The Buy Local Wine Challenge

Buy Local! It makes sense supporting local businesses; higher profit margins, more money stays in the local economy and the capacity to create jobs increases. For the New Year, I vocalized my desire to buy more of my wine locally. I am extending this challenge to all of my wino friends. The resolution is not to buy ALL of my wine locally, just more of it. I commit, where possible and when fiscally responsible (I’ll explain later) to purchase most of my wine from local wine shops or directly from the winery.

Buy Local Wine

Who’s with me? Does it make sense? For me, this is a major departure from the way I traditionally buy wine. My wine purchases typically come from the grocery store, Costco, and occasionally from a local shop near our home. Going local will mean going out of my way to make an additional stop. Our ‘good wine’ purchases tend to come from our bi-annual trips to Washington wine regions.

2010 also brings a challenge to try ‘new’ and interesting wine. I’ve been challenged by my friend James Yates (@winecentury on twitter) to join the Wine Century club where I taste 100 different grape varietals. Currently, my total is at 42. Have you made the Wine Century club? Who’s with me on this journey? What is your starting number?

Financial responsibility is important. Nothing irks me more than buying something only to find out that I could have gotten it cheaper at another store or online. In a recent post on www.corkd.com Robert Dwyer (@RobertDwyer on twitter) posed the dilemma of buying local or buying for the best deal. This is a challenge for local retailers who have less buying power and run on higher overheads. In our global economy the local retailer MUST compete on price AND relationship. If the local shop offers no additional benefit, service or connection then the price will always win. Wineries should also keep this in mind when selling in their tasting room. I recently purchased a nice $48 bottle of wine at a winery only to hear of a blogger friend who picked it up “on sale” for $29. To be honest, this pissed me off. I have a local buying price threshold. This is the difference in price I’m willing to pay for the service, experience or relationship that the local store offers. My max threshold runs around 8-12% (depending on the price bracket). In the case of the wine mentioned above, I would be comfortable with paying $48 FROM the winery even though it could be purchased for $40 at the box store. For the $16 discount wine at the grocery store, I’m okay paying $20 at a local shop (but not $22 or $24).

My 2010 approach to wine is to support local wine for most of my wine purchases. The two caveats revolve around selection and price. If I discover a wine that fits my goals to have new experiences while at Costco, then I’ll buy it. If the wine is consistently 10% or more less at a box store, then it may get my business, especially if the local retailer offers little or no additional value (relationship, experience, or knowledge).

What are your thoughts? Do you have a price threshold? Are you ready to join me on my 2010 Wine Challenge?

Buying Wine “Locally” in Spokane

Are we missing your favorite Spokane Wine Shop? Email us at josh@nectarcoffeeandwine.com

15 Spokane Wineries

 Bottles

  • 3319 North Argonne Road Spokane Valley, WA
  • (509) 443-4027 

Huckleberry’s

  • 926 South Monroe Street Spokane, WA
  • (509) 358-8955

 Left Bank Wine Bar

 Niko’s Wine Bar

Rocket Market

 Vino! A Wine Shop

  • 222 South Washington Street, Spokane, WA
  • (509) 838-1229‎
  • vinowine.com

 WineStyles

Yokes Fresh Market Stores  (6 Spokane Locations)

Williams Seafood Market & Wines

  • 10627 E Sprague, Spokane Valley WA 99206
  • (509) 922-4868

Jim’s Home Brew & Wine

drinknectar

Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

20 comments on “The Buy Local Wine Challenge

  1. Kevin Glowacki

    1 – I’m at 82 for sure, but probably missed a few in the Wine Century Club challenge. I also have the advantage of having once been in the trade. The hard part is remembering every grape in every blend I ever had. I could go through all my tasting notebooks, but right now, I’m not that ambitious.

    2 – I like the idea of buying local, but living in GA, we have much more limited options. Plus, and no offense to GA wines, I prefer riper styled wines, especially for reds. We just don’t get that here, plus the industry is still very young. I see potential and will continue to try the wines and buy when I enjoy.

    3 – I try to always buy at local shops and avoid the warehouse clubs and Big Box stores, but sometimes I find a deal or a wine I can’t get anywhere else. For example, I got a bottle of 1996 Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame for $99 at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Compared that to at least $160, plus it was a 1996 and being the Champagne sucker I am, I couldn’t pass on it.

    Great post as always!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Kevin

      82! You’re so close. I feel for your challenge of living in a state that has limited production.

      It think it’s awesome that you try to support the local shops. Do they usually compare on price or is there a standard % increase that you’re okay with paying?

      Josh

      Reply
  2. Frank Gutierrez

    Cheers my friend. I am a big supporter of buying wine locally. Although I am a native to Napa Valley, I do find myself buying more Napa wines than any other appellation. Love to support my home town but sometimes Napa makes it very hard to do so with the high prices. Starting to find myself buying more Sonoma wines. No harm in supporting my neighbor, right?

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Frank, what a tough life to live in Napa and so close to Sonoma. I feel for ya, bro! Good luck and thanks for supporting local wine!

      Josh

      Reply
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  4. Randy Watson

    I’ll definitely join you on expanding my palate. I don’t think I’ll join the Century Club, but I will try to pick out bottles and seek out samples from regions, wineries, and types of wine that I have never tried before!

    Great post and I love the new site!

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Randy!

      How many grapes do you think you’re at? Do you usually buy your wine from local shops, online, or direct from wineries?

      Reply
  5. Shannon Casey

    I would take your challenge one step further and challenge people from states other than California, Washington, and Oregon to try some local wine from their state. I am not looking to buy all local wine, but they may be surprised if they put a few bottles of local wine into their rotation.

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      I totally agree, Shannon! It might be beneficial for you to re-post this on your site that caveat on it. You’re obviously doing a fine job of getting the word out about Michigan wine! I wish you success!

      Josh

      Reply
  6. boozebrotherz

    Local wine shops, although not always the cheapest, are the best resource for targeting exactly what you’re after, taste and mood wise. Our shops here in Chicago are great about this. Although once in a while a big box purchase is needed to make something work, usually getting to know your local shop is not only a great way to find good wine, keeps money right where you live.

    Thanks for the great post today.

    Reply
  7. Scott Abernethy

    I almost always buy wines directly from wineries because I belong to so many wine clubs, and I can barely keep up with my shipments! I will occasionally buy a local wine at a grocery store if I’m in a pinch. The only time I buy at a big box store is if it is a non-Washington wine that is not available anywhere else.

    However, I must admit, Costco has some very good prices on some local Washington wines that are priced at or below the discount prices offered through the winery’s wine clubs! For wines that they have released to outlets like Costco, I would probably go ahead and buy – the winery has already made a marketing decision to offer their product to the masses, and it saves me a drive up the valley!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Scott, how many wine clubs are you a part of? I think that is an awesome way to buy local. Do you get upset when your wine club wine can be found elsewhere for less money? (maybe 15% less)

      Reply
  8. Ron

    Do you mean just buying from locally owned stores, or are you going to try and drink more Washington state wines in 2010?

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Ron, I plan on buying more from locally owned stores AND wineries (which would be those here in town). I love WA wine, but in my scope is to drink more variety too (other countries, other grapes.)

      How about you? How do you buy your wine?

      Reply
  9. Ben Simons

    Hey Josh, somehow I missed this post when you first made it. I love your ideas here. I definitely try to buy locally as much as possible. I am fortunate to have the major grocery store here be a locally owned chain. I mostly shop there, or at one of the locally owned liquor stores. I have also been trying to ramp up my drinking of Texas wines, and have really been enjoying it.

    As for the Wine Century Club, I have been working my way through this. I started my list from scratch so that I could chronicle my progress through my blog, but I should still count up my real totals, just for my curiosity. I’m really having fun trying new things, and I look forward to continuing my journey through the wine world.

    Reply
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  11. Kenton R. P. Fabrick

    That is what our website is all about. Find local wine that’s good and buy it!

    Reply
  12. Sip with Me!

    Somehow I missed this post too, glad I found it now though. I accept your challenge, and have committed to doing this very thing. About finding the wine cheaper elsewhere: please keep in mind that you have no idea what that bottle at Cosco has gone through before it arrived on their shelf. How much heat, cold, light, vibration etc was it exposed to? Does this affect the quality? Sometimes I get annoyed when I see wines I purchase at the winery cheaper on the shelves at the store, but how long have they been sitting there in less-than-optimum conditions. Perhaps worth taking into consideration, especially when purchasing wines for cellaring or special occasions. And I’m so intrigued by the Century Club, oh la la!

    Reply
    1. drinknectar

      Tamara – I never thought of the bottle shock aspect of wine. That’s another strong selling point for buying local.

      Have you figured out how far along you are in the wine century challenge?

      Reply
  13. Catherine/quesoyvino

    Hey Nectar, Loved your blog & the shout out on Twitter. Have you ever tried a Pedro Ximenez that’s not been produced in a sherry style? I have one for sale from Vinedos de Ithaca Odysseus, a white Priorat which is an oddity in itself. Really rare fascinating wine. Thanks for going local!!!

    Reply

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