Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wine in Grocery Stores


The decade-long campaign to enable grocery stores in Tennessee to stock wine has ended with a victory for consumers. In the same way that Easy Way produce shops aren't irreparably damaged by grocery stores being able to stock fresh produce and specialty bakeries aren't run out of business because grocery stores can sell baked goods and Charlie's Meat Market isn't closing because you can buy steak from the grocery store, liquor stores will find a way to survive customers being able to buy a bottle of wine from the local grocer.

The Tennessean calls it "one of the most significant changes to state liquor laws since the repeal of Prohibition". The Memphis Flyer has the final score:
Grocery stores got to sell wine. Liquor stores got to expand their offerings with beer, light food, mixers, and more —and they got a year to settle into their new situation. State coffers got -or will get— an estimated additional $13 million in tax revenues.

The religious right walked away empty-handed.

Consumers will get added convenience and, perhaps, lower prices on booze across the board."
It's not likely that folks who really know wine and want that specialty vintage bottle will be looking for it in a grocery store. I, on the other hand, am never in a liquor store. The Husband is a teetotaler, and I don't find alcohol such a draw that I'll go to a separate store in a separate shopping center just so I can have wine with supper. Since it's now available in grocery stores, I've been picking up wine and having some with my evening meal.

Researching the best buys and best wines available on the Kroger wine aisle is actually fun. The Yellow Tail Merlot bottle on the left in the photo at the top of the post was something The Younger Son brought home one day on the strength of the label alone. I don't care for it, and it's languishing in the back of the fridge. The bottle in the middle -the 181 Merlot- we bought on the recommendation of The Elder Son. I like that one and have already bought another bottle. The one on the right -Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon- was one I saw suggested in my online research. It's also good, and I'll gladly buy more of it. I'm planning to look for Ravenswood Zinfandel on my next trip. I haven't bought any of the white wines yet, but I will. I'll probably make Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc my first pick.

Vine Pair has a list of 15 "great supermarket wines for under $15" that I'll be choosing from. The list of 150 best wines under $15 from FoodAndWine.com -150!- has separate lists for reds, whites and ros├ęs, but they have a more manageable list of 25 that looks less intimidating to me.

The Wall Street Journal has a kind of tutorial on how to make a selection off the shelf and includes some specific suggestions including the following:
  • Giesen Sauvignon Blanc
  • Marques de Riscal Rioja Chianti
  • Vouvray chenin blanc
Serious Eats has a Hall of Fame of best wines under $20.

I don't drink much at a time (about 2 oz), so a bottle lasts a while. I do look forward to trying new kinds of wine.

14 comments:

  1. Interesting. I looked at some of the listed choices and found very few California wines. Since I'm often in "wine country" here in CA I usually support out local growers if I can. I have tried the Ravenswood Zin and liked it. In hot weather I like a Wine Spritzer (2 parts white wine/1 part club soda). Refreshing if everything is very cold - makes the wine go further too.

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    1. I think the lack of CA wines on the lists is more the thought that there will be so many more of those on the shelves and that people may be more familiar with them. I'm not, and some suggestions along those lines would've been welcome for me. I've never had a wine spritzer. Sounds refreshing :)

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  3. Well, I live in a "religious right" state. In the late 1950s or 60s, a law was passed that you were not allowed to be served a drink if you were in an airplane over Kansas airspace. Granted, I'm not a drinker, BUT that is going way too far. When I lived in MO, you could buy wine in grocery stores. When I moved to KS, I learned you could only buy alcohol of any kind in state run/licensed liquor stores. And you can't even buy 3.2 beer on Sunday, even if it's during the Superbowl. And they are required to be closed for all federal holidays, too. Aren't you glad your state finally came out of the dark ages?

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    1. We're still in the dark ages ;) but the liquor lobby just couldn't keep up with the grocery lobby's dedication. We are firmly in the Bible belt here, and the religious right was solidly opposed to this. They managed to fight it successfully for 10 years. The rules on buying alcohol here are still strange, but I think at the end it was more the liquor lobby fighting it than the religious right. They managed to get a lot of concessions which ought to help the specialty liquor stores do well. One of our biggest liquor stores doubled in size to take advantage of the new law, which allows them to stock cheeses and glassware, etc.

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  4. I should mention that when I was in CA, I was introduced to Trader Joe's grocery store and their Two Buck Chuck. However, back in 2013, the CA based stores raised the price. It's now about $2.50 and supposed to be pretty darn good, if you like wine.

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    1. We'd love to have a Trader Joe's here. We hear the occasional rumors but so far no actual stores.

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  5. Maybe you will become a grocery store wine connoisseur--LOL! ;) Enjoy!

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    1. lol! I know what I like, but that's about it.

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  6. Funny, but here in New Hampshire we've had wine in groceries stores as long as I can remember. Funny how states have been worried to do that. Massachusetts just passed that grocery store law a few years back. I don't understand it. Anyhow, glad you now can become a connoisseur, and as I was reading the comments about this- maybe you'll get a Trader Joe's soon too. We got one about 2 years ago and I did the happy dance. :) Hugs-erika

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    1. I still remember when we got liquor by the drink here. It's all been very slow in coming, and the liquor lobby in concert with the religious right was hard for the grocers to win against.

      I've never been in a Trader Joe's, but I've heard it's not to be missed. Maybe someday we'll get one.

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  7. Funny, but here in New Hampshire we've had wine in groceries stores as long as I can remember. Funny how states have been worried to do that. Massachusetts just passed that grocery store law a few years back. I don't understand it. Anyhow, glad you now can become a connoisseur, and as I was reading the comments about this- maybe you'll get a Trader Joe's soon too. We got one about 2 years ago and I did the happy dance. :) Hugs-erika

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  8. There's a great app called Vivino where you just snap a photo of the label and you can get reviews, average price, and save what wines you like. It's quite handy. I've asked a question of folks in wine stores only for them to reach for this app to answer.

    Also, Two Buck Chuck is terrible. Depending on where you live it can be over $3.

    The wine you have languishing in the back of your fridge, pull it out and make vinegar. It's pretty easy and makes great holiday gifts.

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    1. What is it about things called "chuck" that make them terrible ;)

      I'm going to the grocery store today, so I'll download that app and try it out. Thx!

      Vinegar! What a great idea. I'll definitely try that :)

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