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Buying wine

Where do you buy your run of the mill, every day drinking wine? Have you found great prices anywhere? I'll get it from Costco (good White Tail prices and larger bottles), World Market, whatever grocery store I happen to be in. I was wondering if it's worth the trip to the large outlet types stores like Beverages and More.

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  1. You should definately check out Beverages and More.
    They have a good selection and they also have cheap deals going on every now and then.

    also check out wine.woot.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: bkhuhucsd

      Isn't the closest bevmo about 2500 miles from DC?

    2. You have probably heard this from other folks, but Trader Joe's really does have good deals for "everyday drinking wine." You can find good blends/table wines for $5-10.

      1. Check the Washington Post on Mondays - wine ads come out then. All stores have a few wines that are their "loss leaders" that they post on sale at cost. Check those first.

        Then, Costco. Costco has some of the lowest mark-ups in the biz. Right now, I'd buy the Catena Chardonnay (Nicholas Catena, Chile) - think it's about $11. Steal. They are a bit low at this time - but, expect much more in a few weeks as they ramp up inventory for the holidays.

        Lastly, check out winestilsoldout.com for some killer deals. One wine per day is discounted up to 70% until sold out. Today is an Italian white for less than $6 - delivered and tax free. Can't beat that!

        Cheers and good luck.

        1. I tend to like to buy local for these, especially as they tend to get some more interesting stuff. DeVinos is right around the corner from me so I go there a lot, if it's something I need that's a bit more exotic I tend to go up to Calvert Woodly

          1. Thanks for all the suggestions! I'd better get drinking...

            I like buying local wines, too. We do trips out to the vineyards but just ran out of our last Naked Mountain which is one of my favorites. Good site suggestions, too. I go to TJ's, often, find it hit or miss since I'm just going by the labels. I knew I'd get some good leads here. Thanks, all!

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Since you mentioned local vineyards, I thought I'd share our favorite recent find - Veritas in Charlottesville. So it's not a stone's throw, but well worth the drive. By far the nicest tasting room in VA, and I think it rivals Linden and Barboursville, which are our favorite VA wines.

              1. re: Meg

                I'll give it a try--thanks! I do like Barboursville and Linden, too. It can be a nice day trip.

            2. Not sure where you're coming from but we get all of our wine at Total Wine now. We live less than a mile from the Fairfax location, but if we didn't we would probably still stock up on monthly trips.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lowbar

                Yeah, sorry, I meant Total Wine and not Beverages and More (above). I move too often. I'll check out Total Wine. It's not too far from us, either. Thanks!

              2. www.winezap.com and www.wine-searcher.com will take you to literally the lowest prices in the United States. If you can buy by the case there will be someone, somewhere who will discount 25% or more on almost anything. Depending on the list price this can be an especially good deal. Shipping, generally, is about $25 a case but most retailers do not charge tax. And the wine is literally delivered to your door by Fed Ex ground or UPS on second day service. I buy from the Wine Library in Springfield, NJ (www.winelibrary.com) regularly and, over the past two years, have found their service to be outstanding. Often the wine shows up the next day-not two days later. Always in perfect condition. I've also had excellent service from Carolina Wines in Greensboro, Grapes in CT, Sparrow in north Jersey and others. The Wine Library is a 40-50,000 square foot store (which I have been to) and, I believe, the highest volume wine shop in America now. Generally, I prefer to buy from stores on the East Coast as opposed to, say, the Wine Club in CA or Sam's in Chicago.

                For everyday wine this may not be as attractive since shipping is factored in. But if you can buy by the case and you are buying wine that is about $20 or more per bottle I think this is the best you will find. As the price of the bottle goes up the amount of savings proportionately increases. You'll find there is a fantastic amount of competition with the emerging/explosive internet.

                My days of driving to Calvert Woodley, Total and elsewhere every month or so are basically behind me. Costco is interesting for wine that is $10-12 a bottle or less (as are the others) but on more expensive wines their prices do not even approach the internet. And their selection is severely limited. You won't find Altos de Luzon, an incredible $19 Spanish red which the Wine Library sold for $12 at Costco.

                Locally, if you can put together a group of friends or neighbors and pool your money to buy case multiples you will find that most wine stores will give 20% or more discounts. I've found that stores who only give 10% case discounts will give 20% discounts for five case or more purchases realizing that the alternative is to lose the business to the internet where 25% off is available on most wines.

                Paul's in D. C. is excellent offering 20% discounts on case purchases. Unfortunately the 9.5% D. C. sales tax eats into this as it does at Calvert Woodley and others.

                1. Locally, we love the selection and service at Wegman's.

                  Not worth a special trip--but if we happen to find ourselves traveling along I-95 to the north, we'll stock up at the Costco or BJ's just off the road in Delaware, where there's no sales tax--which makes purchasing other merchandise attractive there, as well.

                  Both warehouse clubs' liquor stores are open to the public in accordance with Delaware law.

                  1. We go to Schneider's. They have an excellent selection, and more importantly to me, phenomenal service. As a wine newbie, I have found that I can walk in there with a price point I would like to hit and they have some wonderful recommendations.

                    1. Don't know where you live (obviously) but when we lived in DC, we found some good bargains at Rodman's - Upper Wisconsin Ave., south of Mazza Galleria.

                      1. I've got mixed feelings about Schneider's. I don't go there often enough to have a personal relationship with the owners. But every time I've shopped there, I've gotten the "hard sell" to *not* buy the wine I've asked for, and to instead buy their recommendation. For example, I've had Maison Champy burgundy (not a great producer, IMHO) pushed at me on two different occasions, even when I'm shopping for California Pinot Noir.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jmasek

                          I am conflicted about posting this, but I think it is ok... I can confirm that there are wines there that they want you to buy, and wines they don't. In fact some of the salespeople there will actually get paid more money based upon if they sell the wines they are 'supposed' to. The reason for this is that Schneider's imports a lot of their own wine, buys out wherehouses, deals directly with wineries, and goes through other avenues to obtain high volumes of certain wines well below standard wholesale. They still, however, sell these wines for retail, or just below.

                          All of that said, however, a lot of the wines they do this with, particularly in the lower price points, are very good values, and the salespeople who work on commission (as well as those who do not) do try very hard to be helpful within the framework of still making as much money off you as possible. It sounds kinda harsh, but it is understandable from a business model perspective. The customer service in all other ways (willingness to accept returns, time they will dedicate to trying to help customers, willingness to open wines for tasting, willingness to negotiate when making a big purchase or buying wines that they get at well below wholesale) is very good.

                        2. You might consider the amount of increased enjoyment you would get from wine by seeking out better producers and importers rather than cheaper outlets and retailers.

                          After years of wine shopping around the area I now spent 90% of my wine dollars at Arrowine in Arlington, and specifically with Doug Rosen (although his entire staff is excellent).

                          Communicate your taste, and your price point, and let them direct you to dozens of wine you've probably never heard of, from places you didn't know anthing about, made from grapes you can't even pronounce. You'll be thrilled.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Pappy

                            I do that when I want wine for a special occasion, and we usually do have some around for that. My price point for every day drinking wine is pretty low (under $12 a bottle). I often open a bottle, and end up having to throw a good part of it away since we don't finish it before it goes bad. I wouldn't do that with more expensive wines. I'd feel funny going to a purveyor and asking for cheap wine--kind of like going to Tiffany's and asking for cubic zirconia.

                            1. re: chowser

                              $12 per bottle is not cheap. It is a total misconception in the marketplace that wine stores don't want your business. They are more than happy to spend time with you looking for 3-4 bottles of $10 wine. They know that is their market, and they are built to cater to it. That is exactly my point. Do not feel that you have to drink super-market plonk because $12/bottle isn't much. It is. 90% of the wine produced in the world is within your price range.

                              1. re: Pappy

                                I'm with Pappy here. You are not asking for CHEAP wine. You are seeking VALUE. Good wine merchants love working with knowledgeable consumers - even those who are earnestly trying to learn. And they love a bargain as much as anyone. A $12 bottle that drinks like a $24 delight.
                                Get to know the staff at a local small shop. They realize that you have to have vin ordinaire so they won't think you're being cheap. They'll help you find that as well as good deals on special bottles. They will know your taste and have an interest in keeping you happy - something you won't find at a big discounter.

                              2. re: chowser

                                I just want to add another plug for Arrowine and to reiterate what Pappy said. They are more than happy to help you find wines in ANY price range. We used to go to Total Beverage in McLean to stock up on everyday drinking wines, but we've had much better luck going to Arrowine and asking for ideas under $10. (And Arrowine's email specials can't be beat!)

                                1. re: kcm19

                                  I concur. Go to the Arrowine website and sign up for their e-mail list. You will find yourself with plenty of options for everyday wine under $12 per bottle. While you are there, you should also check in at the cheese counter for an excellent selection of gourmet cheeses. Perhaps not as broad a selection as you might find at Whole Foods, but arguably a more select and higher quality grouping.

                                2. re: chowser

                                  Thanks everyone for the input. I will check out Arrowine and not feel like a cheapskate. Plus, I've been into cheese tasting lately, too--great simple dinner w/ the Lahey bread and fruits/veggies.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Ok, so if you're going to do cheese seriously as well, you should make a trip to Cheesetique in Del Ray http://www.cheesetique.com/cheeses.php where they really know what they're talking about. They have classes on cheese and also on cheese/wine pairings.
                                    When you buy cheese there, the staff knows what they're selling, you can taste before you buy, the cheese is sold at the proper stage of ripeness, they can advise you on how to serve it, etc. Shopping at a proper cheese shop makes all the difference in the world. You'll get spoiled and never buy from chains like Safeway, Whole Foods, etc. again unless it's just run of the mill stuff for cooking.
                                    There are a few other small shops in town, but go to a specialty shop where there is a vendor who really knows about cheese.

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      You mean there's more to cheese than Tillamook?!?!;-) Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                                      That's an amazing selection they have. I'm going to have to make a round to that direction--Cheesetique, Arrowine and stopping by Del Merei Grille for lunch. A whole CH afternoon. Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to it. Wish they were more convenient to me so I could make regular stops there.

                              3. Isn't Doug Rosen at Rick's Wine and Gourmet on Duke Street just outside of Old Town?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: OTChowHound

                                  Not unless he moved there last night and didn't tell me.

                                2. Folks, don't forget MacArthur Beverages, right in D.C.


                                  1. Definitely try Bassin's on MacArthur Blvd. http://www.bassins.com/

                                    Best wine store in D.C.