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Total Wine & More


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#1 Really Nice!

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 02:45 AM

Anyone been here yet? I went in today for the first time. It shares the space with Uwajimaya in the old Larry's Market location. Both stores are huge and I don't recall Larry's being larger than either one.

When I first got in the store I saw the shelf talkers along the top of an aisle with descriptions like Big and Bold, Fragrant and Fresh, Fruity and blah, blah, blah... I thought to myself, Crap! I hate it when they organize wines under those descriptions. Just tell me the frickin' grape! I'll never be able to find something. It turns out this was just one aisle that was organized like this; the wines here are also located in their respective aisle sorted by grape and or country.

Great selection of wines from once-in-a-lifetime wines to a long aisle under-$10 range. Don't know about the liquor selection or prices as I don't induldge in that. They had a very good selection of beers from around the country that I've never seen before. Unfortunately, Thommyknocker of Wyoming still doesn't distribute to WA. :angry:

I ended up buying a case of 3 different cheap and cheerful 'house' wines. I can see myself going back here as the prices of these wines were $4-$5 less each than at other places where I usually buy these. Not only did I save ~$50 but I also got the obligatory 10% discount. I also saw some wines that were so incredibly low that they are not included in the case discount. The shelf talker said they were bought directly from the winery. I might go back and search those out.

One small nit is their selection of red burgundy. I don't know what it is about this town but it's really hard to find a good variety of that stuff, and that includes McCarthy & Schiering.

There are good write-ups on Yelp.

I hear we also have a bev-mo in Tacoma at 2330 South 37th Street. Next day off...

#2 Lauren

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:57 PM

...
One small nit is their selection of red burgundy. I don't know what it is about this town but it's really hard to find a good variety of that stuff, and that includes McCarthy & Schiering.
...


Have you tried The Vineyard? Paul says they specialize in red Burgundy and Patrick, the owner, is very knowledgeable about it.
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#3 Really Nice!

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:09 AM

Have you tried The Vineyard? Paul says they specialize in red Burgundy and Patrick, the owner, is very knowledgeable about it.

No I haven't, but it looks like an easy Vespa ride to get there... Friday. I just looked at their specials and saw '01 Ampius (Côte Rôtie, Northern Rhône) at $110, 27% less than the average Wine-searcher price. Saaaaay...

Since the title of this thread is "Total Wine & More" I thought I add more to it and report that I went down to BevMo in Tacoma today. I've never been to one before, but my expectations were set high based on comments from people who have visited their stores in CA and AZ.

Even though BevMo is across the street from Costco (bonus points!), I have to give the nod to Total Wine and this is just based on wine selection. The selection at BM is quite limiting compared to TW. I think TW is about 2 to 3 times larger, and I don't know if the square footage at BM in Tacoma is apropos to other BMs around the country, but the wines they have are kind of pedestrian 'wedding' type wines. At the price point above $15 I didn't see anything that I haven't seen at any other wine shop. Maybe this will change once the shakeout at the distributor level occurs?

BM had 4 different Cabernet Franc bottlings, whereas TW had at least 16 linear feet of CF. The red burgundy selection at BM was about equal to a QFC/Safeway. :angry:

Both had American wines categorized by grape variety. BM had international wines by country sorted... I don't know how. I looked at France and saw Chinon (1 selection) one the same shelf with Rhone, Burgundy... Also, TW not only has the international wines separated by regions (Spain, for example had Rioja and Ribera del Duero; Italy had the 3 Bs...) but the entire store had each section of wines shelved in alphabetical order. BM did not; the $9 and under wines were on the bottom shelf, and after that I don't know how they decided to shelf their bottles.

As for pricing, I could only recall a couple of prices at TW when I looked at the prices at BM, and BM is the same on those bottles IF you join the BM club. One of our 'cheap-and-cheerful' (thanks Lauren!) wines is Barnyard Griffen NV Cabernet Merlot. It is consistent year in and year out. It was $7.99 at TW and $9.99 at BM, but if you're in the BM club it's $7.99.

I expect pricing at these new stores to continue to 'battle it out' over the next 6 months or so. I think Thanksgiving will be the first test, with Christmas and New Years following soon after. Watch for the ads. I don't expect my observations to be valid by then.

On a positive note, I filled up the car at Costco for just $3.55 a gallon for premium.

Edit to add: Okay, after all the BM bashing above I did buy a case (12 different bottles) of American pinot there as we're looking for a 'cheap-and-cheerful' pinot that can be our 'house' wine... something under $10 that we can open up on a regular basis without breaking the bank.

Edited by Really Nice!, 18 July 2012 - 12:26 AM.