going to give you discounts, but they might be able to clue you into value items that have heretofore escaped your notice, or sales and opportunities that present themselves in the local winosphere. If you love wine, you know how much the good stuff can cost. But you also know that quality and price do not always go hand in hand when it comes to wine. By developing a good rapport with your wine seller, and differentiating yourself as someone always in search for the best glass, you may find that he or she is willing to show you the best bottles, regardless of how much profit they may make by selling them. This is a great place to be with your local wine seller.

Wine is a wonderful thing. Those who appreciate it become part of a long lineage of aficionados that stretches back millennia. The people who enjoy it the most find a way to make wine a big part of their social lives. It doesn’t mean that you have to drink more. You simply drink better, with other people who love wine. Your local wine vendor can be a great asset in taking your drinking life to this next level.