Independent wine merchants help you to 'be there'

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Britain in the 21st century is a largely virtual world - if you are reading this, it is almost certainly as words on a screen - but independent wine merchants help you to get up close and personal with your favourite beverage.

Writing for Wine Intelligence, Lulie Halstead notes the increasing popularity of vineyard tourism; but you do not have to head to a wine-growing region in order to have a tangible experience.

Independent wine merchants often put extra effort into making buying wine a sensory experience, with free tasting sessions and expert advice about the origins of a grape and the climate in which it grows.

All of this can help to transport you - in your own imagination - to those sun-kissed rows of vines on a far-away continent.

Luckily for us, the 21st century world is much 'smaller' than in generations gone by, and the produce from those far-away vines can be brought direct to your door, rather than you having to travel to it.

This allows you to buy wine online and transform that virtual experience into a real sensory interaction, whether it is the aroma of wine that you love, or its taste, or both.