A friend I know said he routinely checks over the wine merchandise at the Grocery Outlet on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa. He tells me it’s the best way to keep the economics of being an everyday wine drinker in check.
When I stopped in I was surprised by the transformation. Practically one fourth of the store is devoted to wine with upwards of 500 labels, and the best variety for the everyday wine drinker — value wines that over-deliver at $10 or less.
The Grocery Outlet has joined 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.”
When I 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 in November of 2013.
“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.
If you’re an everyday wine drinker, this place is a treasure for this reason: When you shop for bottlings at $10 or less you never have to experience buyers remorse.