Rows 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!
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!