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Our Master Sommelier’s Guide to Shopping the Wine Department

Get insider tips on choosing the perfect wine, finding the best value and more.

In the Wine department at Whole Foods Market, there’s something for everyone. As the Global Beverage Buyer for Whole Foods Market and a Master Sommelier (there are fewer than 300 in the U.S.), I live and breathe wine. I work with our expert wine team to select the bottles that end up in our stores. In addition to wines you already know and love, we have a carefully curated selection of some of the most exciting wines out there. And we’re always trying to make sure each bottle (or can!) is the best value for its price. Here are my best tips for shopping the Whole Foods Market Wine department.

Get your bearings.

Generally, the Wine department is divided by new- and old-world wines, and then by color and styles. (The only exceptions are sparkling wines and rosés — those are grouped together.) Old-world wines are European and named by region. New-world is everything else, including the United States, South America and New Zealand, and are identified by the grapes they’re made from.

Check the labels.

We strive to call out any additional characteristics of our wines that we know are important to our customers. These include organic wines, biodynamic wines, wines made from organically grown grapes and vegan wines. Ask a team member to point you in the right direction.

Know the sweet spot.

We strive to deliver value at all price points. But if you looking for the sweet spot price/quality ratio we find that the best value lives in the $12-25 dollar range. That's where you find quality wines that capture the essence of the specific grape from the specific region or place.

Find a perfect pairing.

Having a Wine department inside of a grocery store is kind of perfect. Whether you’re shopping for dinner or a special occasion, having all the ingredients in your cart makes it easy to find a perfect wine to match. My favorite advice is to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. Choose a lighter wine for a spring salad with vinaigrette or a heavier red to go with a hearty pasta.

Don’t be shy.

In every store, we try to make the Wine department approachable and friendly. Relax, poke around. If your store has a wine bar, stay a while or enjoy a glass of wine while you shop. And if you’re still not sure, ask our team members. They’re friendly and knowledgable and they love to talk about wine.

Must be 21+. Please drink responsibly.

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