Wine Talk

Snooth User: Mark Angelillo

How do you shop for wine?

Posted by Mark Angelillo, Apr 7, 2008.

Is going to the wine store intimidating or invigorating for you? How do you shop for wine? What do your favorite stores do to make it easier for you? Do you like to talk to the clerks?

Full disclosure: we'll use your comments to serve you better! So be honest.


Reply by Mark Angelillo, Apr 7, 2008.

I suppose I should comment here. Let's see.

Usually I wander a lot. I look at bottles, read them, look for wines I recognize.

I try to think about the people I am going to share the wine with. What might they like and what would they not like? What's a good price range for the event I'm going to?

A lot depends on the store. Are the bottles organized by region? I'm probably going to try for a region I've been interested in getting to know more about. If the store organizes by varietal It's likely I will choose what I want to drink before I even start browsing.

I rarely ask for help, if ever. If there's a card describing the wine I find that extremely helpful, as are ratings.

Reply by Philip James, Apr 7, 2008.

I also rarely ask for help. I either know what i want and go in with it written down, or I'll wander aimlessly tossing in either labels i dont recognize or labels that i do.

I may try wine at an in-store tasting if they have one.

Reply by SusieJ, Apr 7, 2008.

Living in Pennsylvania, it's weird. Wine is sold in state-run liquor stores that often have all the charm of WalMart. The system is a compromise between the teetotalers and those who see the possibility of big tax revenue. The previous chairman of the Pa. Liquor Control Board started running the stores like retail establishments, not a grudging concession to the state's need for money. So, in the 21st century, we now have state stores open on Sundays, stores that sell Wine Spectator, stores that sell accessories like corkscrews and glasses, etc. Also, they now run SPECIALS -- some usually expensive wine marked down; I'll grab a couple bottles of those. Ratings aren't allowed to be posted. Some stores have sections for "better" wines, where the the bottles are always stored horizontally (although at room temp). I'll look through there. I stick to what I know we like, but will pick up half a case of new (to me) wines in a fit of hope, forget what I liked, and be back to my tried and true the next trip.

(Of course, now I have Snooth, and my husband has an iPhone.)

Reply by oceank8, Apr 8, 2008.

After reading that last post, I feel very lucky! I tend to shop for wine at Bevmo or Costco (when I can't get to the winery itself, which is my usual choice). I love that they are separated by varietals, I find it very helpful. I usually look at the specials. If it's at Costco, I know it's a great deal. At Bevmo I like to wait for the buy one, get one for $0.05. This is a great way to try a wine twice, it helps me remember if I liked it or not and if I want to buy more. Occasionally I go in knowing what I want, but usually I like to pick up something I have never seen before and give it a try.

Reply by sroll, Apr 8, 2008.

Buy 1, get the second for $0.05? Isnt that illegal? I'm not sure which state this is, but i thought it was law nationwide that wine had to be sold above its wholesale value

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 8, 2008.

I don't shop for wine.

However, I do shop for spirits and fortified wines. I never ask for help and wander around picking up bottles and looking for new things.

Reply by oceank8, Apr 8, 2008.

I live in California and Bevmo is a HUGE reseller all over the state, can't imagine it's illegal, and, as long as they offer, I'm buying :)

Reply by Philip James, Apr 9, 2008.

Different states have different laws. You cant do this in New York for example. I have no idea about California's laws.

Ocean - I too would jump on the chance to pick up a bottle of wine for 5 cents

Reply by Squirt, Apr 10, 2008.

Since my Lady and I are all quite new to enjoying wine, I look for wines that we have tried and liked. If I can't find anything that I've seen before, I'll look for something from the same area with the same vintage. Like last week we had a Gordon Family Sauvigon Blanc Columbia Valley 2006 that was really nice. I haven't been able to find it again, we are 1500 miles away from where we purchased it. Today we purchased several different wines from that area with different vintages and different wineries. Today we did do something different we purchased 2 of every wine, so if we like it at least we'll have another to enjoy.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Apr 10, 2008.

@Squirt -- Thanks for your thoughts. Does this help?

Reply by Squirt, Apr 12, 2008.

Thanks Mark! That's exactly the wine we enjoyed. I'm still trying to find it in stock wherever we are.

Reply by lailoken9, Apr 14, 2008.

My favourite way to shop for wine is to travel around the tasting rooms and vinyards in the Fredricksburg, Texas area. However, most of the time, I just have to make my best guess at the Houston Specs Warehouse.

Reply by John Andrews, Apr 14, 2008.

@lailoken9 ... I spent a few months working in Texas and was AMAZED at the wine selection Specs has. It has wines on the shelf that disappear in a day here in Cali.

There are a few good wine bars in Houston ... the one I went to I thinks sold wine as well. Let me know and I'll dig up the name.

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