Why Independent Wine Retailers Matter More Than Ever

As the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve holidays approach, a lot of Americans will embark on a once-a-year mission to buy fine wine.

The United States began to adolesce as a wine-loving nation back in the 1970s and 1980s and by the 1990s, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay had become household words and part of the culinary discourse.

In the 2000s, we Americans reached wine-loving adulthood as we began to embrace European, south American, South African, Australian, and Kiwi wine.

And something else important happened during that decade as well: Not only did we begin to drink a lot more wine from countries like Spain and Italy but we also began to look beyond Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne for value and quality in regions of France like the Loire Valley or the Jura, among many others.

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The last fifteen years have been a true “golden age” of fine wine in this country, with more compelling wines available to us as consumers than ever before.

And that’s just one of the reasons that independent wine retailers like the Boulder Wine Merchant matter more than ever.

As our interest in fine wine has continued to expand in this country, the growth of “big box” wine stores has dovetailed with our growing enophilia. It’s part of the “American way”: Bigger is better because it means steeper discounts and a streamlined shopping experience.

And that’s all good and fine when it comes to buying a new stereo or 3-gallon jar of pasteurized mayonnaise.

But when it comes to buying wine, there’s no retail operation that can trump the independent wine shop — sadly, a dying breed today, Boulder Wine Merchant notwithstanding.

At most independent wine shops, you will find staff that is passionate about the wines they sell (and btw, wine and spirits and beer are all they sell).

Their level of devotion to the products they sell is unrivaled in the retail experience.

And that is key when you are buying wine around the holidays, whether to serve at your Thanksgiving feast or to give as gifts for Christmas.

But there’s another thing about the independent retailer that might not be apparent to the naked eye: Independent retailers generally take much greater care in storing the wine that they sell.

What good is a magnum of Champagne that you bought at a big box store if it sat out on the loading dock next to the 3-gallon jar of pasteurized mayonnaise?

It’s true that prices at independent retailers of wine can’t compete with the big box and volume-driven stores.

But when it comes to service, education, and the technical aspects of storing fine wine (and even practical advice on how to store and serve the wine at home), no one in America can touch the independent retailer.

As Boulder’s leader in fine wine sales, the Boulder Wine Merchant is proud to welcome you to our shop this holiday season and we wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for your continued support.