Frequently Asked Questions

Getting in Touch

To get in touch electronically, please fill out our Contact Us form. For Retail Sales inquiries (only) please email us at

To reach us by phone between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, call (415) 319-9000.  

Or, if you know the department you'd like to reach, you can call them directly at the following numbers:

Retail Sales & Shipping

(415) 319-9770 General Sales Inquiries
(415) 319-9780 Web Sales
(415) 319-9785 Retail Shipping

Wholesale Sales & Shipping

(310) 804-5575 California Wholesale Sales 
(415) 319-9701 National and California Wholesale Operations 




Our Company

Our team is available by phone and e-mail Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST. Please give us a day's notice if you would like to pick up wine from our office. 


Our retail division sells wines to any consumer over the age of 21.

To place an order please Contact Us.

By placing an order for wine, you warrant that you are at least 21 years of age, and that you will be responsible for the shipment of this wine being signed for and received by a person at least 21 years of age. You will also warrant that it is legal for wine to be shipped to your address.

Our California wholesale division sells wines to stores and restaurants in California. If you are such a business, please contact us as follows:

Northern California: Vinifera Wine Marketing, (415) 921-4737

Southern California: Grapevine Wine Co., (310) 792-9463

You may also contact our Western Regional Wholesale Manager, Anthony Anselmi at or (310) 804-5575.

Our national wholesale division has wholesale distributors in approximately 35 states (including all the largest U.S. wine markets outside of California). If you are a restaurant or retail store looking outside California, see our Wholesale Distributor List to find a distributor in your state. 


The fastest way to subscribe is to fill out this form. To unsubscribe, Contact Us. In the future, you'll be able to login to your account update your mailing preferences.


Please click on the following links for a full version of each document. Privacy Policy & Terms of Sale.


Placing an Order

To place an order by phone please give us a call at (415) 319-9000 during our normal business hours, Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time. You can also order online by adding items to your shopping cart. If you're having trouble with ordering on our site, or would like to inquire about an item that you don't see on the site, please Contact Us.


In order to place an order you must create an account. Signing up is quick and simple. Just fill out our short registration form with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and password. Sign up here.


When you place an order on our website or via email, we'll always send you a note letting you that we've received and acknowledged your order. Our acknowledgment of your order does not mean that your order has been confirmed.

Orders by email are entered in the sequence in which they are received.

Requests via the website are entered immediately after you click the “submit” button.

Due to the limited nature and high demand for our wines, there is a chance that orders may be placed nearly simultaneously. Occasionally demand for one of our wine offers exceeds supply. In these cases, we will do our best to fill your order but that isn't always possible.

Regardless of how an order is placed, it will be examined on a first-come-first-served basis. Once we've verified that we can fill your order as requested, we will charge your credit card and send you an order confirmation.


Our inventory is quite accurate. While infrequent, mistakes do happen, so we always double-check inventory before confirming your request.


A wine owned by the Rare Wine Co. but not yet in our California warehouse is classified as “pre-arrival.”

Some our most exciting acquisitions are offered prior to their arrival in California. These are offered “pre-arrival.” Depending on where we are in the shipping process, such wines can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to arrive in our California warehouse.

But occasionally, the lead time for pre-arrival wines can be even longer. This is the case if we have taken ownership of the wine while still in barrel, a time-honored practice in Europe. Where the lead time is especially long, we will always try to let you know.

During the ordering process please feel free to ask about of the expected arrival date of items and we'll give you our best estimate. But please note that this will be an estimate only and that sometimes there are delays beyond our control.

Please note that you, the buyer are responsible for any increase in federal or state taxes which may be imposed between order confirmation and delivery.


The Rare Wine Co. has one of the finest reputations in the U.S. wine trade for delivering pre-arrival wines. Since our founding in 1989, there have only been a few instances where we have had to refund a customer’s money or offer a substitute. Our exceptional track record is due to the fact that much of our wine is purchased directly from some of the world’s most respected producers.

All other wines are acquired from other merchants and importers who share our standards for quality and integrity, and who are willing to carefully examine older bottles according to our exacting requirements. Many of these relationships date back a decade or more.


All orders (pre-arrival and in-stock) are charged at the time of order confirmation, which happens shortly after you place an order request.

Once we have accepted your order, we require a similarly firm commitment from you to purchase the wine that you are requesting.

Note that we will never send you an order confirmation unless we are sure that we can fill your order. In the case that we cannot confirm your order request in full, we will contact you for further instructions.

Once confirmed, any and all order cancellations are assessed a 10% reprocessing fee.

Shipping costs for orders are determined once you request that the wine be shipped and all shipping charges are made just before or after shipment.

We go to great lengths to make sure that each and every order is fulfilled to our customers’ satisfaction. However, if for any reason, we are unable to fulfill your order, our sole obligation and the your sole recourse is a refund of the purchase price.


If the exact item you ordered is not available, we may offer you a substitution of equal or higher quality, but we never make substitutions without receiving your approval first.


Applicable California sales tax is added to all orders shipped or delivered within the state of California or picked up from our California warehouse. The place of delivery determines sales tax liability, not your billing address. If sales tax was not charged at the time of order (because we didn't anticipate that the wine would be delivered within California), sales tax will be charged later.

With the exception of New Hampshire, which levies its own excise tax on wine shipments, all orders shipped to states outside California are not subject to California state sales tax. However, all orders picked up at our Brisbane warehouse are subject to California sales tax.

By placing an order and having your wine shipped to you in another state, you acknowledge that any use taxes owed to that state are your sole responsibility.


If the wines are young, and you don’t intend to cellar them, all you really need is to serve them at a correct temperature with appropriate glassware.

Old wines, on the other hand, require special care, such as letting your bottles rest after shipment, using special care in removing the cork and, if necessary, decanting. We not only offer beautiful decanters for this purchase, and special glassware, we offer what we consider the finest corkscrew made for old wines, the Durand. For more detailed information on the care of old wines, click here.



Gift orders contain a packing list detailing the contents of the package without pricing. If you would like a gift note to be included as well, please let us know.


Yes, we do offer gift certificates in any denomination. We are happy to send you (or a gift recipient) a physical gift certificate, however all certificates must be sent by a trackable means so their delivery can be ensured. If you would like to purchase a gift certificate, please click here.


Order Problems

By placing an order with us, and our having accepted it, you agree to pay for and take delivery of the wine ordered. However, we understand that a situation beyond your control may make it impossible for you to accept delivery. If such circumstances exist, and your wine hasn't shipped yet, you may cancel your order for a 10% restocking fee, by calling (415) 319-9000.


We insure all our shipments against breakage (but *not* damage caused by extreme temperature). To ensure that your claim is honored, please notify us immediately upon determining the problem (no more than 2 days after receipt of shipment), and we’ll begin the claims process on your behalf.


Any problems regarding the receipt of a shipment or delivery must be reported to us in to us within 30 days of the delivery date, including but not limited to, a missing shipment or any bottles that you were expecting to receive in the shipment but did not. The easiest and fastest way resolve the issue is to select "I have a problem with my order" on the Contact Us page, but you can also call us at (415) 319-9000.


We work tirelessly to ensure that the wines that we ship have been well-cellared and stored for its entire lifetime, and that bottles are in a condition that we're delighted with. If you open a wine that you've bought from us and suspect the bottle has a problem, recork it without pouring out any more wine. At your earliest convenience, select "I think I received a bad bottle" on the Contact Us page or give us a call at (415) 319-9000.

Under California law, we are only allowed to accept defective bottles for return and may not accept returns on the basis of personal preference (if you don't like a wine) or if you change your mind on an order or want to return a gift.

Given that we no longer have control of storage conditions once a bottle leaves our warehouse, we do not accept returns for any reason after 30 days from shipment.


Coordinating Shipment or Pickup of Your Wine

Depending on the size of the order, and whether the wine is in stock, we try to review an confirm all orders within one business day.

After confirmation, wines are ready for shipment or pickup within another 2 business days. If you have a particular “rush” request, please let us know when you place your order and we will do our best to honor it.


Yes. We offer overnight, 2nd day air & 3rd day air shipping options for all states that we can legally ship to. Please be advised that these expedited delivery services are not available to all locations. If you have a question regarding delivery options in your area please call (415) 319-9000 or Contact Us.


We can oftentimes (but not always) accommodate special shipping requests. If you're in a big rush to get your wine, your best bet is to give us a call. Please note that regardless of shipping method, we recommend that most wines rest for at least a week after shipping, and that very old wines rest for at least two weeks, but preferably a month in order to show their best.


Sometimes our automated system can't find a match for your address. Note that even if our system is able to generate a quote for a shipping rate, it does not guarantee that we can legally ship to your state. However, if we can ship to your state, we will always honor the rate quoted on your order.


We make no representation as to the legal right of anyone to ship or import wines into any state or country outside of California.

All goods are supplied, ex-cellars, Brisbane, California, and must be paid for in full prior to delivery. Thus, all goods are sold in California and title passes to the Buyer in California.

By placing an order with us, you authorize the Rare Wine Co. to act on your behalf to engage a common carrier to deliver your order to you. If you wish to ship to another state, you assume all responsibility for bringing alcoholic beverages into that state. All shipping costs, including insurance, are to be paid by you, the buyer.

As interstate shipping laws are constantly changing, our acknowledgment of an order request or confirmation of an order is not a guarantee that we will ultimately be able to ship wine to your state. If we are unable to ship wine to the state you request, we are happy to work with you to determine other arrangements for you to receive your wine.


It depends on your country. Please call us at (415) 319-9000 for shipments outside the United States.


All shipments that go by Fedex and UPS are repacked in our own cartons that have been expertly designed to withstand physical shocks. And because the safe arrival of your wine is our highest priority, we provide these cartons free of charge.

During the spring and fall months, and for all shipments that will not be exposed to extreme temperatures, we use rugged all-cardboard “green” shippers that have proven through thousands of our own shipments to offer protection from breakage that is equal to Styrofoam.

During colder and warmer weather, or for large formats and very high-value wines, we normally ship in equally rugged Styrofoam cartons.

And regardless the kind of shipper we use, there is never a charge for them.

Shipments that are secured on pallets for long-distance, and then hand-delivered, are not repacked and can be delivered in the original cases.


Yes. We often ship original wood cases separately by ground service. If you believe your wine originally came in wood, and you wish to have it, please Contact Us or add a note in the “Special Instructions” field when checking out online.


Absolutely not. We always err on the side of protecting your wine and reserve the right to delay shipment of an order if we believe weather conditions could significantly endanger the safety of your wine. This may necessarily mean that certain shipping methods are unavailable at certain times of the year.

While we will make best efforts to protect your wine, you are solely and ultimately responsible for determining when and by what method you wish us to deliver your order—so be aware of weather conditions before shipping an order.

Neither we, nor the shipping companies we contract on your behalf to deliver your wine, insure against weather-related damage that may occur in transit, and we cannot accept returns due to possible weather-related damage that may arise after your wine has safely left our warehouse. Except for deliveries in the state of California, we encourage you to select overnight or 2nd day shipping methods during the winter or summer months, in order to reduce the likelihood of weather-related damage to your wine.


We're happy to provide free storage in our temperature-controlled warehouse until the “next shipping window” following your order so that you can take advantage of our low-cost ground shipping.

For in-stock wines, the next shipping window is the one that immediately follows your order.

For pre-arrival wines, the next shipping window is the one that immediately follows your wines' arrival in our warehouse.

Shipping windows are usually March/April/May and September/October/November, but this can vary according to where you live.

Please note that Website Orders marked for shipping will be sent out immediately, unless a “hold to ship” option is chosen.

Space in our California warehouse is limited, so beginning on March 1st, 2014, all purchases must be shipped within 8 months of their arrival in to our warehouse. This assures you of at least one window of good shipping weather during that period.

To receive an order status report for all un-shipped orders, simply navigate to our order status page.

For any wine not shipped within 8 months, we reserve the right to start charging $10 per case per month for storage. This is not because we want to get into the wine storage business. We don't. Our goal is to get our retail clients to remove their wine within a reasonable period of time.


Unfortunately not. Unlike air shipments, carriers never guarantee a delivery date for ground shipments.


It depends.

Your delivery time generally will depend on two factors:
1) Whether your address is a residence or a business
2) Where you are on the delivery truck’s route

Note that business deliveries generally occur during business hours while residential deliveries may occur as late at 7:00 PM As we are not affiliated with any 3rd party carrier, we cannot guarantee delivery times.

There may also be shipping options to your home or business that do guarantee a time window. These, of course, are more expensive. Please ask us for additional details when coordinating shipment of your wine.

UPS MyChoice may also offer you additional options for delivery times.


There must be an adult of at least 21 years to sign for any delivery since the shipment contains alcohol. If no one is available when delivery is attempted, there will be two more attempts made on consecutive business days. At this point you can contact the shipper to make alternative shipping arrangements after the first attempt is made. Should delivery fail on all three attempts, the package will return to our warehouse, and we must charge you for re-shipment in order for your order(s) to be re-sent. Please note: If your wine is returned to us for failure to provide positive proof of age, you are still responsible for paying all related shipping charges.


Unfortunately, we cannot ship to a post office box under any circumstances.


First of all, the person picking up the order must be at least 21 years of age. If you pick up your own order, you will need at least one government-issued ID showing your birth date, plus the order confirmation number. If you are without those items, you may show the credit card that the order was billed to. You may have someone else pick up the order for you, you will need to advise us in advance. They will need the same identification and order number.


Our shipping rates include not only door to door shipping, but the cost of all packing materials and full insurance against breakage or theft while in the possession of the carrier. Estimated shipping rates are provided at checkout based on shipping address, shipping method, and number of bottles (in stock) in your order.

Insurance coverage does not cover damage resulting from extreme hot or cold temperatures during transit. If you receive damaged merchandise, you must notify the Rare Wine Co. within two business days of delivery so that we may process your insurance claim with the carrier.


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