Are you intimidated by the prospect of selecting a bottle of vino amidst the rows upon rows of fancy-labeled bottles surrounding you in a wine shop? Do you purchase the same exact wine each and every time? Unsure where to shop? Stop sweating — there’s help.
I recently attended a wine-tasting event that led to a wine shopping expedition — one designed to provide help for those who feel crushingly overwhelmed in a wine shop. Elizabeth Schneider, Certified Sommelier and owner of Wine for Normal People, led the tasting and guided participants in sampling wines that typified common wine descriptors. During the presentation, Elizabeth casually mentioned that she purchased the evening’s wine at “Atlanta’s best kept secret.”
My ears perked up. Secret? Clue me in!
Where should you shop?
At the conclusion of the tasting, I snagged Elizabeth to prod her for information. Not only did she reveal the location, she offered to take me shopping there using the model for her “Wine Shopping 101” class.
Okay, okay. You’d like to know the secret, too? Here it is: the closeout section at the Kroger at Ansley Mall. Why that Kroger? Well, this isn’t your average grocery store wine section.
About 14 years ago, the Kroger at Ansley Mall gained permission to stock “offline” wines (ones that are not typically stocked by Kroger). Thanks to that decision, the wine program, now led by wine steward Joe Jackson, has grown and brings customers from far and near. Whereas most Kroger wine shops bring in 3-4% of store sales, Joe tells me this one constitutes 10-13% of its store’s sales. Furthermore, 30% of the customers at the Ansley Kroger come in to purchase only wine. As it turns out, it isn’t a total secret!
Elizabeth notes that what makes this spot particularly attractive is the closeout section. She smiles like the cat who ate the canary when recounting the incredible bargains she’s nabbed there.
How do you narrow the choices?
Elizabeth suggests that before you embark on a wine shopping trip, you answer a few questions to narrow the sea of options. Consider the following:
If you’ve answered the above questions, you’ve already cut the possibilities by over half.
How do I make the final selection? Plus more tips.
According to Elizabeth, if you answer the above questions, there will likely be ten or fewer wines remaining from which to choose. What do you do with the answers to the above questions? At this point you can:
Kroger at Ansley Mall, 1700 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. 404-872-0782.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.