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Category: Retail

The Sandbox

The Sandbox

“He walked in, pulled out a roll of hundreds, and flipped me two,” gnarled the no-nonsense owner of a boutique wine shop. He had been paid by the largest distributor in the state for bringing in ten cases of wine. This is illegal. In his case, a customer requested the cases for a special event—he had no intention of stacking* them in his store. In fact, he thought the wine was shit. He also didn’t know he’d get the payout. From the perspective of…

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How to Lose a Sale

How to Lose a Sale

Step one: Pull the cork on your winery’s award-winning Pinot Noir. Step two: Fail to test the wine for flaws prior to pouring or test the wine and fail to notice flaws. Step three: Pour two-thirds of the bottle to other tasting room guests (title shift, “How to Lose a Silly Number of Sales”). Step four: Pour award-winning wine, while gloating over the award. Step five: Fail to acknowledge a flaw (cork taint, aka TCA) when guest, backed by group of four other tasters,…

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A Romantic Ideal Must Tumble

A Romantic Ideal Must Tumble

I recently read an excellent article on “White Label wines” by Madeline Puckette and Co. over at Wine Folly. Except for one glaring bullet-point: “Some wineries with tasting rooms will make a few own-vineyard wines, but will use bulk wine sources to make their cheaper, lower-end affordable bottlings. We’d ask what’s the point of selling something you pre-bought, rather than making at the winery? But it happens…” It certainly does. Frequently. And understandably so. First, what is bulk wine? Many established wineries…

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The Tiers Produce Tears: Tear it Down

The Tiers Produce Tears: Tear it Down

I recently returned from a marketing trip with my employer, a small Willamette Valley producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. As we explored the Minnesota market, meeting with local wine shops, three separate owners asked pointedly, “Will you be in Total Wine? If so, we won’t carry you.” Early in 2014, Total Wine & More entered Minnesota, grabbed hold, and shook it like a martini. A few locally-owned shops have closed, including the beloved Four Firkins. While appreciated by many buyers for their substantial selection and…

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Buying Wine

Buying Wine

All of us share the experience of buying wine. Wine purchasing can feel anxiety laden, laborious, or blissful. Wine knowledge can thankfully increase comfort and help move a buyer from anxiety to giddy-with-delight. Coming soon, wine literature must reads to increase your understanding. Today, however, let’s focus on where to buy your wine. Who can you trust? Where can you find good deals–value at all price points?  Local Wine Shop First and foremost, find a local shop that you can call…

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Wine Economics Part III: Reputation

Wine Economics Part III: Reputation

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The Bard strikes to the heart again. In many ways, the first two posts on Wine Economics (Part I and Part II) danced around the importance of reputation. Today, we will hit the nail squarely on the head. Haut-Brion, Romanee-Conti, Screaming Eagle (can you tell which winery is in the United States?), Margaux. Want a taste? Go take out a loan first….

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Wine Economics Part II: Varietals

Wine Economics Part II: Varietals

The New World has successfully managed to bring the names of specific grapes (a.k.a. varietals) to the forefront of our minds. Most Old World wines did not traditionally include varietal labeling, opting instead for location specific labeling–Pauillac, Rioja, or Barolo, for example. While much of the Old World continues this original labeling strategy, today I will focus on the varietals within the bottles, regardless of location, and their effect on the bottle price. If you have not read Wine Economics Part…

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