FAQ

In this section we will attempt to answer frequently asked question regarding wines and our web site. If the question does not appear please feel free to email service@holidaywinecellar.com regarding any questions related but not limited to; product, purchasing, site navigation, returns, phone orders, shipping, tastings, directions, and upcoming events.

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q. How can the Customer Service Department be reached?

Q. Where are you located?

Q. I asked for my password to be emailed to me but it never came. Why not?

Q. Can delivery arrangements be made—scheduling a special time or day for delivery of Shipped items?

Q. How do I redeem my discount, promotion code, and /or coupon on my order?

Q. When I punched in my coupon/promotion code, it didn’t work—why?

Q. How do I use a Gift Certificate for my order?

Q. What methods of payment are accepted at the HWC?

Q. What is the Substitutions Policy for your Gift Baskets?

Q. Where should technical problem(s) found within holidaywinecellar.com be reported?

Q. Does the HWC accept Special Orders?

Q. Signs of leakage?

 

SHIPPING QUESTIONS

Q. What shipping company does the HWC use?

Q. Does Weather & Temperature affect my shipment?

Q. What if I am not home when my order is delivered?

Q. Do you offer same-day shipping, and if so, what are the requirements?

Q. Can delivery arrangements be made—scheduling a special time or day for delivery of Shipped items?

Q. Is there an In-Store Pick-Up option during checkout? 

RETURNS

Q. What is your Return Policy?

Q. Is it possible to change or cancel an order?

 

WINE QUESTIONS

Q. At what temperature should I serve this wine?

Q. How long will this bottle of wine keep after I've opened it? What can I do to help it last?

Q. Can you tell by looking if a bottle of wine is bad?

Q. What about wines that are "corked?"

Q. How long should I keep this wine before I drink it?

Q. We're having _(fill in the blank)___ for dinner tonight. Which wine should I serve with it?

Q. Why is this wine so expensive? Don't you have something that tastes like it for less money?

Q. How do you decide who gets the allocated wines?

Q. I tasted this great wine when I was in France (or Germany, or England, or Italy, or . . .). I talked to the producer and he said their wines are not imported into the US. Can you (HWC) get it for me?

 

GENERAL QUESTIONS

 

Q. How can the Customer Service Department be reached?

Feel free to email us at service@holidaywinecellar.com , and one of our representatives will respond in a timely manner.

If you need telephone assistance with an order, you can reach our Customer Service department at 888-492-1965, Mon - Sat 9:00AM - 5:00PM.

Our normal business hours are, Pacific Standard Time, Monday 10:00AM - 6:00PM,  
Tuesday - Thursday 10:00AM - 8:00PM, Friday - Saturday 9:00AM - 9:00PM, Sunday ORDER ONLINE & PICKUP IN-STORE 10AM-3PM* 

*All Sunday orders must be placed by 2:30PM for Same-Day Pick-Up. 


-Holiday Hours Vary - Click here To View Holiday Hours

-Closed December 25th and January 1st-

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Q. Where are you located?

Our Store is located at
302 West Mission Ave,
Escondido, CA 92025



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Q. I asked for my password to be emailed to me but it never came. Why not?

Your password will be emailed to you at the email address we have in your customer information profile. If this email address is incorrect you will not receive the email and will have to call customer service TOLL FREE @ 1-(888)-HWC-1965 to have the issue corrected.

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Q. Can delivery arrangements be made—scheduling a special time or day for delivery of Shipped items?

HWC has no influence over the routes and schedules of delivery companies, and thus cannot help you make special arrangements for delivery times.

Armed with this information, we're open to suggestions.

Our Suggestion: Address your shipment(s) to your business address, or to a neighbor who is home during normal delivery hours.

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Q. How do I redeem my discount, promotion code, and /or coupon on my order?

To redeem a coupon or discount code on a holidaywinecellar.com order, enter the code in the field provided during check out. Once you've entered the code, click the "Update Cart" button to see the impact on your order total.

*Some specially priced items may be ineligible for additional discounts.

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Q. When I punched in my coupon/promotion code, it didn’t work—why?

Some specially priced items may be ineligible for additional discounts, and therefore may influence whether a promotion code or coupon takes effect on an order.

If your promotion code or coupon requires a quantity, or dollar amount be met to take effect, any specially priced or ineligible products do not count toward those totals.

Also, please note that only one promotion code or coupon can be used per order.

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Q. How do I use a Gift Certificate for my order?

To redeem a gift certificate on a holidaywinecellar.com order, complete your product selections and upon checking out, enter the gift card number in the field provided.

If you do not see the number, do not hesitate to call the customer service department at 1-888-HWC-1965.

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Q. What methods of payment are accepted at the HWC?

Holidaywinecellar.com accepts payment through the following credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. We also accept payments from PayPal.

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Q. What is the Substitutions Policy for your Gift Baskets?

Substitutions within a basket may be made with items of equal or lesser value, if necessary, to guarantee freshness and timely delivery.

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Q. Where should technical problem(s) found within holidaywinecellar.com be reported?

Please email your question and/or concern service@holidaywinecellar.com.

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Q. Does the HWC accept Special Orders?

ABSOLUTELY! Email us at service@holidaywinecellar.com or call our customer service department TOLL FREE at 1-888-HWC-1965, and speak to one of our helpful and friendly representatives about what special item you are looking for.

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Q. Signs of leakage?

Temperature is the worst enemy of many of our items. Even on mild days the temperature inside an automobile can "push" corks/seals and/or create seepage and messy labels. Moreover, certain "fragile" items can be completely ruined in a matter of hours by excessive heat. Therefore, out of fairness to our clientele, we cannot accept any returns of items showing evidence of leakage. Regarding the shipment of your items, our shipping department keeps an eye on the weather and if, for example, you select ground shipping to a very hot climate, we will contact you to suggest faster shipping or request that you fill out a waiver assuming liability in the event the item is damaged. We strive to make sure that you receive your order in the condition they're in while sitting in our temperature controlled cellar. Similar measures are taken in cold weather as well.
 

SHIPPING QUESTIONS

Q. What shipping company does the HWC use?

All items will be shipped by UPS, FedEx, and GSO.

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Q. Does Weather & Temperature affect my shipment?

Due to the sensitivity of wine and other items, potential shipping delays may occur due to weather and/or temperature. Be mindful of all potential [natural] factors.

If you wish to have the item shipped regardless of the weather and/or temperature, or you are purchasing a “rare” or “hard to find” item, HWC highly recommends over-night shipping. If you do choose to ship after a recommended wait time has been suggested by HWC, the customer does so at his/her own risk and HWC is not responsible for any wine or other items received by the customer that have been damaged due to the weather/temp.

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Q. What if I'm not home when my order is delivered?

You must be 21 years of age to sign for a package containing alcohol and it is your responsibility to be home for the delivery. We often suggest to have a package shipped to your workplace if you won't be available to be home to sign for your package. If no one is available to sign for the package on the first attempt, two additional attempts will be made. You can also contact your local UPS/FedEx office to make arrangements for pick-up at one of their locations. If all three delivery attempts are unsuccessful and you have not made arrangements for a pick-up, your order will be returned to us automatically. At that point, you will be responsible for not only the cost to reship your package, but also the cost for the return of the package to us. If your package originally included FREE SHIPPING, reshipping will not. You will not be responsible for the cost of the first shipping attempt, but you will still be responsible for the return shipping cost and the re-shipping cost.

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Q. Do you offer same-day shipping, and if so, what are the requirements?

Any orders received before 2PM on regular business days will be shipped same day. If an unexpected matter arises (Item is out of stock, vocal verification has been requested, etc.), orders that come in before 2PM may be held from shipping until a later date.

Any orders after 2PM will be shipped out the next business day.

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Q. Can delivery arrangements be made—scheduling a special time or day for delivery of Shipped items?

HWC has no influence over the routes and schedules of delivery companies, and thus cannot help you make special arrangements for delivery times.

Armed with this information, we're open to suggestions.

Our Suggestion: Address your shipment(s) to your business address, or to a neighbor who is home during normal delivery hours.

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Q. Is there an In-Store Pick-Up option during checkout?

Yes, there is an In-Store Pick-Up option. During checkout, you have the option to choose a shipping method or In-Store Pick-Up. Your order will be pulled and placed in our special holds area until you come in. You will receive a call from one of our customer service representatives when your order is ready for you. It's that simple.

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RETURNS

Q. What is your Return Policy?

There are absolutely NO returns on opened bottles.

Once package is received, you will have five (5) business days to ship a returning (unopened) item.

If you, the customer, should change your mind about an order already placed, but not yet shipped, or would like to add or remove items to a preexisting order before shipping, please call us toll free at 888.HWC.1965. If your order has already shipped, and you still wish to cancel or change your order, please refuse the package upon delivery. Since every package requires a signature from someone twenty-one (21) years of age or older, you should have no concerns of the delivery of a package you intend to refuse.A refund will be issued once the package has been returned, less the original shipping and handling charges, and return shipping and handling charges.

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Q. Is it possible to change or cancel an order?

While we try our best to accommodate order cancellations or change requests, the timing for such requests is critical. Once our warehouse has begun packaging and shipping your order, it is not possible to make any changes or stop the shipment.

Cancellation or change requests should be made as soon as possible after placing your order by calling our Customer Service department during normal business hours at 888-HWC-1965.

If we are not able to change or cancel an order because it is already in process or shipped, recipients may refuse delivery if they no longer want the order. Once the package arrives back at our warehouse, a refund can be requested, less the original shipping and handling charges, and return shipping and handling charges.

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WINE QUESTIONS

Q. At what temperature should I serve this wine?

Champagnes and sparkling wines can be enjoyed at 45 degrees, or directly out of the refrigerator. Still whites should be refrigerator-chilled, then taken out 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Red wines are best served at "cellar temperature" between 55 and 60 degrees. A red wine at room temperature should be out in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.

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Q : How long will this bottle of wine keep after I've opened it? What can I do to help it last?

A few wines such as Tawny Ports, Sherry, and Madeira will keep almost indefinitely after the bottle is opened. This is because they become oxidized in casks (called oxidative aging) as part of the maturation process before they are bottled and sold. Because they're intentionally oxidized, exposure to a little more air won't damage them or cause any deterioration. For sparkling wines, use a champagne closure and return to the refrigerator, but don't expect the bubbles to last for more than a day. Keeping still whites and reds can be done in two ways: 1.) by extracting the oxygen in the bottle through the use of a Vacu-Vin or other device, or 2.) by using argon gas (Wine Life or other products) to separate the wine from the oxygen.  Either way, you can return the wine to the refrigerator, but don't expect to get more than 3 days of life from that wine.

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Q. Can you tell by looking if a bottle of wine is bad?

A. Not with 100% accuracy but there are some telltale signs to check. The main culprit in damaged wine is heat. A bottle that¹s been hot may show marks on the bottle in the form of a sticky residue around the capsule, a cork that looks like it¹s trying to push out of the bottle, or a streak of wine running from the capsule. Sometimes this seepage causes corrosion around the edges of the capsule. Any of these signs are a likely indication that a wine has gotten hot. A bottle that has been frozen can show some of the same effects. It¹s usually best to avoid these wines but there is one very big "however." Some very high quality producers (such as Guigal, Leroy, and J.J. Prum) believe that for their wines to age and develop to their full potential, the bottles must be filled to the cork and that bottling should take place under cold conditions so as to reduce any possibility of oxidation. The problem comes when the wines warm up a bit during shipping and subsequent storage. Great care is taken with these wines in transit to insure that they are not "cooked." Unfortunately, as the wine warms from a bottling temperature in the mid 30s to a shipping temperature in the upper 50s, it expands. This can cause some seepage and the appearance of a wine that has been cooked. One thing to note on these wines is the high quality reputation the producers have and the fact that, even with some seepage, fill levels tend to remain very high. These wines are safe to purchase. If you have any question about a particular bottle, ask. You can cause these symptoms by allowing the wine to get hot after you leave the store.

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Q. What about wines that are "corked?"

A. "Corked" wines are not heat damaged wines or wines with obviously defective or leaking corks. Instead, corked denotes a wine that displays a chlorine (like chlorine bleach or a stinky pool) or wet-cardboard smell and lacks fruit in the mouth. These wines are affected by a chlorine compound called 2, 4, 6 TCA or Trichloroanisole that is an inadvertent by-product of cork production and cleaning. In even tiny amounts, trichloroanisole is detectable by people as that distinctive "corked" smell. Some amount of "cork taint" may affect as many as 1 in every 12 bottles of cork-finished wine. Some corked wines exhibit a much stronger cork taint than others and many are so lightly affected they pass unnoticed. Some producers are using mostly extruded plastic "corks" or even screw-cap closures in an attempt to avoid the problem all together.  But even wines with unconventional closures can go bad.  Please be aware: HWC sells library and vintage wines and despite  proper cellaring and shipping, these wines can sometimes show a less than pristine condition once opened. HWC does sell these kinds of wine  in  "as-is" condition and no returns or exchanges are accepted for wines vintage dated 2008 or earlier.

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Q. How long should I keep this wine before I drink it?

A. The amazing but true answer for ninety-nine percent of all wine sold is "at least until you get it home and have it cool enough to drink." For the other one percent, the answer is "it depends." What it depends on is whether you have a suitable place to keep wine. For long term storage, wine wants a cool (Below 50° is too cold, 55° is ideal, over 70° is just too warm), dark, vibration-free place. If you don't have such a place, think about buying and keeping only wines you intend to drink within a year or two at most. Some wines are less finicky than others. Lighter-weight wines often fade quickly in less than ideal conditions. Some robust reds and vintage Ports can shrug off a bit of abuse but even they will succumb to temperatures in excess of 80°. Some French Bordeaux’s, Burgundies and traditionally-made California cabernets  can  improve with age, but  the majority of wines are sold to be consumed  in the short-term.  Remember: many wines die a slow death in a closet or wine cellar, so why wait?

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Q. We're having _( fill in the blank)___ for dinner tonight. Which wine should I serve with it?

In any of its many forms, this may be the question our wine department hears most often. And it's among the hardest to answer correctly every time because there are so many variables. How much do you want to spend? Is that chicken grilled, pan-fried, roasted, smoked, or cooked in a casserole. Is there a sauce? What are the side dishes? Is this a simple meal or an occasion? All these factors bear consideration. The simplest suggestion: think about what the strongest flavor is in your dish and pair the wine to it. Just because you enjoy an oaky, buttery chardonnay as a cocktail doesn't mean it's going to work with a dish feature subtle flavors. Remember, wine is supposed to complement the meal, not overpower it. 

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Q. Why is this wine so expensive? Don't you have something that tastes like it for less money?

Wine prices are driven by two main forces: production costs and market demand. Production costs are determined by land cost, farming expenses, yield levels, winemaking expense, and packaging. Super-premium quality wines cost more to produce than everyday quality wines. They tend to come from the best, most prestigious vineyard sites so the land costs more. To achieve intensity and concentration, yields are lower. To insure that high quality fruit reaches the winery, labor costs stay high and few shortcuts can be taken. In the winery, labor-intensive small-batch techniques yield the best results. Expensive new-oak barrels are necessary to season and fill out the wine.

All these factors drive up production costs but once a wine has made it and is a success with consumers, another force kicks in. That force is the "pull" through the market. Many wineries gradually raise prices to reflect the value the market places on their wines. This price creep affects the best known high-quality wines from all the best producing areas. In this day of rating system-based purchasing, wines highly-rated by the Wine Spectator or the Wine Advocate see a much more accelerated version of this trend; prices continue to rise until supply comes closer to meeting demand at the new price

The net effect of all this is that higher-quality wines cost more and the most popular, limited-production wines cost more. If you want "something that tastes like it for less money," it¹s best to look to new properties and emerging areas, often times from overseas.

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Q. How do you decide who gets the allocated wines?

The problem of allocated wines and the unfair practice by many wineries insisting that a large proportion of their production go to restaurants instead of retail stores has become a great concern. The fact is, our best customers get first crack at allocated wines, but every customer can request to be put on a list for a certain wine.

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Q. I tasted this great wine when I was in France (or Germany, or England, or Italy, or . . .). I talked to the producer and he said their wines are not imported into the US. Can you (HWC) get it for me?

In order for us to order wines from Europe, the producer has to have a US importer and a California wholesaler license, and each individual wine has to have or get US and California label approvals, and the producer has to register to sell his wines in the state of California. We can get a California wholesaler to clear the wines but it's not worth (from a cost of doing business standpoint) going through all the mechanics of registration and approvals unless a substantial order can be placed. Your best bet may be to have friends bring back bottles whenever possible. If the winery is interested in doing business in the US or in California, we'll talk with them but we're not really looking for a bunch of new importer-suppliers as we have pretty good access to all sorts of wines through our existing supplier network. If you'll give us the chance, we can probably recommend something we carry that is a lot like what you tasted in Europe.

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