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Southlake Style

Where do I buy wine?

Apr 05, 2013 11:43AM ● By tina

The DFW area has several great resources when it comes to purchasing wine -

Sponsored by Patrizio Osteria

Written by Ken Kuczwaj, General Manager Patrizio Osteria

The days of the boutique liquor stores are coming to a rapid end with the ever-present industrialization of the Mega Retail Experience.  Gone are the days of going to a mom and pop store where you knew everyone and could find the small specialty wines the larger super chains didn’t carry due to production and availability.  Being in the restaurant business and having some weird encyclopedic mind for wine prices going back twenty years, I have been amazed at the small margins some of these super retail mega stores sell their product.  According to TABC law restaurant wholesale pricing and retail pricing is identical, which begs the question – Where is the best place to buy wine?

Tough question – because if you want the experience of finding rare boutique wines at decent prices and people who are actually passionate about the product, then you have to try places like Pogo’s Wine & Spirits on Lovers Lane in Dallas. Pogo’s is my personal favorite with its killer selection and great prices. I also totally dig Vino 100 Dallas on Mckinney Avenue, which has at least 100 great wines at $25 or less and a well-trained staff.  Now if French wine is your drink of choice, La Cave Warehouse by the design center is the granddaddy of all wine stores. It has an extensive selection, really great prices and an amazing collection of older vintages.

However if price is your main consideration, you can’t beat Costco. I see wines in there all the time at 5%-10% over wholesale cost. Never made sense to me but I guess they know no one ever goes to Costco and buys just one item.  What you don’t get is personalized service or a wide variety of labels, but you do get recognizable brands at insane prices.  Costco is battling government regulation in an attempt to purchase products directly from vineyards, rather than purchasing through distributors such as Glazer’s and Republic.  If successful in its attempts, this would put its competitors at an extreme disadvantage.

As for other big stores, Spec's Wines, Liquors & Finer Foods is new to the DFW market from Houston and is a Disneyland for adults with its tremendous selection of cigars, gourmet foods, wines and spirits. They carry exclusive vineyards in their stores and also have reasonable pricing on certain brands. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and can point the neophyte in the right direction more often than not.

Kroger and Tom Thumb do a decent job regarding price as well as selection, and once in a while they go crazy like last summer when they sold Jordan cab for $25 per bottle, which is way below their cost.

Call me crazy, but I still love the idea of walking into a shop where the staff not only knows you, but also knows what you like and is happy to turn you onto a great wine you’ve never heard of before and remember to tell you what to eat with it.  That’s what I call enhancing the vino experience!

Have fun and happy shopping –