We round up the best sites for ordering cases of excellent wine to see you through the festive season.

You’ve slaved in the kitchen for what seems like days to produce the ultimate roast of the year. Now is not the moment to let your supreme efforts down with lacklustre wines to wash down the whole festive affair. Happily, there is a glut of deeply knowledgeable companies from whom to buy everything, ranging from the seriously ambrosial (we’re talking the stuff of house-remortgaging), to comprehensive cases at reasonable prices that will see you through the gloriously gluttonous season of good will and glugging. We’ve selected the very best of them here, so you can simply click, select, purchase and relax. Cheers to that.

Christmas Essentials Wine Case, £115.99

Adnams


Adnams, the Suffolk-based brewery and distillery with pubs and hotels dotted around the quaint town of Southwold and north Norfolk’s impossibly beautiful coastal villages, has brewed beer on its site since 1872. Still family owned, it now produces 24 million pints a year. It is covered in awards, and its fresh aesthetic, as well as its hoppily delicious brews, make it a national favourite – though its commitment to sustainability dictates that it has no interest in global expansion. What fewer people know is that Adnams also carries a fantastic edit of wines at exceptionally good prices (both in its pubs and available to buy in its shops and online). We think this Christmas Essentials Case of 12 bottles is truly excellent value; it includes an effervescent Champagne Brut, a hearty Douro red and some beautifully light Alvarinho. Ideal festive quaffing.

The Connoisseur Hamper, £400

Fortnum & Mason


Is Christmas even Christmas without a Fortnum’s hamper? Iconic is a word that is bandied around absurdly freely, but it is actually true of those wicker baskets, their F&B stamp and the promise of the fine goodies inside. We love The Connoisseur Hamper, which is a great, and immaculately presented, alternative to the usual case of wine. At £400 it’s not the cheapest, but the 12 bottles encased within the beautiful basketware have been picked as the exemplars of their type from all the most illustrious wine-producing regions of Europe. It includes a bottle of Nyetimber, one our favourite British sparkling wines, as well as a sherry and a port, without which pair, we just couldn’t quite fully enter into the festive spirit.

Christmas Dinner Collection, £142

Honest Grapes


The honest bunch behind this company has some serious wine cred. Tom Harrow, otherwise known as WineChap, the brilliantly named Charlie Goblet d’Alviella and chairman, Nathan Hill, are all prodigiously knowledgeable and only too delighted to share that committedly accrued expertise with their members, for whom they not only select wines but arrange social events too. That’s why we’ll be snapping up the Christmas Dinner Collection, which is comprised of six bottles to pair perfectly with your festive feast. Even better, there are comprehensive tasting notes on each bottle to guide you through – and to wow your guests with after a tipple or two.

Autumn Favourites Case, £120

Slurp


We love Slurp. Its sole founding purpose was to bring together interesting, excellent wines from small producers around the world at affordable prices (they do go to the higher end of the scale too, but single bottles start at £6, going all the way up to £300). If you’re not catering the main event yourself but would like to bring along a good bottle as a guest, the Quinta Nova Unoaked Douro 2017 is a deliciously meaty option, at an excellent price (£13.95). If your pockets run deeper, then we also love the wintry classic Chateau Boyd-Cantenac Margaux Grand Cru Classe 2014 (£49.95); while our white pick for a touch of something lighter is this excellent Domaine Thibault Pouilly Fume 2017 (£16.95). If you are hosting and would like to order in a case, the very reasonably priced Autumn Favourites Case is a steal, and features two of each bottle (a mix of reds and whites), accompanied with excellent information about each vintage and when to drink it. Slurp away.

Three Best-Selling Wines in Wooden Box With Sliding Lid, £67.99

Oxford Wine Company


If you wish to turn up to the festive banquet like Father Christmas himself, laden down beautifully packaged gifts for the table, the multi-award-winning independent The Oxford Wine Company is a good port of call. We love the wooden boxes that some of its champagne and finer wines come in – if you are able to really splash out, then no one ever in the history of time has complained about receiving a bottle of Krug in a wooden box. But we adore its Three Best-Selling Wines in Wooden Box With Sliding Lid, most especially for including the deliciously biscuity British-produced Furleigh Estate Classic fizz (if you want to go bigger, do consider Six Best-Selling Wines in a Wooden Box). The company itself is steeped in history, having been founded in 1840, when it operated from Oxford High Street until 1914.

A Box Of Bruts, £159.99

The Fizz Company


For some people, Christmas quaffing will eternally be about the big hearty, robust reds. For others, only fizz will see them through the festive merry-go-round. If you fall into the latter camp, The Fizz Company (we do love a business that does exactly what it says on the tin) is a reliably good bet. Do try the Box Of Bruts, which offers a reasonably priced way to compare and contrast champagnes from different houses. Founded in 1999 by brother-and-sister team, Tony Stones and Teresa Barnard, it all began as a hobby after visiting a small family producers in the Champagne region who persuaded the duo to import to the UK on their behalf. Today it is a thriving business. The site itself is a little clunky, but when there’s a cornucopia of fizz on offer, who’s complaining? We like that a variety of budgets are catered for, with mixed cases of Prosecco and sparkling wine also available.

World Explorer Dozen, £96

Tanners Wine Merchant


Tanners Wine Merchant is so covered in awards that its website even has a dizzyingly vast section dedicated to them, as well as reams of gushing praise from both specialist and general press. Founded by a former ship’s captain, William Tanner, in 1872 in Shrewsbury, it has a long and illustrious history, which long predates the wine boom of the 1960s. We trust Tanners and its choices absolutely, and as such, have our eye on its World Explorer Dozen for this year’s Christmas imbibing, which can be given as a beautiful gift, or just ordered in for yourself and guests. There are aromatic Viogniers, and clean and crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blancs to see you through the fish courses; while a plummy Australian Shiraz, or a rich, full Malbec from Argentina will make a perfect partner for the main meaty courses. Perfection. There are, of course, a host of other options available on the site, which we could browse greedily for hours.

Family Collection: Mixed, Six Bottle Case, £65

Berry Bros & Rudd


If you like heritage brands, they don’t come much more steeped in history than double Royal Warrant holder (for The Queen and the Prince of Wales), Berry Bros & Rudd. Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, it has traded from the same shop since 1698; a mind-boggling feat of longevity. What’s more, it was actually started by a woman – a mother of two daughters and a widow known only as Widow Bourne – when she established a grocer opposite St James’ Palace which, in the same year, became the principle residence of the monarch. If you can, we do recommend popping in for the experience, but for those who cannot, its website does a pretty great job. There are some 4,000 vintages for sale, all selected by Berry Bros’ Masters of Wine, which can make for a giddy experience, but the easily navigable site helps you find just what you’re looking for. We have our eyes on all sorts under the ‘fine wine’ category – a 2009 Les Forts de Latour is, alas, destined to remain the stuff of dreams at £1,441.20 – but there are also many cases of six selected for Christmas at affordable prices, such as the Family Collection: Mixed, Six Bottle Case. If you can stretch to more, do browse the excellent Luxury Collection cases. You can’t go wrong.

Christmas Party Dozen, £85

The Wine Society
The Wine Society has been in existence for 145 years. Suffice to say, it knows its grapes. But what we especially love is that it is run as a co-operative, which puts its thousands of members, as opposed to external investors, at the core of everything it does; as a member, you own a small slice of the business, and a result, it never tries to up-sell. But we also love its products, which are seriously exhaustive. For Christmas, we’re keen on the Christmas Party Dozen, which doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel but instead bundles up 12 dependably good wines to give your guest, which, frankly, is just what we want. Tried and tested, it contains the gamut to suit guests’ tastes, from a 2018 Australian Chardonnay to a 2018 Pinot Grigio from the Veneto; 2016 Bordeaux to this year’s Chenin Blanc from Swartland. This is not fine wine – although there is plenty of that to purchase through The Wine Society – but a comprehensive and solidly good way to keep your party guests refreshed.

Rioja Mixed Case, £212.80

Lea and Sandeman
‘A good measure of an independent merchant is how it buys. Deduct 10 points for those who simply ring round the wholesale importers; add 15 for those who, like Charles Lea, take the trouble to scout around the byways of the world's wine regions in search of exclusive little trouvailles... Their strength is in the wine world's classics (of which they have a constantly changing stock), characterful bargains from southern France, Valdespino connoisseur Sherries, and evidence of the Italian wine revolution that is shamefully rare in Britain.’ That’s according to wine critic, Jancis Robinson OBE, writing in the Financial Times. Indeed, the award-winning Lea and Sandeman’s emphasis is always on drinkability and value for money, rather than showily impressive wines. Unlike some wine companies, the website doesn’t feature a dedicated Christmas section, but that’s no reason not to source your festive tipples here. We like the easily navigable sites, which allows you to search for cases specifying both your price point and whether you want six or 12 bottles – and this Christmas, we’d be delighted to take delivery of a mixed case of Rioja. It contains six bottles dedicated to transporting you around the region and demonstrating its variety, from a mellow Ruconias Reserva to the crisp elegance of Sierra Tolono. For fine wines, there is an extensive list, many of which would make exceptional gift for the oenophiles in your life.

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Winerist
Olly Smith
Maximilian Riedel
Simon Berry

By Nancy Alsop
November 2019