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How do you prefer to buy your wine?

d
domaine547 Sep 25, 2007 12:18 AM

Do you buy a bottle at a time, or do you stock up? Do you buy based on reviews or do you just explore on your own? And do you buy from specialty stores, grocery stores, or online vendors? Curious about all these things!

Personally, I still prefer to buy from a local small specialty store as well as sometime online, when I'm looking for something specific. Being in the biz makes me very particular about how I do my wine buying, but if it's something I'm not carrying, the thing that is paramount for me is supporting my local wine stores (and secondarily, getting a decent price).

  1. c
    Chicago Mike Sep 25, 2007 12:21 AM

    In person... a great wineshop for me is like an escape...

    I've always treated a winestore like a library... a place to buy, but also a place to just roam the aisles and learn.... Bring your notes of what you're searching for and just see what they have.

    1. z
      zin1953 Sep 25, 2007 06:58 AM

      I buy most of my wines from small specialty wine merchants. Some I buy direct from the wholesaler/importer or from the producer. (A lifetime of working in the wine trade has left me with some connections.)

      If I am "stocking up" on wine, then I usually buy a mixed case or two -- 3-4 of each wine. There are too many great choices out there for me to stock up on wine a case at a time . . . I would rather have fewer bottles and more variety. Very rarely do I later say, "D'oh! I should have bought a case!"

      1. Frodnesor Sep 25, 2007 07:25 AM

        I do probably about 1/3 of my wine buying from a wonderful boutique wine shop which happens to be a block from my office. Agree with CM that a good wine shop where you've got a relationship with the proprietor often becomes a "Third Place".
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Place

        Another 1/3 or so is direct-from-winery purchases. Mostly these are mailing lists, some are wine clubs though not many (I usually like to pick myself but sometimes like to be surprised, like the Bonny Doon "Distinctive and Esoteric Wine Network" ). Sometimes will buy direct just because I've either tried and liked something at a restaurant or heard of it somewhere (though I'll then usually put myself on the mailing list). I work with a few other vinophiles and we'll often make swaps where one of us may be on one list and someone else is on another, or where somebody orders more than they want of a particular wine to reduce shipping cost.

        Remainder is from other retailers, either brick & mortar or online.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Frodnesor
          b
          bubbles4me Sep 25, 2007 07:34 AM

          Always from a local wine shop. I love getting recommendations from the people that taste the wines they buy. Like zin1953 I buy a case with 3 or 4 of each wine to keep things interesting.

        2. oolah Sep 25, 2007 07:51 AM

          In NYC, you can only buy wine from licensed liquor stores, so that simplifies it a bit. There are very few "big" retailers -- almost every shop is a divey liquor store or a boutique.

          Two of my favorite wine shops send me a random assortment of 3 bottles in the $30 price range monthly. They're chosen by the shop owners based on what my husband and I like to drink. I love getting my monthly surprises and we've rarely been disappointed.

          The rest I buy myself wandering into my favorite wine shops. I'll buy based on something I read occasionally, but usually tasting notes not scores. Most often I'm just exploring a region that I find appealing. In familiar wine shops, I'll trust the shopkeepers. In unfamiliar ones, I'll buy based on the importer or a familiar producer. Occasionally, I'll just go with my gut!

          I have bought online, but it's so much fun to browse a wine store and just peer at all the labels, that I don't do it often.

          Sadly my smallish apartment and 28-bottle cooler prevent me from buying in bulk. I do a bottle at a time.

          1. v
            vinosnob Sep 25, 2007 09:21 AM

            There are a handful of wine stores in LA that I frequent; I tend to shop, browse and loiter around those closest to my home (wine house, 20/20, wine expo).

            Although reading isn't as preferable as tasting, I do read A LOT. Typical sources are magazines, newspapers, newsletters from wine merchants and wine and food focused websites such as this board, cellartracker, vinocellar and ebob to name a few.

            Early on in my addiction to wine, I joined clubs offered directly by wineries, but that habit was broken because I grew tired of paying a premium for wines that I could buy cheaper at retail. However, I still have two clubs that I continue to enjoy because I like the wines and want to support the winery and the winery’s complete wine portfolio is not widely distributed.

            Also, I’m on several mailing lists of small producers where the distribution is limited and the price of wines at retail is significantly marked up.

            Last, recommendations from friends and family and within each of those groups, I’m lucky to know people “in the biz” which is beneficial in terms of getting useful wine “intel” and in some cases, great prices.

            1. Robert Lauriston Sep 25, 2007 10:05 AM

              1. I taste a lot of things at wine bars and restaurants. If I find something I like, I shop around for a good price. Sometimes I buy online because it's cheaper, sometimes because what I'm looking for is sold out or not distributed locally.

              2. I buy mixed cases from a few local wine shops, if I find something I like I go back for a case.

              3. I go to distributor tastings and either buy direct, shop around for a good price, or order a case through one of my regular stores.

              1. f
                FrankJBN Sep 25, 2007 10:08 AM

                Funny this subject would be up now.

                I'm lucky enough to have not only a couple of locals which offer a sort of a 'wine club 'discount, a couple of specialty wine 'boutiques' and several large discounters all within 10 miles of my home.

                I drink wine less often than I used to do. I keep desserts, red Bordeaux and Burgundies (not on a great scale). Over the weekend, I discovered that I had no inexpensive, having a steak reds. So yesterday I was heading to the local 'big box' discounter to pick up a couple of bottles, when I thought to myself "Why not support the local? With a 20% discount, eh, it'll cost me a couple bucks more, save the traffic etc."

                I turned around and headed to the local. I'm looking for wines under $10, preferably under $8, wines I'll have a glass or two of and then cook with the remainder.

                Hey, alright - they have both Osborne Solaz and Bogle's Petite Sirah, real drinkable $6 wines that I often purchase from the discounter.

                Problem is, they were $12 and $13 respectively. With my 20% discount, they would only cost me 80% more than at the big uncaring corporate store. This translates to 4 bottles of drinkable, but low-end wine costing $25 or costing $40.

                They're killing me.

                (Ended up buying 1 bottle, an Oz Shiraz, Billy Goat on-sale @ $7. Had to CUT off the damned twist-off cap since no pliers were handy. It was satisfactory at the sale-price)

                4 Replies
                1. re: FrankJBN
                  Robert Lauriston Sep 25, 2007 10:19 AM

                  Looks like you're comparing an exceptionally deep discounter with a local shop that sells at list price or even above. The cheapest price on Bogle Petite Sirah winesearcher.com finds is $8, most places charge $9-11, highest is $12. Solaz Tempranillo, a couple places at $6 and $7, most $8-10, highest $11.

                  Re the problem twist-off, did you try twisting the whole cap including the part that runs down the neck? Some work that way. Baffling the first time I encountered one.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    f
                    FrankJBN Sep 25, 2007 12:30 PM

                    "Looks like you're comparing an exceptionally deep discounter with a local shop that sells at list price or even above"

                    Picked up on that, huh? I knew they stocked Bogle wines, and I was hoping/willing to pay $10 off the shelf as opposed to $6 & change.

                    As stated, both prices were higher than the highest on wineSearcher. Boy, if only I had had to search...

                    I probably wouldn't buy there (at the local) if it wasn't for the discount and personal charge they offer). I've commented to others that (as my 'plan' took into consideration) the 20% discount makes them just a bit higher than most.

                    Too bad they were out of an 'everyday' wine I was buying there last year - a very drinkable Sangiovese called Il Bastardo on the shelf at around $8.00. I was touting this wine to any who would listen - so the place isn't always overpriced on the bottom end. (Scored a few v. nice Scheurebe beerenauslese too at $15 the half)

                    Maybe I didn't try to twist whole thing, though I think I did. Seemed pretty well adhered (adhesed?) to neck tho' - couldn't get a knife point under it.

                    1. re: FrankJBN
                      Midlife Dec 21, 2007 06:33 PM

                      You're describing exactly why most small wine merchants try very hard to avoid carrying wines that are available at deep discounters. It's hard to do at the lower price points but most low-priced wines are subject to very deep volume discounts that make it even harder for the small guy to compete. I can tell you that a small retailer pays something close to $7.50 for that bottle of Bogle Petite Sirah (depending on where he's located), so you can see why it's going to cost more in his shop unless he's using it as a leader. I really can't imagine how any retailer could be charging $6 for that bottle, but then I learn new things about wine pricing every day.

                    2. re: Robert Lauriston
                      d
                      domaine547 Sep 25, 2007 05:33 PM

                      I have had that issue with the stelvin enclosures as well. You have to turn counter-clockwise I think, which is counter-intuitive. Or, you just hold the neck and turn the bottle...

                      I used to just search for the best price and buy there. But I love having places that "curate" wine selections for me, and therefore I am more into the stores of the local and small variety. But now I'm in the wine business so I don't do as much store buying as I used to.

                  2. Major_9000 Sep 25, 2007 10:15 AM

                    3-4 weeks before Christmas every year, my wife and I go to a smallish wine shop here in Calgary. There is a sommelier that we've gotten to know over the years and she seems to have a similar pallette to ours. We spend 2-3 hours talking, tasting and buying wine. When we're done we usually end up with about 4 or 5 cases of different wines, that usually lasts us well into spring. We spend a lot of money on that one day but we learn all about the wines we buy and have turned it into a very special part of our Christmas experience.

                    With so many delicious choices, we rarely get more than 2 bottles of the same wine ever.

                    1. h
                      huruta Sep 25, 2007 10:28 AM

                      We are actually struggling with that right now. We just moved to Dallas and haven't yet found a wine store we really love and trust with a great selection. There are some decent places (Central Market, for example) but none that have had consistently good advice.

                      While living in Seattle and NYC we found local wine shops we really loved (Esquin & Pete's in Seattle; Chambers in NYC) and trusted. We also usually buy a case while travelling to wine making locations (i.e. France, Argentina) from visits to wineries and local shops.

                      So, we pick up a few bottles from Central Market (a high-end grocery store) but we are thinking more seriously about ordering from our favorite wine shops in Seattle and NYC where we have had positive experiences. I still have a number of shops to visit, so we'll see....

                      1. w
                        whiner Sep 25, 2007 04:41 PM

                        With somone else's money ;-)

                        1. howefortunate Sep 26, 2007 06:27 PM

                          Living in California....there are wineries located throughout the state. My husband and I spend lots of our free time exploring the wine country and sampling wine from the wine tasting rooms of wineries. It's fun to discover new wines this way and we buy much our wine at tasting rooms. Often there will be wines that are only available at the winery. Another plus is buying wines before they are "discovered" at a wine competition....it's nice to buy before the price has skyrocketed.

                          http://www.cheers2wine.com

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: howefortunate
                            ccbweb Sep 27, 2007 10:26 AM

                            This is the my wife and I buy a lot of our wine, too. We have a few vineyards we like that have "wine clubs" so we get regular shipments from them and when we like something in the club shipment, we'll order a half case or so.

                            Otherwise, we make note of wines we particularly like in restaurants and go to local wineshops (we like Plumpjack on 24th in San Francisco) or BevMo. We also take frequent chances on wines from Trader Joe's. Most of them we happily live without, but it seems that we find one or two every 6 months or so that we enjoy and will pick up a few bottles when we're at the store.

                          2. Bill Hunt Sep 26, 2007 07:44 PM

                            I buy more by telephone, than locally in PHX. Much great wine never makes it here, due to distributors going for the more familiar. I also buy from "big box" stores for the everyday wines.

                            I started out buying 3-4 mixed cases of 1 btl. each. I got to sample a lot of different wines, for different parts of the world. Unfortunately, I'd usually be drinking the reds (and some whites) a bit too early, but when I'd hit a great one, everyone was sold out. I went to 2 btls. per wine, and gave a few a bit more time. Still the same problem, when I hit the "big one." I then went to case and half-case and am there still. I seldom have a bad purchase, but have over-filled a 3700 blt. cellar.

                            My "house wines" often come from Costco. My major purchases, are either from a distributor, the winery, or K&L Wines in Redwood City (other locations exist, but I deal with one rep there).

                            Were I in the starting blocks, I'd do about the same thing, all over again. Nothing can compare to samples from around the world. I miss those days, but just cannot buy hundreds of cases, in hopes that they'll all reward me.

                            Not too long ago, I did a trip to the Central Coast, CA, and took 4 empty styro-shippers. I came back with 19 styro-shippers!

                            Too much really good wine, and too little time - and storage space. Note, if one is building a cellar, imagine the max capacity that one can think of. Then, quadruple that, knowing that at some point, you'll also rent space at a storage facility. You think you need 500 bottles? Go for 2000, minimum. Like hard drive space, if you have it, you will fill it up and then some.

                            Hunt

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              Cookiefiend Dec 21, 2007 07:51 AM

                              "You think you need 500 bottles? Go for 2000, minimum. Like hard drive space, if you have it, you will fill it up and then some."

                              Where were you (and your marvelous advice) in 2004?

                              We did exactly that and <sigh> it wasn't enough. We're in the laborious process of enlarging the cellar right now.

                              Next house (and I know there will be another) we'll build for 2000 bottles and then I'll sit on Mr CF to keep him under control.

                              hope springs eternal...

                              1. re: Cookiefiend
                                g
                                gqconley Dec 29, 2007 10:46 AM

                                Cookiefiend,

                                My parents are spending an extended vacation in France and want to send back some of the wine they have found. Who did you use to ship your wine?

                                1. re: gqconley
                                  Cookiefiend Dec 30, 2007 06:36 AM

                                  ggconley ~

                                  I've not been to France, though, at some time, I hope to go.

                                  We have some friends who were in France last year - I'll send them a note to ask if they sent wine home and if so, who they used.

                                  As soon as I find out - I'll post it here

                                2. re: Cookiefiend
                                  Bill Hunt Aug 6, 2013 08:14 PM

                                  Like HDD space, it is NEVER enough.

                                  My 3700 btl. cellar is stuffed with ~ 8K btls. I mean, who knew?

                                  We're redoing the kitchen, an outdoor kitchen, and the dining room. We are adding another 1000 btl. capacity, and hope to finally get some of those cases opened, and empty.

                                  Got to get to drinking!

                                  Hunt

                              2. c
                                chazzerking Sep 26, 2007 08:03 PM

                                Since I live in a rural area, there isn't really and local wind shop, ust liquor stores for whom yellowtail and its ilk are the upper end. As a result I have cultivated relationship with the wine mgr. of a pretty large specialty wine store in St. Louis and another in Memphis. I stock up on an addortment of stuff I've read about, tried in restaurants, or which they(the store reps) have rec'd to me and usually poured for me as well. the rest is direct ordered from wineries or purchased from wineries on trips. Iv'e had the good fortune to be able to spend a week to 10 days in France every year and ship home several cases. Even paying import duty and shipping, there are significant bargains to be had. I figure that I egt about 25-30% directly from wineeries and modt of the rest from one or the other of the shops I frequent.

                                1. t
                                  tk467 Sep 27, 2007 09:30 AM

                                  I live in Pa so we have to buy from a state owned store. They have become more sophisticated and are training wine consultants. They have a program called Chairman's Selection which offers great deals on wines. They email me the info then I do my research. Have been able to get some incredible values. When I come across these values , I usually buy a half case. I travel a lot and get to try wines all over the world. When I return home I sometimes try to find those wines or ones that are similar

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tk467
                                    z
                                    zin1953 Sep 27, 2007 10:18 AM

                                    Fortunately Dan Kravitz (Hand Picked Selections) does a lot of business with PA . . .

                                  2. ChefBoyAreMe Sep 27, 2007 10:20 AM

                                    How do I prefer to buy my wine?

                                    Frequently!

                                    1. m
                                      mengathon Sep 27, 2007 02:43 PM

                                      I prefer going to the wine store and having them delivered, but I find that I buy way too much when I see the racks and racks of beautiful wine in front of me, especially when the stores offer a mixed case discount. If a store has easy search and interface functions, I would simply order them online.

                                      I don't recall ever buying a bottle of wine for myself at a supermarket or a big chain, although I might should they be available in NY.

                                      1. scrappydog Sep 27, 2007 03:11 PM

                                        We buy most of our wine at a couple of small local retailers with a good selection and decent prices. We usually pick up a mixed case when shopping. I like the selection, level of service and convenience of my local retailers, and believe in supporting the local merchant. If we are entertaining a large group or having a party, then we may pick up a some "crowd-pleasers" at our local BevMo, Costco or Trader Joes by the case. We also tend to try various wines we see in TJs when shopping for groceries. Every once in a while, we find something that works as a house wine / summer quaffer, and then we may stock up. Some of the wine that we drink is widely available and priced similar in most places, (Bonny Doon Big House White, for example). These wines we buy on the basis of convenience - at the grocery store, at TJs, at BevMo, or at a local retailer. We will not make a special trip out of our way to buy such widely available wines. Other than this, we tend to buy small amounts of wine at wineries we visit, online, and from other sources.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: scrappydog
                                          howefortunate Dec 18, 2007 03:12 PM

                                          I live in California and often visit the different wine regions in the state. I buy a lot of wine at the wineries. This is a great way to buy wine because you get to sample the wine before buying and often find wine not available at the stores.

                                          I usually stock up on every less expensive wine wherever I can find it for sale...Bev More, Cost Plus, Costco.

                                        2. d
                                          dinwiddie Dec 19, 2007 05:10 AM

                                          I buy most of my wine thru allocation directly from the wineries. However, when I find something that I like (usually by tasting it with friends who are wine nuts or due to recommendations from friends whose taste is similar to mine and whom I trust) I tend to call or e-mail a guy I know at a wine shop here in DC and he will get it for me and deliver it. I have a tendency to either buy a half case, or a mixed case when I do order. (Going in to pick it up is dangerous, since he always offers a nice discount and I have a tendency to play the "well I guess I could try this" and end walking out with a case or two more than I went in looking to get.)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dinwiddie
                                            d
                                            dinwiddie Mar 7, 2010 07:11 AM

                                            While I still buy wines by allocation, I've cut way back on what I buy and have winnowed my purchases to only a few lists that I buy every time. What I have found is that I am tending to buy more older wines (Rhones from the 90s, Bordeaux from the 80s and 90s) by looking for specific wines on the internet inventories of some of the better local wine stores here in the DC area (I find that McArthur, Bells, Schnieders and Calvert Woodley all have some very nice buys of older wines available to order.) This way I can fill in the holes in my collections and buy wines for specific dinners or purposes. Winesearcher.com comes in handy here too. Of course, you have to make sure you are dealing with a reputable store. I've also found that many of my fellow winegeek friends here in the area have good sources and I often piggyback on orders with them.

                                          2. jcoz23 Dec 19, 2007 06:15 AM

                                            Most of the wine I have on hand is directly purchased from a winery. I travel a lot and tend to buy more when I am at a winery, especially when I know that wine won't be available at home. I live in Arizona and the laws are weird when it comes to getting wine shipped here, although they are getting better...So most online shopping is out of the question for me. My second source would be a small wine shop, then lastly every once in a while if I'm at TJ's, Cost Plus or BevMo for something else I'll pick up a bottle there. Obviously at the wineries I just buy what I think tastes good, but when I'm at a store I go by the recommendations of the people that work there, or buy one that I've read a good review about. I rarely just buy a bottle without a recommendation from anyone...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jcoz23
                                              c
                                              chriscatva Dec 19, 2007 11:26 AM

                                              I do most of my buying when visiting wineries -- primarily here in Virginia but also when traveling. (We went up to the Finger Lakes this fall and I brought home a couple of cases -- mainly Rieslings. And last spring I toured the Yadkin Valley, NC wineries and brought home a case or so.) I also order through a few people I know who are distributors/importers, and I buy through distributors who do tastings for groups I belong to (e.g., German Wine Society). I occasionally buy from local small wine shops -- mostly when I need something special or when I'm lured in by a tasting :-) -- and from Total Wine (a sort of wine superstore chain) -- the latter mostly when I need a bunch of wine for an event. Currently I'm putting together wines for an "affordable Bordeaux" tasting for my American Wine Society. I bought most of the wines at Total, filled in a couple of gaps at a local wine shop and will check another tomorrow for one last bottle. For the social hour before the meeting I will serve some Bordeaux-style Virginia wines, which I've bought at the wineries.

                                            2. ibstatguy Dec 20, 2007 03:00 PM

                                              both; as to "stocking up", it is usually in a group and we typically deal with the distributors directly and have shipped to local retailer(s). I recently bought some limited release OR pinot from a retailer in Portland as I couldn't fine any other options. No as to grocery stores and very, very little "on line".

                                              1. d
                                                duck833 Dec 29, 2007 02:21 PM

                                                I live in Eugene, Oregon and am exploring Pinot Noir's still. We are 20 minutes away from several vineyards and I travel to Portland quite often so I travel home through Dundee and Newburg and visit many vineyards. When I find a special drinker I get a case. Otherwise I pick off special wines from many vineyards. The Oregon Wine Company is located in Eugene and has a tasting bar and internet sales. Bob has many of the small producers in stock and is knowledgeable, he has sold me many hard to find PN's. I need to start looking at Costco for other reds however.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: duck833
                                                  ibstatguy Sep 9, 2009 03:45 PM

                                                  Re Eugene: I like dealing with Ryan at Marche

                                                2. howefortunate Sep 9, 2009 02:56 PM

                                                  It's fun to discover a new wine while wine tasting at wineries. There are wines that you can only buy at wineries.Living in California where there are lots if wineries, I probably buy 50% or more of my wine this way. I belong to the wine clubs of a few wineries, and will often buy wines at Costco or Beverages and More.

                                                  1. ibstatguy Sep 9, 2009 03:44 PM

                                                    by direct negotiations with the reps/distributors, in "bulk" with others to obtain volume discounts

                                                    1. d
                                                      duck833 Sep 9, 2009 03:48 PM

                                                      Been getting on future lists with select Oregon Pinot Noir producers, I get better prices plus I know I will get the wine, 08 will be a great vintage.

                                                      I also enjoy visiting the winery to pickup product, talk with the winemakers and do a little barrel tasting, lots of fun to run around Dundee and Carlton loading up the truck with boxes of great stuff. Saves UPS charges and my wine gets better handling than the brown truck gives.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: duck833
                                                        Midlife Sep 16, 2009 12:50 PM

                                                        That's the best way to buy winery-only wines, futures, or wines that are so small in retail distribution that you'll never get the chance at your local wine shop. If you don't have the info on what is more mass-distributed, however, buying winery direct can be the MOST expensive way to buy some wines. Most wineries are good about telling you want you can and get get a shot at back home, but generally won't offer that help unless you ask.

                                                      2. invinotheresverde Sep 18, 2009 09:37 AM

                                                        1) Deeply discounted
                                                        2) By the case, for even better discounts
                                                        3) Through my employer, without a markup, which is the best discount

                                                        What can I say? I like a good deal (Lord, I'm my mother's child).

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                          s
                                                          stevel Sep 18, 2009 11:36 AM

                                                          I buy direct from the wineries on mailing lists

                                                          1. re: stevel
                                                            d
                                                            dgris Sep 25, 2009 08:45 AM

                                                            I buy mostly on line in the under $20/90pt category from several merchants as well as belonging to a local winery wine club for my more expensive purchaces. I order them and let the winery store them in their cellar. After a while the savings makes the drive worth while as the reds will be cellared for several years any way. I now let my wife buy her daily drinkers when shopping and have learned to only buy the ones she likes or I end up drinking the rejects. On vacation it's the fun of the chase. I have been pleasantly satified with the results.

                                                        2. d
                                                          dgris Sep 25, 2009 09:00 AM

                                                          In order to avoid shipping charges, we will order a case of a wine we like from our local store and pick it up. This is for the more reaonably priced daily drinkers, Pinot Gris is my wife's favorite. Pinot Noir is usually bought from the winery and results in a drive and a wine tasting. I have to stay out of the wine department in stores. There is something about wine, pretty women and power tools that upsets a man's reasoning abilities.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: dgris
                                                            Pedr0 Aug 6, 2013 08:03 PM

                                                            I could not agree more.

                                                          2. kaysyrahsyrah Dec 6, 2009 07:23 PM

                                                            I am a huge fan of supporting local wine stores -- at least those who have great inventories adn the most talented staff who really know how to provide a consultantive experience to customers.

                                                            Currently my buying mix looks like this: (I live in San Francisco)
                                                            -65% K&L Wines - where I buy most of the stuff I've never tried
                                                            -30% opportunistic - any shop or web site that has the best deal on a wine I know
                                                            -5% wineries -- I cant stand the jacked up prices...so I only buy closeouts

                                                            As for reviews...my own exploration is more important than anything...I try to taste 30 wines a month. Following that are the recommendations from wine shop personnel who know me well, or demonstrate an understanding of what I'm looking for. After that, reviews from consistent sources -- Parker, the wine mags, any retailer that has a decent staff to write original copy.

                                                            1. njfoodies Dec 7, 2009 04:08 AM

                                                              I try to support the local "little guy" as much as possible, and I do have some great local, small botique type shops that I shop at here in Jersey. A few that come to mind are CoolVines in Princeton or Westfield, Princeton Corkscrew, as well as Spring Lake Bottle Shop. I also do some shopping at some of the guys that are a little bigger too: Moore Brothers, Canal's (Lawrenceville, Hamilton, Pennsauken, and Marton-70/73 circle), Laurenti's Shop Rite, I would guess that 60% of my purchases are local, with another 25% coming from mailing lists: Sea Smoke, Sine Qua Non, Kosta Browne, Rivers-Marie, Stefania, Maybach, Scarecrow, Kistler, Auteur, Match, Carlisle, Lillian, Antica Terra, Tobin James, etc...The last 15% or so is from buying online from different stores, ie Vinfolio, Benchmark, MW, K&L, etc, etc...

                                                              I try to support the smaller guys, but sometimes you just can't find what you're looking for, and a lot of favorites are mailing list direct, or just too high to buy on the secondary market.... -mJ

                                                              11 Replies
                                                              1. re: njfoodies
                                                                d
                                                                dgris Dec 10, 2009 12:44 PM

                                                                For some time I was on call list and bought way too much wine. Then I went on line to K&L, & Wine.com and bought more wine, smaller more selective amounts, but still too much. Now I am on the Garagiste e-mail list and am buying less and more selective, but still too much. My next phase may be to visit the local wine shops and buy the occasional bottle with the money in my pocket. I will try to do more "shopping", less buying. I tried to buy less last year. Guess what, I bought just as much.

                                                                1. re: njfoodies
                                                                  kaysyrahsyrah Dec 18, 2009 03:10 PM

                                                                  I want to drink at your house!

                                                                  1. re: njfoodies
                                                                    d
                                                                    dgris Mar 7, 2010 07:21 PM

                                                                    I was doing pretty well at limiting the buying. I was sighning up for Columbia Valley lists. Then the specials came on which lead to some very good inventory reduction sales. The big killer to the plan was the WineBerserker Anniversary specials of which I took advantage and got some super values for some highly rated boutique wines. Back on the wagon now.

                                                                    1. re: dgris
                                                                      njfoodies Mar 8, 2010 04:54 AM

                                                                      Amen! The Berserker Birthday was a killer for me two, but how can you go wrong with Holdredge and Cameron Hughes! Great bargains and great wines! -mJ

                                                                      1. re: njfoodies
                                                                        njfoodies Mar 8, 2010 11:04 AM

                                                                        I forgot to add Match to that list as well. -mJ

                                                                        1. re: njfoodies
                                                                          d
                                                                          dinwiddie Mar 9, 2010 06:44 AM

                                                                          I hope you have noted that Randy had dropped the price for Match on the most recent mailer. I also like his discount for loyal customers and the fact that shipping is free if you buy half a case or more.

                                                                          1. re: dinwiddie
                                                                            njfoodies Mar 9, 2010 07:49 AM

                                                                            Randy is just a heck of a great guy making some great wines at great prices. The Berserker deal was a mini vertical of '04, '05, and 06 Baconbrook and Butterdragon Hill at $40 per. Heck of a good deal in my opinion! -mJ

                                                                            1. re: njfoodies
                                                                              d
                                                                              dinwiddie Mar 9, 2010 09:56 AM

                                                                              Great deal. I wish I had seen it before it ended.

                                                                              1. re: dinwiddie
                                                                                njfoodies Mar 9, 2010 10:24 AM

                                                                                E-mail Randy. I bet he would make good on the deal. I e-mailed him to get in on it, and I totally forgot. He sent me a follow up e-mail recently to remind me that I never paid him or gave him a ship to address, and he still honored the deal. Awesome deal indeed! -mJ

                                                                                1. re: njfoodies
                                                                                  Midlife Mar 9, 2010 04:16 PM

                                                                                  Is it me or is Berserkers very much a 'club' of sorts. I often feel as though a lot of the topics (especially in Asylum and Wine Pimps) are like a guys smoker, and those not 'in' can't really participate.

                                                                                  Berserker day, however, WAS a real opportunity. So many insiders on the board make it a very good place for such things.

                                                                                  1. re: Midlife
                                                                                    njfoodies Mar 10, 2010 04:15 AM

                                                                                    I'm not really sure Midlife as I don't spend enough time on there. I can get onto Berserkers from the office, but cannot sign in, so I can't view the Asylum. What I will say however, is that they people I have met from the Board, mainly at Berserkerfest 1.5 in Manhattan back in November seemed like a good bunch of guys. 45 of us in total at the Peking Duck House, and it was a nice evening, and nice to meet a lot of them. Looking forward to Berserkerfest 2.5 in May! Most of the people on there though I have known from other boards.

                                                                                    Lately, I have been spending a lot of my time on the CellarTracker Forum, but the Wine Spectator Forum has always been my go to board, followed by the Parker Board...Berserker day deals rocked for certain, and I do like the board, but am rarely on there. -mJ

                                                                  2. r
                                                                    redmeatfan Mar 7, 2010 08:41 PM

                                                                    I just buy based on my own palate combined with Cellar Tracker, S.T., Parker, Spectator, etc.

                                                                    I also buy at some of the best prices in America. The local indedpendent wine shop can go out of business for all I care as they are paying top dollar for their wine and passing it on to the consumer.

                                                                    Amen to the big retailers that buy great wine!

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: redmeatfan
                                                                      Midlife Mar 7, 2010 10:53 PM

                                                                      Sheesh! If that makes you happy, then so be it.

                                                                      If you're OK skimming the top of, for example, the California wine scene, then that's fine. Whatever meets your needs!

                                                                      On the other side of things are the hundreds of great, small California wineries whose production is too small to meet the needs of the big retailers. You may be getting good prices on larger production wines, but you're not even seeing many of the best wine values available. But then, as an ex-independent retailer, I am biased.

                                                                      1. re: Midlife
                                                                        z
                                                                        zin1953 Mar 8, 2010 06:10 AM

                                                                        +1

                                                                        Amen!!!

                                                                        1. re: Midlife
                                                                          r
                                                                          RicRios Mar 8, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                                          Amen, plus: you can replace "California" with the name of any wine producing area in this blessed planet.

                                                                          1. re: Midlife
                                                                            njfoodies Mar 8, 2010 11:09 AM

                                                                            In looking at this thread, I realize that I mixed my numbers up back in DEC. LOL! OOPS! Should be about 60% from mailing lists with about 25% coming from local shops. I'm happy to say that I buy most of our wines winery direct on mailing lists. Would rather support them directly, and have access to smaller production wines that can't be found at retail, but what do I know! Sure, might spend a few dollars more a bottle and have to ship, but a lot of these wines I will not find at retail here in NJ. -mJ

                                                                        2. junescook Mar 8, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                                          Back in my youth when I was in the army, we bought wine in 6-packs. Ripple came in red, white and passion pink, and a sixer went for around three bucks.

                                                                          Now we tend toward the Chilean stuff. I think there are great buys from SA because of the ratio of the peso v the dollar.

                                                                          1. d
                                                                            dgris Aug 6, 2013 08:56 PM

                                                                            It has been a goodly number of year since this thread was started and my buying has considerably changed in the interim. The CellarTracker Forum and Wine Berserkers has been the downfall of many a good man, woman too. While I have been able to reduce the cellar, the improvement in quality has been significant, both in the expensive and daily drinker category. Full Pull in Seattle and Sec Wines in Portland are my main internet enablers. Berserker Day has kept the small Cali producers in the game.

                                                                            1. c
                                                                              collioure Aug 7, 2013 02:10 PM

                                                                              I live in Cotes-du-Roussillon. I prefer to buy local wines at the source which I do once a year, based on ratings and my own experience.

                                                                              Beyond that I am stepping up my direct purchases and reducing my dependence on the annual fall supermarket sales. I depend on independent ratings and internet sites to guide me. For example, vintners' websites helped me to narrow down the Alsace vineyards from which I will order in the future. I wanted someone whose Riesling and Gewurz were really dry.

                                                                              1. perk Aug 12, 2013 01:47 AM

                                                                                I live in Southern California, and really enjoy visiting my local wine stores. I agree with the library simile. I do usually pick up a few bottles of house wines when I'm at Costco. I have friends with a ranch in the central coast, and I visit whenever I can. We always go wine tasting, and I often receive a considerable discount because she's a local. But we also go to local grocery stores. They have great prices and all sorts of specials. So we'll often taste at the wineries, and buy at the stores.....at a great savings.

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