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Friday, Dec. 12, 2008
A guide to buying your wine online in Japan
If you are looking for the best site to find a bargain, this is the place to go. Enoteca imports wine directly to Japan, so you can avoid heavy in-store price markups. Free shipping is offered on selected items, and if you add these bottles to your order, the entire delivery becomes free of charge. The range covers just about every winemaking region around the globe but has an emphasis on France. If you are throwing a Christmas bash, Enoteca has an excellent deal on a mixed case of party wine: 12 bottles go for just ¥9,500 (that's about ¥792 a bottle).
If you are a Pinophile you are going to love this site specializing in wines from Oregon and Washington. ORCA's portfolio is broad, stocking both exclusive boutique wines and more reasonably priced bottles, and wine searches can be conducted to suit your wallet by entering the price range you are looking for. Founder Jeff Renshaw comes from a family of winegrowers in Washington State and his expertise comes through in the detailed tasting notes that accompany wines. As well as being strong on Pinot Noirs, the site has excellent Rieslings and Gewyrztraminers, which are well suited to the cool climates of these states. If you're keen to learn more about wine, ORCA regularly puts on a variety of events such as tastings and special dinners.
This German wine-merchant has a history in Japan stretching back to 1974. It provides a good selection of wine from Europe with an emphasis on German wines and a strong selection of French wines. Its search engine is one of the most comprehensive around, allowing you to search via price, name, region or vintage. If you'd like to improve your wine education, check out the news section profiling a grape variety and winery each month.
Le Petit Tonneau
This site will appeal to foodies with its unusual search engine that suggests wines based on customers preferred wine taste. There is also a food and wine pairing tab, though this part of the site is in Japanese only. Run by the restaurant chain of the same name, Le Petit Tonneau focuses on wines from the South of France and is a great introduction to those interested in tasting wines of lesser-known regions in that area in addition to covering the well-worn territories of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhone.