Buying wine from your local supermarket can certainly be convenient, but finding a good bottle among those of questionable quality — not to mention overwhelming quantity — can be challenging.
To find out how to make the best supermarket selections when a specialty shop is not an option, VinePair asked sommeliers across the country what grocery store bottles they’re grabbing when they’re in a pinch.
“It might be surprising, but my go-to supermarket wine is a box wine called ‘From the Tank’ by natural wine importer Jenny & Francois Selections. They make three wines, a white, a rosé, and a red. All three are really solid and well crafted and perfect for everyday drinking. The medium-bodied red comes from older Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan in the Rhône and has notes of pepper and brambly berries with lively acidity. I wish more wineries would put their wines in boxes as it’s a great way to keep wine fresh for a longer time, which is perfect when you only want a glass or two.” — Angela Gargano, Director of Wine & Spirits, Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT
“Matua Sauvignon Blanc with my frozen pepperoni pizza.” — Jay Pyle, Assistant General Manager/Beverage Director, Rosalie Italian Soul, Houston, TX
“For red, you can usually find a good Nebbiolo blend like Langhe Rosso. Or if it’s the time of year, Beaujolais Nouveau. For whites, I stick to high-acid and cheap. Riesling, Muscadet, and cheap bubbles are all my go-tos.” — Zac Adcox, Sommelier and Beverage Director, Indo, St. Louis, MO
“Tre Monti, Vigna Rocca. It’s a natural skin-contact wine. $12 at Trader Joe’s.” — Dan Skinner, General Manager, Chinese Tuxedo, New York, NY
“I always try [to] find lesser-known regions in grocery stores. My local store has started carrying some great wines from Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine and Beaujolais. They always come in under $20 and are the best bang for your buck, especially if you need party pleasers.” — Ashley Broshious, Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier, Zero Restaurant + Bar, Charleston, SC
“My good experiences within the ‘supermarket genre’ have been few and far between. Living in NYC allows for excellent wine shops within five to 10 minutes’ walking distance. Often my supermarket purchases have happened during family visits for the holidays when they send out the ‘wine guy.’ Jordan Chardonnay or Cabernet is often my go-to, run-in-and-run-out option. These wines carry a well-known name and shy away from the high-alcohol, overly sweet wines one often finds in the California section of a grocery store.” — Scott Woltz, Beverage and Wine Director, Quality Branded, NYC/Denver/Miami Beach, FL
“Louis Jadot Beaujolais Village or Pinot Noir. It’s ubiquitous and consistent, and only $9 to $10 a bottle. Unless I’m in a specialty wine shop, I never spend more than this on a bottle of wine.” — Andrey Tolmachyov, Wine Director and Head Sommelier, Maude, Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA
“I believe a woman should always have a bottle of Champagne in her fridge. It’s quite handy for impromptu gatherings, guests, people to impress, etc. There is nothing that makes an occasion feel more special than excellent Champagne. When I am shopping in a market or wine store, I always check to see what bubbles are available. I have found on many occasions amazing deals and buys.” — Christina Kang, Beverage Director, The Breslin, New York, NY
“I usually find the wines of Chateau Ste. Michelle [are] always good values and extremely well made for the money. The reds and whites are all equally delicious!” — Barbara Werley, Master Sommelier, Wine Director, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Dallas, TX
“Rosé is my go-to grocery store wine because it is so simplistic and ephemeral for everyday drinking. My favorite grocery store rosé brand is Château des Annibals. It uses the grapes Cinsault and Grenache for its blend, and is a classic Provence style with bone-dry notes of raspberry and currant.” — Brooke Warden, Owner and Sommelier, Pink Cactus, Charleston, SC