Today Whole Foods announced the launch of their new national wine club. Here are the details, via Forbes:
[Whole Foods] are also one of the only retailers to employ a Master Sommelier, Devon Broglie, of which there are only 219 in the entire world, most of whom work in the best restaurants.
But what I like most about Whole Foods’ wine department is its regionality and focus on hidden gems, combined with bargain-inspiring buying clout. Unfortunately I don’t have a store anywhere near where I live, but if I did I would buy wine there, and I don’t buy my wine at other supermarkets.
But now I don’t need to have a store near me, because Whole Foods Market is taking its wine offerings to the next level, going truly national. As a lead in to holiday gift season, it is launching a quarterly Wine Club in October, which will offer six hard-to-find wines from around the world per shipment, delivered to your home four times a year.
So what can you expect your quarterly shipments to look like?
Like the wines in the stores, these are curated by Broglie and global beverage buyer Doug Bell, who travel the world’s wine regions looking for bottles emphasizing variety, regional nuances and value. They are mostly limited production wines, from varieties well-known to obscure, still and sparkling. Each half-case shipment is just $125, including shipping.
We did some quick searching around the web to learn what we could about the initial pack:
- Santa Julia Magna 2011 (Argentina) – $10.99/bottle, though according to Wine-Searcher the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is the only current ‘retailer’ in the U.S. who is offering the bottle.
- H&G Los Carneros Pinot Noir 2012 (California) – We couldn’t find this bottle for sale, but a couple others from the winery, which appears to be a private label operation, were in the $12 – $20 range.
- Sea Pines 2013 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley (California) – We couldn’t find any info about this wine or vineyard.
- Ca’Selva Prosecco (Italy) – We found some other bottles from the producer on CellarTracker, though very little info. Here’s Ca’Selva’s website.
- Chateau Boissezon-Guiraud St. Chinian 2012 (France) – We found the 2011 vintage at Wine-Searcher, at two retailers, ranging from $12.99 to $15.99/bottle. A few people have some bottles logged over at CellarTracker.
- Chateau Fonfroide Bordeaux Rouge 2012 (France) – We found the 2010 vintage at Wine-Searcher, at a single retailer (also selling the previous wine) for $11.95/bottle.
Hard to find indeed! If we assume the bottles we couldn’t locate are similarly priced to the ones with limited retail availability, you’re looking at a price of around $75 for the six wines. Given the high cost of wine shipping, this sounds fairly typical. If you have a Whole Foods near you that sells wine, it probably makes sense to go there instead of joining the club – though we wonder if these bottles will be available at brick & mortar shops.
The program, according to the Whole Foods website, is being powered by Wine.com
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