Supermarket Wine: It’s Come a Long Way, Baby

on 17/01/15 at 11:53 am


images22SIBLINGS COMMONLY hold differing views, and my sister Arian and I are no exception to this particular rule. But we are probably furthest apart when it comes to the way we shop for wine. While I buy mainly from small- and medium-size wine merchants in New York and New Jersey, Arian, a resident of suburban Dallas, prefers to shop for wine at her local grocery store.

Supermarkets and mass merchandisers (e.g., Wal-Mart ) accounted for an estimated 42% of all retail wine sales in the U.S. and $8.6 billion in annual sales in 2014, according to Danny Brager, SVP of alcoholic beverages for Nielsen. In other words, my sister is a very typical wine consumer. Arian usually buys wine at the same time she buys groceries for her family.

This is in keeping with the stereotype that women are the primary buyers of wine in grocery stores. It’s a notion that is so well established that the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, noted it in a speech last year regarding a proposed change to Pennsylvania’s liquor laws (which prohibit supermarket wine sales): “I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into a grocery store, particularly a lot of the women…buy a bottle of wine for dinner…buy a six-pack or two six-packs, buy dinner and go home,” said the Keystone State Governor.