[EDIT 10/1/2012: Individual wine reviews now include links to Wine-Searcher to make it even easier to find the wines I recommend locally! In addition I’ve also added links to my favorite online retailer and Reverse Wine Snob advertiser Marketview Liquorfor those that they sell.]
By far, the single most popular question I get asked is: “How can I find the wine you recommend?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. With over 120,000 wines produced each year the average liquor store can only stock a tiny fraction, a few thousand at most. That means when you walk into any given store there are well over 110,000 other wines available that are not represented!
While I try to review many of the really popular labels that are available everywhere, I also love to find those hidden gems which by their very nature will be harder to find. And unfortunately, Reverse Wine Snob is not that much of a force that stores are flocking to intentionally stock the wines I recommend…yet 😉 Although I have heard of a few stores that are using my reviews in their in-store ads, so who knows!
- The first and easiest thing to do is to simply go into your favorite store and ask if they can order the wine you are trying to find! If it’s a good store, you’ll likely be surprised at what they can get for you. The better stores won’t make you order a minimum quantity or charge you anything additional. (You may find the independent stores more accommodating than the big chains.)
- Another easy option is to check the Wine Ranking to see if the wine you’re looking for might be available at Costco or Trader Joe’s. This is not foolproof; however, because inventory varies at each location but you might get lucky. And if you find other of my Recommended Buys at either of these stores please let me know so I can add that info to the Ranking!
- Another great option for finding stores that carry the wine you’re looking for is Wine-Searcher. Simply enter the wine name, your location and a radius and the site will tell you if any of the stores in its large database stock this wine.
- Check with the importer/distributor of the wine. Many importers and distributors have store locators on their website where you can simply enter your location and get the results. There may be a lot more stores carrying the wine in your area than you think! And if they don’t have an online store locator, just send them an e-mail. Most are happy to help you find their wine, that’s their business.
- If none of these options work, then it’s time to buy online (if you can)! Check out my article on How To Buy Wine Online for some easy tips. It’s much easier and more pleasant than you may think.
Speaking of buying online, it’s really a pity the shipping laws are so convoluted and restricted state-by-state otherwise someone like Amazon could come in and really revolutionize the industry. If you are in a state that allows you to receive wine, there are plenty of good sources to order from, but there is no one-stop shop. Try wine flash sale sites or wine clubs like Lot18, NakedWines.com or Club W. The selection may be somewhat limited but the deals can be quite good. (P.S. New sign-ups get discounts through these affiliate links!) My favorite online retailer is Marketview Liquor. My article on How To Buy Wine Online has more sources for ordering online.
Any other tips I missed? Leave a comment and let me know.
Cheers and Happy Wine Hunting!