And there are wine discount stores, superstores and wine specialty shops.
Where should you go? For the casual drinker you can pick up a bottle of wine in any of these places.
For someone who really wants to learn about different wines your best bet is a wine specialty store with an experienced wine merchant and staff.
The main disadvantage of a supermarket or large superstore is that the staff does not have the knowledge and experience about wine so there is no on who can answer your questions.
In addition to an experienced staff other advantages of a specialty shop are:
- They have a wide selection at different prices so you can decide how much you want to spend.
- Some also sell glasses, wine bottle openers, red wine decanters and other accessories, books on wine and possibly even some food items that pair well with wine.
- Navigating through these stores is easier too, because they organize the store by having red wines in one section, white wines in another and Champagne, sparkling and dessert wines in yet another.
Some may even have sections based on the state, country and region where the wine was produced.
- The better specialty stores have a temperature controlled room to house the more expensive bottles.
- A reputable merchant will also know how to store wine so it will not spoil.
If you get into a store and it is uncomfortably warm, beware.
The higher temperatures can accelerate spoilage, cause changes in taste and dry out the wine corks letting air into the bottles.
Time to find another establishment.
Take the time to develop a relationship with him or her and you will be welcomed with open arms.
Many wine drinkers feel that it is worth spending a bit more to have a knowledgeable staff and great customer service.
Ask questions and tell the staff what you are looking for.
What do you ask? Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What are some good buys this week?
- This bottle is new to me.
Can you tell me a bit about it?
- What is a good book you recommend to learn more about wine?
- Why is this bottle on sale?
- I like fruity red wines so can you suggest one that is on sale right now?
- This bottle is pretty dusty.
How long have you had it on the shelf?
The more questions you ask the more excited they get to share their expertise.
They love wine! And they want you to come back to shop with them again.
Buy a bottle of wine that you have never heard of, take it home and pop the cork.
You may have just found your new favorite.
But only buy one bottle just in case it is not for you.
As you learn more and more about wine write questions down to ask your wine merchant.
When at a party or in a restaurant and you have particularly enjoyed a wine, write down as much information from the label as you can.
The next time you visit your favorite wine store you can ask if it is available or see if it can be ordered.
A great wine merchant will even take back a bottle of opened wine that you did not care for or that you feel might be spoiled or "off.
" Now that is service.
Happy shopping and CHEERS!