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  • Cheers to Holiday Wine Savings!

    Whether it's a casual gathering with friends or the traditional family Christmas meal, holiday celebrations and wine go together like Santa and cookies.  We hoped you saved a lot on our 20% off Wine Sale this weekend, but the good news is that it's still the perfect time to stock up and say “Cheers!” to your savings on great wines. And since it can be overwhelming to buy wines sure to please everyone at the party, we wanted to share these simple tips.

    Think Variety. Holiday parties usually involve a large variety of foods, including appetizers and desserts. So don't limit the wine selection to the main course. Provide a variety of wine selections including a sparkling wine, a white wine and a red wine.

    Bubbles or Bust. Sparkling wine, or Champagne, makes every holiday activity feel more festive. And it will work for brunch, lunch and dinner parties. Don't be afraid to add a little dash of color to the bubbles with a splash of cranberry juice and a few fresh cranberries.


    Holiday Wine

    Go Corkless. It's become more common to find great wines with screw caps instead of corks. So you can ditch the hassle of a corkscrew – especially handy at a large party.

    Bulk Buy. If you find a wine you know you love, go ahead and buy in bulk. And if you're not hosting the holiday parties this year, it's the perfect hostess gift to bring along. Just don't show up empty handed!

    Go ahead and raise your glasses, then toast to your favorite people!

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  • Our Top Picks for the 2012 Wine Sale!

    Hi, I’m Carol, Assistant Wine Buyer for Grocery Outlet.  Are you excited about this year’s November Wine Sale? I know I am! Starting this Wednesday, November 7th, it runs for 5 days until Sunday, November 11th.  During the sale, all stores will have a 20% discount off on every bottle! With this discount added to Grocery Outlet’s everyday low prices, you can save from 40-70% off what you’d pay at a conventional store.

    Our team has been working hard to stock up your local stores with great wines to give you the best variety and quality.  Here are my two top favorite recommendations:

    Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Extra Dry Sparkling ($5.99 retail, sells elsewhere at $11.99)—I helped host a bridal shower for my dear friend who was getting married two weeks ago. I decided to pick up a bottle of Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Extra Dry Sparkling Wine at my local Grocery Outlet to make Bellinis & Mimosas. Boy, was it a hit! The wine had a perfect hint of sweetness, with aromas of crisp orchard fruit and honeysuckle.

    You don’t have to make Bellinis or Mimoas with Woodbridge like I did, because it also tastes great alone and pairs well with Asian appetizers, creamy cheeses, spicy dishes like Thai curry, or custard desserts such as panna cotta with fresh berries. Pop open a bottle to enhance everyday events, or whenever a little celebrating is in order.

    Mondavi Woodbridge

    Let’s step away from the sparkling and go into the red wine category.  If you are a fan of Cabernets then I’ve got the perfect wine for you.

    Mazzocco Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99 CA, $13.99 all other states; sells elsewhere for $29.99)—Mazzocco Sonoma winery is very well known and is located in Healdsburg, CA (the heart of Sonoma County wine country). They are so renowned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited them to the Department of State to join the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership.  Mazzocco Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon also received the Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

    Aromas of cassis, cacao and forest floor lead to a plush mid-palate impression having dark chocolate, allspice and black licorice notes.  It’s the quality you'd expect from a Cabernet. For a Gold Medal winner, a $12.99 retail price when it drinks like a $25-50 bottle is a very impressive wine.


    Be sure to take advantage of our wine selection during the wine sale!  For 5 days only, all of your favorite wines could be yours at 20% off!  Or you might take the chance to try something new.  At these prices, you can afford to!

    Cheers from Grocery Outlet!

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  • Bargain TV: Wine Sale Reviews

    Wow! 20% off every bottle in the store! It only happens twice a year and the time is now. Watch this week's Bargain TV as Christopher reviews just 3 of the hundreds of different wines available at our Big Wine Event.

    So, thoughts on Chris's beard? Or your favorite wine? Leave a comment and let us know!

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  • Semi-Annual Wine Sale!

    Starting tomorrow, March 7th, wine is 20% off at Grocery Outlet!  For 5 days only, from March 7th-11th, all wine company-wide is 20% off.  With this discount added to Grocery Outlet’s everyday low prices, you can save from 40-70% off what you’d pay conventionally.  Come in and stock up!


    20% off Wine Sale

    And here are some tasting notes on some great wines we currently have in stock to give you some ideas on what to get during the sale:

    The 2008 Renwood “Red Label” Barbera displays aromas of black currant and cola. On the palate, the wine has more tannin than we normally see in a Barbera, with a smooth core of dark fruit flavors, and crisp acidity—this varietal’s signature trait.  A finish that lingers, with flavors of plum and cassis, balances the wine.  
    Grocery Outlet price: $3.99
    With 20% off discount: $3.19
    Save $5.80—65% off the retail price!   

    The Bixler Vineyards Union Island Red Table Wine exhibits rich, ripe, forward fruit, with flavors of ripe cherries, plums and berries, with a hint of French oak. This hearty wine is very approachable, pairing nicely with most any grilled red meat, sausages, winter stews or soups, pizza or marinara pasta dishes.
    Grocery Outlet price: $2.99
    With 20% off discount: $2.39
    You save $7.60—76% off the retail price!

    The Bixler Vineyards Union Island White Table Wine smells of citrus, with rich, ripe fruit and flavors of grapefruit and a hint of banana. No oak was used during aging, allowing the ripe fruit to be fully expressed in the finished wine.  This white wine blend will complement grilled chicken, pasta with pesto or white sauce, or any fish dish.
    Grocery Outlet price: $2.99
    With 20% off discount: $2.39
    You save $7.60—76% off the retail price!

    If you’re a chocolate lover, the best wine to drink with chocolate is chocolate wine!  Recommended by The Seattle Times, Chocolate Shop Red Wine is a deep, ruby red wine blended with rich, velvety chocolate. Inviting aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate combine in the glass and continue on the palate surrounded by hints of cocoa powder.  
    Grocery Outlet price: $9.99
    With 20% off discount: $7.99
    You save $7—47% off the retail price!

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  • Refreshing Summer Sips

    We're kicking off the weekend with the latest Bargain TV episode. Don't let this summer slip away without enjoying a refreshing Summer Sip.

    What's your favorite beverage to sip when the weather is hot? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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  • Doug Visits Australia

    Doug Due, our Director of Wine and Beer, recently traveled to Australia for a big wine buying trip.  Grocery Outlet's purpose is to provide quality products at extreme bargains, and sometimes we have to travel around the world to do that!


    Australian Vineyard

     Vineyard in Australia's Barossa Valley


    Here's my interview with Doug about his trip:

    What locations did you visit? Sydney, Hunter Valley, Gold Coast, Griffiths/Riverina, Melbourne, Adelaide, Barossa and McLaren Vale Valleys.

    What's the best growing season in Australia? 
    Australia is on the Southern side of the world so they are just the opposite of our growing seasons.  They harvest in February and March, we harvest in September and October.

    What's unusual or specific about Australian wines?
    Australia wines are very similar to California in style—Australians are the best producers of Shiraz in the world and they also do well with Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Are there any wines coming down the chain from Australia that you're excited about?
    We're bringing in Barossa and McLaren Vale Shiraz that we can sell at $5-6 a bottle. Other retailers are selling the same wine for $18-30 a bottle. I'm excited to provide that value to our customers!

    Do other countries provide better bargains than the U.S.?
    The simple answer is yes. Producing wines in California can be more expensive than Australia or South America—the cost of land, building a winery, and hiring employees can all be more expensive. That's a very general statement and there are always going to be exceptions, but overall, Australia and South America can offer better bargains because their cost structure is less.

    The extension of that question is how does that benefit our customers?  The more competition we have for our shelf space the better.  By working with other countries, our California partners have to provide as good if not a better value to earn shelf space.  Some countries do a better job with a specific varietal, for example Argentinian Malbec, Chile Carmenere, Australian Shiraz, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are all top varietals, and that's reflected in their value.

    What's your strategy in regards to traveling to different countries to buy?
    We want to buy the best wines from the best regions in the world.  With our buying power and efficiency of supply chain, we can offer varietal and regionally correct wines beating our competition on quality at the same price point or beating them on price while matching their quality. We're very proud of that.

    Thanks Doug! And welcome home.

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  • Wine Travels to Chile and Argentina, complete with earthquake!

    A couple weeks ago, our Wine Director, Doug Due, and VP of Purchasing, Steve Wilson, traveled to Chile and Argentina to source some fantastic South American wine.  South America is a current "hot" region to buy wine from, given the increasing quality of the wine, plus the still inexpensive price of the wine.

    Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the ninth largest producer. The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère.  

    Argentina is the fifth largest producer, and has a rich wine history, dating back to the 16th century, when the Spanish imported grape vines to the region.  Argentina is best known for its Malbec and Torrontés wines, though Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and other international varieties are becoming more widely planted.


    Chilean Vineyard

    Doug and Steve’s first stop was in Santiago, Chile.  They visited several wineries, cherry-picking great wines.  One of the more exciting finds was Carménère wine, made from a grape found almost exclusively in Chile, although its origins are the Bordeaux region in France.  For more on Carménère, click here.
    On Wednesday, Steve and Doug flew to Mendoza, Argentina and met with 19 wineries on Thursday and Friday.  Doug is especially excited about the Malbec wines he found.  Malbec is celebrated as an Argentine varietal, though like the Carménère, it traces its origins back to Bordeaux.  Malbec is a very intense wine, so it is also commonly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to create the red French Bordeaux claret blend.  For more on Malbec, click here.

    On Saturday, our intrepid adventurers were scheduled to fly back to Chile, but the Chile earthquake woke them up at 3:34 am!  Mendoza is 105 miles from Santiago, which is itself 100 miles from the quake’s epicenter.  The Andes dampened the effects of the quake—Mendoza shook, but did not receive anywhere near the devastation that Chile encountered.  Still, Steve said, it was quite scary to be woken up by the hotel rolling and shaking.   Instead of flying back home through Santiago, Doug and Steve transferred to flights out of Buenos Aires.  We’re happy to have them back safe and sound!

    Doug says that we will be planning a South American wine promotion in a month or two.  Since the earthquake damaged a lot of the export infrastructure, we’re still waiting for the wine to show up.  Still, when that wine comes in, it’s going to be fantastic!

    “Look for quality and pricing on par or better than what we had for Australia,” Doug says.  “We’re very excited to bring you top-quality wines at bottom-of-the-barrel prices.”

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  • Wine 101: How Grocery Outlet Buys Wine

    It’s not a stretch to say that Grocery Outlet has the best deals on wine in town.  Our process for sourcing fantastic wines at incredible deals is a little out of the ordinary, so we’d like to shed a little light on it for you.

    The 3-Tier System

    99% of total wine sold in the U.S. is moved through a 3-tier system, and wineries are the first tier.  While wineries put their heart and soul into the wines they make, they do not have the ability to sell all of their wine direct to the consumers, so they work with importers and distributors to market, sell, warehouse and deliver their product to the local wine shops, restaurants and liquor stores that sell most of the wine in America.

    The second tier in the 3-tier system is made up of the importers and in-state distributors.  Importers and distributors choose the wineries they represent, and develop a ‘Book of Brands’.  Most large importers and distributors will offer all varietals from the most famous wine growing regions of the world.  Smaller distributors are usually more specialized in what they offer, sometimes only selling wines from a specific country or region.  

    All importers and distributors bring wine into their warehouse and have salespeople that visit the wine buyers at the local wine shops, restaurants and liquor stores.  These salespeople take samples to the wine buyers, who taste the current vintages available for sale.  Wine buyers try to pick and choose wines that fit their customers’ taste or flavor profile.  The only wines offered are those represented by the importers and distributors.  As a result, buyers only have access to wines represented by importers and distributors within this system.

    The third tier in the 3-tier system is the retailer or restaurant that sells the wine to the consumer.  There are many different reasons why wine buyers chose one wine over another, but most are knowledgeable about wine, their customer base, and what they can sell.  This is why you see a large difference between a grocery store selection and a fine wine shop, from a Steak House wine list to an Italian restaurant.  

    How does Grocery Outlet come in?

    The 3-tier system is very inefficient: there’s a lag from when the winery releases the wine to when the importer and distributor have the wine available to show and sell, so sometimes they miss the window of opportunity.  Also, importers and distributors sometimes buy wines and find they cannot sell the wine at a certain price or in a specific market.  All of these inefficiencies create opportunities for non-traditional retailers like Grocery Outlet.

    The industry average is 90-95% efficiency.  In most years, importers, distributors and wineries will sell most of their wines, but almost always there’s some wine remaining.  If a winery produces 10,000 cases and is 95% effective as selling their wines, they have 500 cases at the end of the year; if a winery produces 5,000,000 they have 50,000 cases.

    These overstocks are most of what Grocery Outlet buys.  The wine can be from the winery, importer or distributor.  Past vintages are opportunistic buys, because once a vintage has been replaced by a newer vintage, the salespeople stop showing the older vintage.  Older vintages become a storage expense, not a sales opportunity.  Wineries, importers and distributors have money tied up in this stock.   To quickly move through non-performing inventory, wineries, importers, and distributors will sell the wine at cost or even a loss.

    This is why Grocery Outlet can offer wines that were sold 6 months ago at 20-35% of regular retail.  This is the first of several postings that will help you understand who we are and how we find you such great deals.


    Wine Buyer for Grocery Outlet

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  • Marilyn Merlot 2005 at Grocery Outlet!

    Great news for wine collectors and enthusiasts: we have the collectible Marilyn Merlot 2005 at a Grocery Outlet near you!

    Classic Queen of the Silver Screen, Ms. Monroe’s namesake bottle aims to please. Lush and fruitforward, this Merlot has 12% Cabernet Sauvignon to add some punch. You’ll love the blackberry, cherry, dark chocolate and smoke flavors to accompany a wide range of cheese or meat dishes or to liven up a home screening of “Some Like it Hot”.

    The best news of all? This wine normally retails at $27.99 elsewhere. We have it for $14.99, almost 50% off the retail price!

    Collectors: don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to take home Napa’s Marilyn Merlot at a great price. Enjoy a classic!

    Marilyn Merlot

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