For those looking for deals at $1.99 and up, the Grocery Outlet in Santa Rosa offers plenty to peruse. It has expanded its wine department and now has more than 500 labels.

The Grocery Outlet is the latest to join the ranks of other area grocery stores who take wine seriously. They include G&G, Oliver’s, Pacific Market, Sonoma Market, and Big John’s in Healdsburg.

Melissa Porter at the Emeryville headquarters of Grocery Outlet, said of its 220 stores, the one in Santa Rosa is “among our top stores in variety of wines offered and also is one of the fastest growing in that regard.”

A friend I know said he routinely checks over the wine merchandise at this Grocery Outlet to keep the economics of being an everyday wine drinker in check.

When I stopped in to check out the “merchandise,” I chatted with owner Dave Herout.

“I have a passion for wine so I ramped up our wine department,” Herout explained. “We’re in Wine Country after all.”

Herout owned a Grocery Outlet in the Sacramento area, but he wanted to live in Wine Country so he sold it when the Santa Rosa store opened up.

“Some people in their twenties drink beer and Jack Daniels,” Herout said. “But I was accustomed to drinking wine.”

The store offers roughly 80 percent California labels, with 20 percent imports. Herout said the Grocery Outlet corporation has five wine buyers scouting for deals, and most of the wine at his store ranges from $1.99 to $9.99.