I love to shop.  I like to shop for clothes, I like to shop for bags, I like to shop for wine!  So where does a wine blogger shop for such libations?  Well, a few places actually.

First and foremost, for more expensive wines, I really want to taste it before I buy it; so in this case, I’d go directly to the winery or shop where I can try before I by.  this is the best way to get a 100% guarantee that I’ll like the wine.  But what if there is a new wine that I am interested in but don’t know?  In that case, I’ll go to a trusted source or a friend.  But still, I hesitate to do that for anything over $30 for one simple reason – everyone has a different idea of what is good.  Just because you like something I don’t like, doesn’t make it bad, it makes it stylistically different enough that it’s not my thing.  Of course there are those rare bad wines but…

So how does one find new wines?  My favorite thing right now is to experiment with less expensive wines.  With a plethora of online retailers and wine shops popping up, sometimes it’s hard to navigate the best place to shop.

  My favorite e-tailer right now is Invino.  Based in the town of Sonoma, the heart of the rich region, this dynamic team finds wines from all over the world and gives us some amazing steals.  Many wines are up to 70% off of retail.  Wines are hand picked, and the small lots are a great value.  I’ve seen some of my personal favorites at steep discounts, as well as interesting new discoveries.  With new offerings every day, each wine is available for 24-72 hours.  The best part about what Invino does is that if you purchase a wine, they keep some of the stock on reserve so you can repurchase if you like it.  I tend to order 1-3 bottles of a new wine, and then go bakc for more if I really like it.  Wine have excellent QPR, and I have an secret weapon – a friend and fellow wine professional is their wine buyer and so I know if something is offered, it’s going to be great!  I recently purchased a variety of French and Spanish Grenache based wines to fill out my Rhone stock.  The Grenache Blanc I purchased is something I’ve seen at many retail locations for at least $3-5 more.

Occasionally, there are some really interesting wines at BevMo.  During the 5 cent sale, where you buy one bottle and get the 2nd for five cents, you can get some great deals.  Armed by insider knowledge (and a friend who works there occasionally), I can aim for a few specific finds that are tried and tested like Fort Ross Pinot Noir, or some great inexpensive bubbles.  With prices ranging from $10 to $40 for two bottles, I can pick up a few new finds and see what new wines I discover.

K&L Wine Merchants – This local(ish) institution is known for their selection of great wines from around the world, as well as great whiskey.  With weekly specials and a great website full of information, the staff at the K&L wine store will help you pick out anything for any occasion, in your price range.  With locations in LA, Redwood City, and San Francisco, K&L will ensure that your next trip is easy and fast.  When I’m curious about trying wines from a region new to me, or I’m doing a focal tasting, I can rely on the staff to help me pick a few bottles out.  With bottles in every range, I can be comfortably in my budget for any occasion.  They have been a great help when I need to refill my Scotch collection as well!

So stock up for the holidays, and ENJOY!


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