To Wine or Not To Wine

In Texas, my home state, I could grab a bottle of wine while I was at the grocery store which saved me time and money. Wine is so versatile. I cook with it, gift it and drink it. Wine is an all around awesome thing. So, when I moved to Nashville, I was surprised to hear that TN doesn’t allow wine in retail stores, only liquor stores. WHAT? I was pretty upset. Today is a “wine awareness” day of sorts for TN so I thought I’d throw in my two cents. Below is content from an anti-wine-in-retail-stores Facebook page. It has 6 reasons why wine in retail stores is bad for Tennessee. My responses/rebuttals are in red.

–>Why we think wine should only be sold in the liquor store:

1. It is a controlled environment. By putting wine in retail food stores you make it more available. Theft is less likely to happen in a controlled environment. Minors are NOT allowed to come inside (“Must be 21 to enter” is stated on the door). People already intoxicated are spotted easily and will not be sold to if overly intoxicated. – Really? Controlled environment? The last liquor store I went to had one lady up at the front…the back portion of the store was not visible and she was reading the newspaper. She barely looked up at me when I handed her my credit card and didn’t ask for my ID. I think just because it’s a liquor store does NOT mean it’s “controlled”. Grocery stores sell beer already. How is that different? I think grocery stores also use their best judgment when it comes to selling alcohol. This point, to me, is invalid.

2. If wine is put in retail food stores, liquor stores risk becoming an OPTIONAL stop, which greatly hurts and may even kill independent businesses. – This is the only real con I see. Some small business owners will see a decline which is sad. But hey, people still need liquor! There are TONS of liquor stores in Texas doing JUST FINE. Liquor stores have more selling points than just selling wine.

3. Liquor and wine stores elevate the appreciation of wine thru education within the store and by offering wine tastings to the public outside the store. We educate ourselves so that we may educate the customer not only about wine, but about food and wine pairings. We want to broaden customer’s horizons while also keeping in mind their needs and budgets. – That’s really nice but I’ve educated myself, thank you. There is nothing saying you can no longer bring in business by having these events! This point is null.

4. Retail food stores do not need wine. There is enough competition among them as it is. – This makes no sense to me. What does retail competition have to do with wine?

5. Wine has not ever been in grocery stores in Tennessee as long as Prohibition has been over. Why hurt independent businesses today people have spent years of hard work and time creating? Especially if the store is family owned? – Again, you still have liquor. This is not the end of the world folks. If the store is family owned you should have a loyal customer base. Just because the retail stores have something does not mean that I am not loyal to my favorite locally owned businesses. Grocery stores have veggies, but I love the farmers market. Wal-mart has a nail shop in it, but I’m loyal to my favorite shop in Brentwood. You shouldn’t underestimate good service and good customers.

6. If the bill is passed, the retail food store will NOT have a wide variety of wines that liquor stores in Tennessee don’t carry already. Why not just keep all the wine in one place? – If I’m making a white wine sauce, why should I have to buy all the ingredients at the grocery store, then drive and extra 10 minutes just to get one ingredient? Efficiency is the best answer to this question. It’s a matter of convenience and efficiency.

I’m all for wine in stores. Go to (or their blog) to learn more. Feel free to comment, be gentle.


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4 responses to “To Wine or Not To Wine”

  1. @dancedivam says :

    Excellent points, but one point of clarification which only serves to further strengthen your argument: under the proposed legislation, liquor store owners would be allowed to sell mixers, wine glasses, corkscrews, coasters, etc., which would potentially make up for any lost revenue. Currently they are banned from doing so, which makes no sense either.

  2. Jon Warren says :

    Glad to see that I’m not the only transplant from a state where things are different (MI for me, instead of TX) and have been confused by the laws here.

    Heck, back in MI, I’m pretty sure I remember seeing some liquor *in* grocery stores as well as seeing stand-alone liquor *and* wine stores. All thriving just fine.

    The point they seem to always miss, is that alcohol is alcohol — regardless of form of delivery.

  3. Todd says :

    To point number 3, there is only one liquor store I’ve been to in Nashville where anyone has actually been helpful in choosing a wine.

    Typically, you have an indifferent clerk chatting with another clerk and the only words they say to you is “debit or credit?”

    There is very little validity to any of the points from the liquor lobby.

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