42nd Anniversary: History of Wine Insiders

The year is 1982. At the box office, Steven Spielberg and a mondo little extraterrestrial named E.T. are making record-breaking sales. Cool cats are rockin’ mullets and rockin’ out to Joan Jett and J. Geils Band. And totally tubular things are brewing in a primo little spot in Chicago… 

Early Beginnings 

Our journey started in a quaint restaurant over bubbling pots of cheese fondue. Customers loved the restaurant’s California wine list, so the restaurant launched a wine club. The first wines offered were 1980 Chardonnays, packed up in the garage behind the restaurant and delivered by taxi. The idea was simple: it should be easy and affordable for everyone to get great wine. 

Cookbooks and More

By the early ’90s, our growing community was enjoying members-only events like Wine Lovers Weekends and Wine Maker Dinners. Delivery by taxi was gone, as we were shipping more than 35,000 boxes of wine. Our community was really growing, as was our wine list. 

From Fondue to the Future

As we enter our 42nd year, we are still innovating and adopting exciting new ways of shopping—from patented wine recommendation tech to improved delivery technologies. Several years ago, we worked with FedEx to integrate our convenient new pickup program. You can ship your wine to one of nearly 10,000 convenient locations throughout the country (Walgreens pharmacies, FedEx Office stores, supermarkets, and more) and pick it up when you’re ready. It’s the easiest way to get your wine! 

We’re also proud to have improved our curation of the collection. First, we added an all-new panel of wine experts to help us find the best authentic wines from vineyards around the world. Then, we built relationships with world-renowned chefs and lifestyle experts—including Martha Stewart, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, and Chef Ludo Lefebvre—to offer you hand-picked recommendations for wines you’ll love serving to guests and pairing to meals. 

Today, Wine Insiders serves millions of customers across the country and our collection has received 1,600 awards and accolades to date. Thanks for your support in helping us reach 42 years in delivering stellar wine to homes!