Buying Wine Consumer Guide

Where is the Best Place to Buy Your Wine?

Whether you make your own, or host a party where each guest brings a bottle of wine and you supply the cheese and crackers, or you are lucky enough to live near a winery, how you buy your wine is up to you.

If you live near a winery, there are some things to consider and here are some ideas to consider for buying wine at a winery. Or if you are on vacation through many of our states you will be surprised to find that many of them have winery trails. I discovered many states have wineries today that do not even have the climate to grow grapes. I visited several wineries recently in Maine only to discover they have the juice shipped in from other countries and then do their fermenting at their plant and sell from their little wine tasting facilities.

If you buy wine, where will you store it before you arrive home? In the summer, a car trunk gets very hot quickly reaching temperatures that may be harmful to the wine and if you are on vacation many things can happen to your wine before your return home. Also remember wines do not often travel well and it is best to let them lay for several days before you open them upon arriving home.

Larger production wineries sell their wines through distributors. In general, you will find the cost of these wines to be less on the shelf of wine stores than at the winery. Many wine retailers will buy on volume and will be able to offer the wines at less than the list price recommended by the winery.

Smaller production wineries have a limited distribution and are more difficult to find in retail wine shops. The only way to buy these wines is either at the winery or through the winery’s Web site. The wines are usually not discounted because of the limited distribution. Don’t be intimidated at these winery tastings and feel you must buy because you are there.

Many wineries, even high volume production wineries, will only sell reserve bottlings or specialty wines through their wine club or at the winery.

Occasionally wineries will run special sales. This is particularly true of the smaller wineries. If the winery has a newsletter or mailing list then be sure to sign up for it. This way you will find out about special sale events at the winery. Often wineries with excess inventories will discount their wines to make room for the next vintage.

If you join a wine club, beware of the shipping costs. You may end up paying more for a wine that you find for less at a local wine shop. Also be aware whether or not if can be shipped into your state. We cannot have wine shipped into Kentucky.

Over the years of visiting the wine country in various states, we have learned to always visit the local wine shop or wine retailer and see what local wines they carry. You will often find great bargains this way and pay much less than at the winery.

If you are buying wines for a wine tasting remember the rule of the number of tasters per bottle. Approximately 2 ounces of each wine are required for a taste, so a standard 750 ml / 25 oz bottle can accommodate 10-12 people. If you are going to taste with friends, I recommend starting off with a smaller group of 4-6 people, making set up much easier.

Price isn’t always everything in wine. I have discovered over the years that even the less expensive red wine can taste a good deal better once you have decanted the whole bottle into a wine decanter and let it sit and breathe for about an hour.


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