Frequently Asked Questions



How soon after I place my order will my shipment arrive?

It takes up to ten (10) business days for many items to arrive in our cellar, and then up to ten more days for shipping to your location. Of course, futures and pre-release items are a different story (see below).

How soon after receiving my shipment can I enjoy a bottle?

You should wait a minimum of least two weeks to allow the wine to settle after shipping. Some people think 30 days is even better—you be the judge! Of course, you’ll want to make sure wine is at its peak enjoyment: either use our wine tags, or call us if you have a question.



Is decanting wine important?

… only if you are someone who enjoys wine.  Seriously, decanting is highly recommended when attempting to maximize enjoyment of a young, full-bodied wine.  So it’s critical for Bordeaux and many Burgundies within the first 10 years, or a California Cabernet under five (5) years from release.  It’s less important for Pinot Noirs and most white wine varietals, but still recommended. The amount of time to decant varies, depending on varietal, vintage, winemaking techniques, among other factors—so please ask us. We’re here to help!

What do “pre-release” and “FUTURES?” mean?

Pre-release generally means a wine is not yet available, but will be relatively quickly, almost always well under a year. The term “future” implies a longer-term wait, usually between one and three years.



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Why do people buy wine as “pre-release” or “futures?”

Often, this is the only way to ensure procuring the most sought-after wines. Additionally, there is usually a bit of an economic advantage to getting rare wines early in their release cycle


Thanks to the special relationships we’ve developed with our local vintner friends, we have been able to procure many wines in non-standard, often commercially unavailable formats. For example, we had our friends at a premier Napa Valley winery custom create two giant 9.0L, hand-painted and engraved bottles of their 2001 Proprietary Red Wine, exclusively for our Sonoma Fine Wine clientele. And, we sourced one of only a few very rare, hand-etched and gold-foiled 6.0L bottles of Mouton-Rothschild’s 2000 vintage!


Opinions are not unanimous on this question, but most people think that the smaller the format size (i.e. 375ml half bottles), the more quickly the wine matures and can be optimally enjoyed.

Conversely, most experts believe that 1.5L magnums age more slowly than regular 750ml bottles. Interesting to note that the most serious Bordeaux tastings prefer to use magnums, whenever available, as they are considered the ‘gold’ standard for professionals.




Through the ages, there have been three primary reasons that decanting wine has been recommended.


First, old wines that have been cellared properly often contain sediment due to the aging process. Decanting alleviates this problem.

Second, and most importantly these days, young red wines (typically big, rich, bold reds) often start off with a tannic, “grippy” structure, that can be quite unpleasant.  The aeration achieved by decanting smooths out a young wine’s rough edges.

Finally, for ambience. Many feel that presenting wine in a beautiful crystal decanter adds to an elegantly set table and gourmet meal.

The action of decanting itself, and the large surface area in contact with the air in the decanter, alters the wine, softening its youthful bite and encouraging the development of the more complex aromas that normally develop only after years in the bottle. Decanting is, therefore, highly recommended. It is often the difference between having a transcendent wine experience, versus a merely great one!

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As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve gotten this far, Sonoma Fine Wine’s main concern is to make sure our client (you) has the best possible experience in shopping for, and purchasing and, ultimately, enjoying, the world’s finest wines. We pride ourselves in carrying only the most highly-prized, low-production, sought-after ‘cult’ wines produced in Sonoma, Napa, France, Italy, and the world.

© Sonoma Fine Wine 2020