Small and personalised service with a carefully catalogued and extensive selection of organic, vegetarian and vegan wines.

The main factor that distinguishes this small, independent UK site, is that it concentrates on offering organic, vegetarian and vegan wines amongst a more general selection. The site is simple and lacks the glossy look and feel of bigger operations, but it is easy enough to use, provides good information on products and offers secure online ordering. Navigation is mainly via the left-hand bar, in the shape of a series of little blue wine bottles.



The Wine List can be accessed from two large buttons on the home page offering the option of entering the "Classic" wine shop, or "Organic" wine shop. Just below are little buttons which will explain the definition of "organic wine" and "vegetarian wine"; both terms are rather loose and interpreted differently in any given country, so this information is useful. Entering either shop offers a list of regions down the left-hand edge of the screen, and just above, a little text search box. Entering "vegan" in the search box, for example, will produce a list of over 50 vegan-suitable wines. It's a bit irritating that you cannot order directly from this list, and prices aren't even displayed: to see the price means clicking on the wine's title and going to another page, and therefore out of the vegan-only list. This is a rather clunky bit of design. Querying the wine list using the little regional buttons takes you straight to lists of wines sorted in price order, with full description and usually a label image (these lists also indicate if the wine is organic or vegetarian). Beside each is an "add to basket" button with a chance to choose a quantity from one bottle upward (though Smithfield have a minimum purchase of one case, which may be mixed). Many of Smithfield's wines are from smaller, less well-known producers, but there are familiar names too, like Pepperwood Grove from California and La Rioja Alta from Spain. Delivery is free within a 25 mile radius of their Manchester base, and £5.99 to other addresses on the UK mainland for a case. Delivery elsewhere is offered by arrangement.



The Service is very personal, and buyers are invited to call or email with questions or suggestions. Smithfield will refund on any faulty wines, or wines damaged on delivery. You may cancel your order within seven days of receiving the goods, returning goods at your own expense.



Product Information is quite good. Every wine has a short description and tasting note, and it would appear Smithfield know their quite extensive stock personally - always a good sign.



The Ordering Process is pretty straightforward. Against each item is a box to select your desired number of bottles and an 'Add to basket' and 'View basket' button. Each item ordered is confirmed by a little pop-up screen. If you choose to 'View basket' you may change quantities or delete items altogether. When you are ready to proceed, click the "Shipping" button to select local or UK delivery, and see the final tally. Clicking "Next" takes you to a personal information screen, and then on to the secure server for on-line ordering. You may also print-off and fax/phone your order if preferred.



More than the Hard Sell? Smithfield also sell a range of wine accessories, and can offer a customised labelling and packaging service for corporate customers. In terms of wine information or entertainment on the site, there's nothing much to speak of. Smithfield can arrange tastings for clubs, social clubs and corporate hospitality functions and you are invited to contact them for details. There is a small links section, and a rather underpowered newsletter that seems to be updated infrequently and of little genuine interest.