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Buy Wine: Caution and Preach!

Inflated Prices: Where to Buy Wine

I was shopping in my local grocery store the other day.  Even though I rarely buy wine there, I always walk through the department to see what is going on.  This week I stumbled upon two wines that I have talked about in the past: Cote des Roses and Whispering Angel.  Damn, you will pay a hefty premium to buy these wines at the grocery.  Whispering Angel is $31.99 here.  At my local wine store it is $20.59 and at Costco, it is $18.99.  That is $13.00 more than at Costco and $11.40 more than at a small local shop.   Now, look at Cote des Roses “on sale” at $21.99, normally $24.99.  You can get it at Costco for $11.99, $10.00 less than the sale price.  Bottom line.  When you buy top shelf wine at a grocery store you will pay an inflated price.  Buyer beware is all I am saying, buyer beware.

Practice What I Preach: How to Find & Buy Wine

A couple weeks ago I was at a dinner party and the subject turned to Greek wine.  We were discussing Stella’s, the Greek restaurant I posted about earlier in the week and the great rosé I had there.  I was lamenting that there is very little Greek wine sold in Charleston at least that I could find.  As well as I was going to have to dig deep to see if I can special order it if no other option.  Since a local restaurant carries it, I should be able to but you never know.

This is when my friend (a Greek American) said that three years ago (October 3, 2014, to be exact) he was eating at a Greek restaurant in Germany and he drank a really great red wine but he has never been able to find it here in the states.  He then pulled out his phone and said, he even has a picture of the back of the bottle.  I smiled from ear to ear and said, text me the picture and let me see what I can do.  After all, I give an entire page on this website on how to find and track down wine.  Here is a chance to practice what I preach and find both of these wines.

The original picture from his phone at the Greek Restaurant in Germany Oct. 2014

F by Nico Lazaridi | A Merlot – Grenache Blend 2014

I started with the Lazaridi because that one will be harder to locate since I am going to have to start on the Greek winery website. Patience is required because the site is in Greek and Google translation is really slow.  Once on the site, the only thing I could do was to email the sales department and hope that someone would respond.  It is a 50/50 shot so off the email went and all I could do now is wait and see if I get a response.  Other google searches and websites offered no new information so I had to hope the winery would respond.  Tick tock, tick tock.

Gavalas Winery Voudomato 2016

In the meantime, I start looking for the rosé that I order at Stella’s.  This one should be easier because it has the importer listed on the back of the bottle.  There is no website on the bottle so Google and wah-la! I find the importer.  Once I get to the site, I see that they import from some pretty obscure places and Greece seems to be a major component of their business… so I did a search and guess what?  They import both Gavalas and Nico Lazaridi!  SCORE!

The Importer

I get the phone number and place the call in Dionysos Imports in Northern Virginia.  After three attempts I get through to the owner and he explains that he only imports but he has a distributor that sells to North & South Carolina.  He gives me the name and the phone number so I can call to see who in Charleston carries these wines.


The Distributor

So now I call the North Carolina-based distributor who puts me in touch with the South Carolina rep.  Damn, there are no retail stores that stock these wines in the area.  As a matter of fact, they only sell to restaurants in Charleston.  He suggests that I find a store to special order them and he will make it happen.  My preferred store does not want to add a new vendor just for this special order.  I think I am out of luck.  The rep calls me and says, he has a store that will do this for me as a special order.

My Wine Arrives

This entire process started two weeks ago but the amount of time I spent on this in total was probably only an hour.  And now I have a case of wine that I absolutely love and will enjoy for weeks to come.  And my friend who has been looking for this wine since 2014, will also have the wine from a great trip to Germany.  This is a great example of how I explain just how to Find A Wine.  It is not hard bit it does take persistence.

Life is too short.  Drink good wine that you love.  Even if it takes some time to track it down. Practicing what I preach! Drop the Mic.

Next Week – Lesson from a Superstore

Stay tuned…




One Comment

  1. Chris Hatzis

    Thanks Rick for tracking down the Lazaridi! Brings back good memories of that trip. You will have to come over when the coffee runs out and it’s wine time!!

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