The Grapevine

Wine Industry News – The Supermarkets are Coming!

May 18th, 2015

As we noted on Thursday, the letters column in Wine Spectator’s most recent issue included responses to a March 12 article by Mitch Frank on the increase in wine sales in supermarkets.

One letter writer notes that in Massachusetts where she lives, Wegmans displays wine in and among the food. Can’t say I’m in favor of supermarket sales in general, but pairing food and wine is the right way to go if you’re going to do it.

Another writer notes [level-members]that his journey may be typical: he started with bargain wines in the supermarket, then sought out better wines and advice from a small local shop, began buying futures, and now buys most of his wine direct from the wineries on allocation. He also says he has some go-to wines at the supermarket for larger parties where wine quality isn’t the focus.

Though broader availability make help the cause of wine being thought of as a natural complement to a meal rather than a luxury (which would increase the market overall), it’s hard not to see the bottom falling out of the market for most wine shops. Convenience trumps expert advice and a lot of other things for everyday purchases, though your devoted customers will stick by you, and if you establish yourself as something other than a mover of product, those who buy their everyday wine in the supermarket will still seek you out for expert advice when they are buying wine for more important events. [/level-members]