Wine in grocery stores
I have one word to say about wine in grocery stores.
Those of you in other parts of the country are scratching your heads, but here in the progressive (not) state of Tennessee getting wine into grocery stores was a decades-long, bitterly fought battle.
So I would like to make a few observations about wine in grocery stores.
Observation 1: Not a single liquor store I’m aware of has gone out of business or even seen their business decrease. Why? Because it’s still cheaper in most cases to buy wine at a liquor store. And if you are beyond the Corbett Canyon box stage of wine sophistication you also want a knowledgeable person to suggest wines you might want to try. The clerk at Kroger is not that person.
Observation 2: It is silly and makes no sense that you can buy beer on Sundays in this state but not wine. I realize that the forces for good had to make a lot of concessions to get the wine in grocery stores bill through the legislature. Maybe once our legislators realize there are not legions of drunken consumers running down the streets with empty wine bottles they will rectify this flaw. Baby steps.
Observation 3: There are good wine deals to be had outside of a liquor store and a traditional grocery store. I have done a comprehensive survey.
- Costco: All their wines are not price busters. Many are on a par with those sold in liquor stores. But there are deals to be had, particularly with the Kirkland house brand wines. Kirkland’s New Zealand Marlborough sauvignon blanc, at $7 a bottle, is just a tad less tasty than the $13 bottles you’ll find at liquor stores (add another $4 if its in a grocery store). It’s still a very drinkable wine. I know.
- Trader Joe’s: Some fabulous deals here. Their box wines are on a par with Bota Box and Black Box at half the price. I’m also fairly obsessed with their Picton Bay Marlborough sauvignon blanc at $7 a bottle which is better than the Kirkland version. And, Trader Joe’s actually has knowledgeable people who understand the wines they’re selling.
- Aldi: I love Aldi for many reasons but not for their wines. I’ve tried three so far recommended by a couple of online wine blogs and was universally disappointed.
So here’s the bottom line. I will not end my love affair with my regular liquor store, Cool Springs Wine and Liquor, because the wines I obsess over I can only find there and they were introduced to me by their wine experts. If you’re wondering, those include 1448 red blend, Bila-Haut rose and Nobilo Icon sauvignon blanc. All of them are under $15.
But does my dollar cheap soul just revel in picking up a very decent bottle of Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw shiraz for $3.49 (it used to be Two Buck Chuck but inflation has sent it soaring over three dollars), you bet.
Wine in grocery stores has made this state better. Much better. I’ll drink to that.