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Nov 24, 2009 04:32 PM

Wegman's Princeton now selling wine and beer?!

Does anyone know more about the new in-store sales of wine and beer at the Princeton Wegmans? Ran through today for the Thanksgiving shop and added a case of beer to my cart. The signs said that they can only sell on weekdays between 9 and 10 - I must admit I was so frazzled, I really didn't investigate. Wondering about the implications ... can Two-buck Chuck at TJ's be far behind, or can they only do this with an existing liquor license?

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  1. I've been buying wine at the Princeton Wegman's for years, and they actually have a really nice selection, with very fair pricing. Even picked up some first growths there from one of their climate controlled cellars, as well as some really nice cabs and Bordeaux blends from their other climate controlled cellar. Never been limited as to when I could purchase alcohol there, so I don't know of the time restrictions you are refering to. I am sure I have bought there on Saturday and Sunday's before.

    Can Two Buck Chuck be far behind what? And can they do what with their existing license? I don't get what you're asking. -mJ

    1. CGTinPtown, do you mean can Two-Buck be far behind in the time constraints? I think Wegmans has the time issue because they most probably are restricted from selling at anytime because of area competition -- local liquor stores. FWIW, not that anyone cares, I voted NO liquor @ Wegmans in Woodbridge. They will put family run and local franchise stores out of business; they've already affected delis, other markets etc. NOW don't start everyone yelling at me, I love Wegmans. Most of their product is superior, some is overrated. But let them not become Walmart (not that there's anything wrong w/ Walmart) but small businesses need to be part of our communities.

      7 Replies
      1. re: nyebaby37

        Woodbridge Wegmans has already purchased the liquor license a few months back. They were in negotations for almost a year, and finally it was purchased late summer this year.

        1. re: Angelina

          see what i mean, people only care about convenience, understandable but too bad for the small business "guy".

          1. re: nyebaby37

            I know exactly what you mean nyebaby37, and I always support the smaller guys in the area, ie CoolVines, Princeton Corkscrew, etc. But I also support the Canal's on Route 1, Glendale, and Laurenti's Shoprite.

            I will however say that Wegman's does have a great wine selection, and some of the best prices in the area. I've picked anything up there from Sanford pinot noir, to Seghesio zin, to Domaine Tempier rose, etc. They do have a great selection and nice pricing, and the older gentleman in there is quite knowledgable. Not a bad store in the least. -mJ

            1. re: nyebaby37

              Interesting. What are your thoughts about the Wine Library and the Wine Chateau and how they affect the "little guy?" Or how they affect Wegman's customers? I find Wegman's to be far more expensive than either of these. New Jersey has about the most competitive pricing on wine of any area in the U. S. The "little guy" already has his hands full-without Wegman's.

              1. re: Joe H

                I guess it depends on what you are buying from Wegmans. I have gotten deals on First Growths at Wegman's that were up to $50 less than some of the other stores in the area. Every once in a while, you will find a bargain there. One bottle I can use as an example is a bottle of '97 Chateau Margaux at $109 per bottle. At the time, the closest Wine-Searcher price was $179. I look at what I have spent at Wegmans, and it is far less than I thought at only 8 bottles. I thought I have bought more there, but thanks to CellarTracker, I guess that is not the case...not even a case! =) CoolVines however, I have picked up 66 bottles, Canal's Lawrenceville 62 bottles, Laurenti's ShopRite 21 bottles, etc, etc.

                I am sure that Wegmans affects the little guy because it is one stop shopping. Some people would rather pay a few dollars more for a bottle and save a trip, but that is there mentality. I however like visiting different shops, so I don't mind making the extra trip.

                As for Wine Library, they too affect the little guy. They have a huge selection, some good advertising, and some good bargains. For me however, they are not close enough to purchase from them on a regular basis, but I will make a few purchases from them a year, let them backup, and then go pick them up. To date however, I have only purchased 11 bottles from them.

                Most of our purchases come from mailing lists, and getting in on friends allocations from mailing lists. The main lists I buy from are Sea Smoke, Maybach, Auteur, Kosta Browne, Sea Smoke, Rivers-Marie, Stefania, Emeritus, Lillian, Antica Terra, Kistler, and Tobin James. I also jump in on friends allocations from Carlisle(thanks tom246), Scarecrow, Kosta Browne (single vineyards as I am on the waiting list for those -thanks again tom246), and Sine Qua Non.

                Never bought from Wine Chateau, or even visited them. No idea where they are. But yes, there are a lot of competitive stores in NJ...Gary's, Wine Library, Canal's etc, etc. Having a diverse selection of stores is a great bonus, but I would guess that 65-70% of our purchases are still mailing list direct from wineries. Maybe that is not good since I am not supporting our local economy, however, most of these wines I cannot find in NJ at retail. -mJ

                1. re: njfoodies

                  Interesting. I live in Reston, VA. Over the past three years I've bought over 60 cases from the Wine Library and 20 or so from the Wine Chateau. I've also been in the WL three times-yes, I've been in the Wegman's in Princeton, too. I didn't realize the Princeton store had bargains like this on bordeaux. I'll occasionally run into this at some Costcos (2000 first growths were sold at an unbelievable second futures price) but have never noticed deals like this at Wegman's-at least the Wegmans here. Like yourself I also buy from a number of wineries but mostly Washington state and California. Frankly, I buy very little bordeaux these days focusing more on Spanish, Chilean, Australian and Washington state. Still, with the Aussie dollar almost on par with the U. S. and the euro @ 1.50 there are few bargains left for wine bottled outside of the U. S. I've also found that some wineries will negotiate if I am willing to buy a lot (i.e. Bergevin Lane will discount 30% and not charge for shipping with the purchase of 10 cases. Their '06 cab was 92 points from the WS-that's about $18 a bottle delivered. I've put together groups of people here to take advantage of deals like this.)

                  1. re: Joe H

                    You're cellar must be a lot bigger than ours Joe! LOL! 60 cases from WL? WOW! That is a lot of vino. Where is Wine Chateau? Maybe I need to go check it out.

                    You really have to look for the bargains at Wegmans, hence the reason I look every time I go there. You just never know what you might find. Also picked up an '01 d'Yquem there for $199 I think....750ml, not 375! Maybe they are clueless and marking their little cards wrong, and that has been my worry a few times getting up to the register thinking it is going to scan differently after they remove it from the climate controlled case. Hasn't been the case yet. Also picked up some '04 LĂ©oville Las Cases at $100 a bottle x 2. Like I said, the deals are there.

                    What are you getting from Washington State? Quilceda Creek? Great juice! Still not a huge Aussie fan other than Grange of course, as well as Two Hands. -mJ

        2. Thanks for the responses - next time you go to Wegman's grocery store, keep an eye out for boxes of wine and beer in the food aisles. That's all - Happy Thanksgiving!

          1. Trader Joe's in Princeton has already acquired a liquor license. Beer & wine (yes even Charles Shaw) will be showing up soon, they just need to do some rearranging to make room. May or may not be before Christmas, but definitely coming soon. This info comes from TJ's managment.

            1 Reply
            1. re: frackit

              I am still missing something from the original post. Is that meaning that the liquor will now be in the store on shelves, opposed to in the current liquor department that is off of the main store?

              As for TJ's, I talked to a woman there about a week ago who looked like she was of authority, but she had no idea. I suppose it will be good to have another option, but I will still do most of my shopping at Cool Vines, Princeton Corkscrew, Glendale, Canal's, etc. So many little shops that I try to support. I do however know where I'll go for the Halloween wines that we decant and pour for the adults, as well as for our local Christmas House stroll when they come down our street! =) Two Buck for all the guests who I don't know and will never see again! =) -mJ

            2. The Wegman's store in Bridgewater is also selling wine, beer and spirits in the store itself. This strikes me as odd since there is a Wegman's liquor store right next door.

              Today I spoke to a woman in the liquor store and she couldn't really explain why this was being done, only that it started just before Thanksgiving. All she could really come up with was that it was more convenient for some customers. Personally, I will continue to go into the liquor store where there is a pretty good selection though they rarely have the wines I'm looking for.

              As for prices, some items at Wegman's are great values while others are not. I keep a list of where I bought what and at what price. In only one case does Wegman's come out on top. I find better value at the Supersaver store in Bridgewater (selection is better than Wegman's), Central Liquors in Flemington (prices can be high but the owner of the store is very knowledgeable) and the Wine Library (very often the lowest prices). I used to go to Gary's but their prices are outrageous.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ambrose

                Ambrose: sounds like you need to check out CellarTracker. Such an awesome resource online, and free! I couldn't live without it.

                So are you saying that the two stores are not connected? In Princeton, you can go from one part of the store to the other without going outside. I do now however know if you can fill your cart with booze, then go grocery shopping, and pay for it all in the main store as I have never tried.

                Central Liquors has a really nice selection...I need to get up there soon! -mJ

                1. re: njfoodies

                  Sorry, I should have mentioned that the two stores are connected. On a couple of occasions, I have purchased a few food items (or, more correctly, put them in my shopping cart) then gone to the liquor store for some bottles of vino and checked out there. No problem as long as you don't have a lot of food items. Never tried the reverse route.

                  I do use Cellar Tracker once in a while, especially when I'm looking for something new. A couple of times, however, it has misled me because, for whatever reason, it wasn't up to date. One time, Cellar Tracker informed me that three wines, all recommended in the NY Times, could be found at a store in Pennington. When I got there I was told that they could order the three wines and I would have them in a few days! The store insisted that that was how Cellar Tracker worked - either the store had the wine in stock OR they could get it for you! Er, I don't think so. Now if I find a wine on Cellar Tracker I always phone the store in question to make sure they really have it.

                  1. re: ambrose

                    I think you are actually thinking of Wine-Searcher. CellarTracker is actually an inventory management system, where you can track your cellar, and log all the wines you ahve with information like purchase date, price, quantity, etc, etc. You can then hit another button on there and then consume the bottle, add your tasting notes, etc, etc. It is a great resource, but there is indeed a link on there to Wine-Searcher to help you find the particular wines. Don't get the two confused as they are not the same thing.

                    I have had the same problem though with a particular store in Pennington on Wine-Searcher, where it says they have it, and they do not. Exact same scenario, and it is annoying. Many stores however do this to draw you in, so I always call first! Hope that clarifies. -mJ

                    1. re: njfoodies

                      Yes, you are correct. Wine Searcher is what I sometimes use.