POSTED ON January 10, 2010 | IN Wine Bargains, Wine Information, Wine values | BY Joe Becerra

This year should provide a great opportunity for finding wine values and bargains. The word in the wine biz is that, with huge inventories building, wine distributors are being very selective of clients, and with many wineries on the brink of financial disaster we should see many a bargain wine out there. Good wine deals go quickly and the old adage “You snooze, you lose”could not be more true than when it comes to wine sales. If you want to take advantage of these coming wine deals, you need to become a wine sleuth.

How to Become a Wine Sleuth

Always peruse the wine shelves wherever you shop. Learn your wine prices. Last week Safeway stores had an amazing sale on Domain Chandon sparkling wine for $10 a bottle or $9 if you purchased a half case. I saw that same wine earlier in the week at Lunardi’s grocery store. The cases of Chandon were displayed like it was a huge sale. It was selling for $21.95 a bottle. Remarkable!

As I mentioned in a previous post on this blog, you can check these websites to see what a wine is selling for everywhere else. Sometimes what seems to be a deal is just the normal price. Wine Searcher, WineZap, and Snooth.

At Trader Joe’s stores if you see a sign “Hustle Buy,”it means that Trader Joe’s is likely to have purchased the entire inventory of this wine. TJ’s gave the winery an offer they could not refuse. A recent “Hustle Buy”had Sauvignon Republic wine selling for $7 a bottle. This wine is normally $16, but the winery went belly-up and Trader Joe’s bought the entire inventory and was selling this wine well below wholesale prices. Now that is a deal!

If you see a wine deal that is too good to be true, buy a bottle to taste and evaluate. The only problem with this strategy is that by the time you get back to the store it might be gone. Once at a Trader Joe’s store I spotted an unbelievable price for a wine on a “Hustle Buy.”I had never tasted this particular vintage before but the TJ wine guy was raving about the wine. There were only two cases left so I purchased one bottle and went out to my car. In the trunk of my car I keep a small picnic case with a wine glass and corkscrew. I tasted the wine there and without hesitation went back into the store and purchased a case.

Each day you should check these three sites for wine bargains. These sites work much like Trader Joe’s or the Grocery Outlet by buying entire inventories from wineries or wine liquidators.

Wine Woot
Last Call Wines

Another thing you can do is sign up at online wine shops for Wine Alerts emails if they have them. I trust the folks at KL Wines (I know one of the owners), and I subscribe to their Wine Alert email. Just last week I received an email announcing the 2006 Havens Merlot on sale for an astonishing $7 a bottle. The normal price, $20. Wow!

Not everyone has the time or inclination to be a wine sleuth but still wants to know where the wine bargain opportunities are. In that case, you will want to join Good Cheap Vino where over 300 members will do the work for you and tell you where to find the latest wine value and bargains. Happy wine sleuthing to all!