Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Six Secrets to Finding Hidden Wine Gems

By John Stewart, July 24, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by John Stewart

WineRows of merlots. Scads of cabs. Chardonnays for days. Having lots of options in the wine department can be a beautiful thing. It can also turn picking out a bottle of wine into a confusing game of chance. Here Doug Bell, one of our national wine buyers shares six strategies for bettering your odds. You just may find your new favorite wine!

Doug Bell, national wine buyer for Whole Foods Market - See more at: http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/cheers-to-12-budget-friendly-summ... You just may find your new favorite wine!

Staff Picks Every Whole Foods Market has a wine specialist, and they love talking wine! Ask the store’s wine specialist what they’re drinking and enjoying right now. Also, look for shelf tags touting “Julie’s Staff Pick” or “Dan’s Favorite Right Now” – they’re  written by real Team Members with informed opinions about the wine and are a great way to narrow your options.

‘Tis the Season Pay special attention to seasonal promotions. National retailers will often purchase entire lots of high-end wines from a great vintage and offer them at a special price for the season. Look for signs calling out these super finds.

Local Heroes With local wine grown in almost every state these days, you might find a hidden gem in your own backyard. Once-fledgling state wine industries are now hitting their stride, figuring out exactly which grapes thrive in their regions. Don’t be afraid to try a varietal you don’t know well, like a floral Virginia viognier, a bold Texas tempranillo, or a meaty Missouri norton.

Say What? Instead of going with familiar wines and labels, consider something new and obscure in the $15-$20 range. Look for a grape variety or region you’ve never heard of one that’s tough to pronounce. These wines can be exceptionally unique and are often the hot topic at the next neighborhood get-together.

Lonely But Lucky Scan the wine shelves or racks for those spots where there are only one or two bottles left. Clearly those wines are hot enough to nearly sell out, so now's your chance to get lucky and grab what's left.

The Back Label Besides tasting notes, back labels can provide some useful information to help further your search. For example, if you find a wine you like, check the back label and note the importer. Chances are you’ll like other wines that importer brings in.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your wine options, narrow them down with these six wine hunting secrets. What techniques do you use when searching out new wines? We’d love to hear them!

Category: Wine & Beer




Stephanie Brittian says ...
Thank you! I love trying new wines, but the selection can be overwhelming.
07/25/2013 1:46:43 PM CDT
Debi says ...
I do check the labels, I love the wines imported by Askari O.H. LLC. I find them in Houston Whole Foods, haven't been disappointed in any!
07/29/2013 9:03:49 PM CDT
Allison says ...
I love Italian wines and was very pleased with the Whole Foods 360 brand Chianti!
07/31/2013 10:10:59 AM CDT
David Tarditi says ...
Thanks for the tips! Dave T
07/31/2013 11:47:10 AM CDT
Nadia Land-Greene says ...
We just got back from Bulgaria-any chance you can get some good Mavrug from that region into the store in Greenville, SC? Would love to share some with my friends here! Thank you, Nadia
07/31/2013 12:00:21 PM CDT
lo ja says ...
nice helpful suggestions, including ones from customers (which tends to be most helpful in "in couraging" a little palette exploration.
07/31/2013 1:08:34 PM CDT
Donna Bruno says ...
A Wholefoods employee named Brittney has forced me into buying many an obscure wine to my delight. She has always led me in the right direction.
07/31/2013 3:49:48 PM CDT
Janet says ...
Do you have any recommendations on Malbecs?
07/31/2013 4:13:37 PM CDT
Erica says ...
DO you carry Decoy Sav. Blanc?
07/31/2013 4:32:46 PM CDT
Jack Moores says ...
About a year and half ago I tried the 2008 Sharecropper by Owen Roe. It was so amazing /fabulous that I began to search for it and my son finally found 12 bottles in LA, purchased and shipped them to me, Since I have found that the 2010 and 2011 are not the same thing at all. Here is what I have come to believe: The 2008 Pinot Noir from just about any vineyard was just GREAT. When I shop for my favorite (i.e. Pinot N) I look first for 2008. It has led me to 6 different brands with the same quality as the '08 Sharecropper.
07/31/2013 4:48:21 PM CDT
Matt says ...
I blindly check the punts. I do not read any labels front or rear and just check the punts on the bottle. The deeper the punt the better the wine.
07/31/2013 6:44:33 PM CDT
Bonita Rimer says ...
The website is very good!
07/31/2013 9:23:44 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ERICA - Since our products vary between store locations, check with your local store to see what they have in stock!
08/01/2013 2:59:43 PM CDT
Brittany says ...
This was extremely helpful!!! Thank you so much!
08/01/2013 7:36:50 PM CDT
Carol R. says ...
I select wine knowing that I prefer dry and fruity. I enjoy both red and white (seasonal). Rose's are so light and delicious in the summer, I hope people enjoy them during this time of year. I pay attention to alcohol percentage. I try to purchase a wine with the alcohol between 12 to 13.5%. The higher content, if not blended properly, are to "hot" and not very easy going down. But one thing for sure, everyone has different tastes so you need to experiment and find your own seasonal favorites!
08/02/2013 12:23:29 PM CDT
Kat says ...
I read the comments about "punts" on a bottle of wine. Never heard of this. What is a punt in reference to a bottle of wine?
08/03/2013 7:11:31 AM CDT
Karen Guarino says ...
Great tips. Does Whole Foods sell wine?
08/11/2013 1:46:37 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KAREN - While most of our locations carry wine, check with your local store to make sure as this will be determined by local state/city alcohol laws.
08/12/2013 12:48:45 PM CDT
Mike says ...
What Whole Foods locations sell wine in MA, RI, CT, and NJ?
10/23/2013 10:43:00 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MIKE - This will be based on each region and state/city alcohol laws. I would suggest to check with the stores in question specifically to find out, they will be happy to help out!
10/25/2013 4:36:02 PM CDT
Terry says ...
I notice that you do not allow sorbate in your products. do you allow wines with sorbate in them to sell in your stores? Thanks Terry
06/01/2014 11:03:07 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TERRY - Are you referring to potassium sorbate? If so, potassium sorbate is unacceptable in food and supplement items in our stores with the exception of wine made with a sulfur dioxide, a preservative that inhibits bacteria formation is acceptable.
06/02/2014 2:40:23 PM CDT