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Right now more than ever, wine shopping for the home has become an absolute essential. As most of us are on stay at home orders around the world, alcohol and wine sales have skyrocketed dramatically. Although it’s a bummer not being able to go out to wineries and restaurants with our friends, drinking wine at home can have its perks!
A major plus of drinking wine at home is how affordable it can be. Local wine shops typically have amazing selections and the markup in restaurants is usually 2-3X the price of a bottle in a wine store. There are also some great online clubs to get wine from.
In this post I will cover the best places to buy wine, how to navigate a wine shop, and how to build a sampler case. After reading this post you’ll be a pro at buying wine for your home!
Supporting local stores is always important! Not only is this great for your community, but with wine in particular, a local shop is the best place to look. Typically, local wine shops will have unique, hand selected wines from around the world. In a more intimate setting, it’s important to build a relationship with the owner or workers at the shop. This will allow you to ask him or her questions regarding the type of wine you are looking for.
Whatever you do, don’t be shy! People that work in wine shops LOVE to talk about wine. Whether you are new or experienced in wine, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation – you might learn something new! You can ask them if they have any featured wine or specials. If you don’t know much about wine, they can help you find something you’ll enjoy based on a few descriptors of your preferences.
Another perk to shopping at local wine shops is they often do weekly tastings. Ask to get on their mailing list to know what wines they are sampling each week and what new imports they get in.
In the Charlottesville area, my favorite local stores I do my wine shopping at are: In Vino Veritas, Market Street Wine, and Tastings of Charlottesville.
If you are more experienced with vino, wine shopping on the internet can be a great option. Especially if you can’t find something specific in a local shop. Just beware of shipping costs!
Wine Clubs from particular wineries or online subscription services are also an option. I only join a wine club online if I have already been to the winery and know that I love their wines. It’s important to make sure it will be worth it in the long run. A lot of wineries offer awesome discounts and free tastings, so choosing a local winery to join is usually the best way to get your money’s worth!
If you are unsure of what kind of wine you want, an online subscription is a great route to take! Some online subscription services offer quizzes you can take to find your preference of wine, and they will send you a selection based on your answers. They typically will send unique wines from all over the world. Most of them will also allow refunds if you do not enjoy the wine! If you don’t want to have to think too hard about choosing your wine, this option is perfect.
These are some of my favorite wine subscription services:
Knowing how the store is organized is one of the most important parts of wine shopping. Most wine shops are organized by region of the world first. Then the wines are organized by type (usually starting with light bodied whites to bold reds); followed by alphabetical (typically by producer). Knowing this and having an idea of what region and wine variety you are looking for will help save you time and confusion in the store!
The benefit of boxed wine is the amount you get and how long it lasts. If you are having a party with some friends that aren’t wine snobs, this can be a great option! Canned wine is also fun if you are out on the lake or going to a picnic. In my opinion, they aren’t as good as bottled wine, but they can be fun and easy.
When you are out shopping for wine, there are a few essential tips you should remember:
If you are a newbie to buying wine, it’s a good idea to build a sampler case. Especially while we are all stuck at home with tons of time to drink wine… everyday… at home.. this is the perfect way to discover what your preference is! If you’re already more experienced with wine shopping, these are also just some good varieties to have on hand at home.
Below are the 6 whites and 6 reds I would pick to build the perfect sampler case!
I’d love to hear from you all about your top tips for wine shopping! If you have any comments or questions, drop them below! Happy Sipping <3