Tom's blog

The death of the wine shop

Having moved to Florida recently, I have been witness to a sad trend in states that allow wines to be sold in grocery stores and other large bulk-food establishments.  I have been a long-time advocate for the convenience of having wine sold alongside food, but the fallout has been devastating to small, specialized wine shops.

I visited every wine shop in Naples in a couple of hours; it took me a couple of weeks to do the same in Maryland where wine is not sold in grocery stores.  

What's the big deal? Try to find a special wine in a grocery store. Try to find a knowledgeable staff person who can tell you want wine to serve with his precious salmon. They don't a damn thing about their wines.

A small wine shop near me happened to close last week because it's owner simply couldn't compete with giants like Total Beverage, Publix, Walmart and others. Now, Florida's governor is about to allow these same large outlets to sell liquor (up until now they have had to separate their liquor stores with a wall).

I like the convenience of picking up a Kendall-Jackson chardonnay while shopping for fish at my local grocery store, but it sucks crossing town to find an Alsace riesling.  

Without these small operations, consumers will be left with the usual plonk to choose from.