How To Buy Wine At The Grocery Store, According To A Sommelier

Making dinner is quite a heroic feat. First, there is the handpicking of just the right recipe for the occasion, then there's the seemingly endless list of ingredients you surprisingly don't have already, followed by conquering the curious maze of items you don't need to hopefully locate the ones you do. If not, then there is the science of figuring out substitutions and the rodeo of getting all the bags inside your place in just one trip — all to be done before the cooking even begins! We'd like to pause here to give a shout-out to everyone who pulls this off on a regular basis (or any basis at all). But, let's not forget the wine!

We love a leisure visit to a wine store, especially when the store is offering tastings. Sadly, there's just not enough time to make a separate stop every time you need a bottle of vino. The good news is, you can find wine at a lot of grocery stores. Sommelier Whitney Adams made some helpful recommendations to Joy the Baker on navigating the topic. The good news is the advice is free, and the recommendations are light on the wallet as well!

Look for wine in the $10-15 range

We're all ears (and empty glasses) for gratuitous wine advice, and when it comes to wine, Adams knows a thing or two. Not only is she a sommelier, but she's also written extensively on the subject (even winning a Saveur Blog Award for a former blog, according to her website). Adams' advice for buying grocery store wines is simple. She recommends looking for imported wine in the $10–$15 range. As she told Joy the Baker, "Anything pricier is not worth the extra cash." 

As to the matter of which bottles to buy, Adams says that you can a fine Spanish or French red wine in the grocery store and that either would be a better purchase than a California red wine at the same price point. She also recommends purchasing wine from wine stores if at all possible, because not only will the staff help you find a wine you'll enjoy, but if you return, they can even help you fine-tune your next pick based on your feedback. But, if you go the grocery story route (and we all do sometimes), Adams told Joy the Baker "any wine in the grocery store isn't really gonna blow your mind, so don't let it take your dollars, too." Now, that's a philosophy we can drink to.