To much of the civilised world, it seems most natural. You walk into your local grocery store or supermarket and walk out with the ingredients for your dinner and a wine to drink with it. This is, after all, the entire point of something called a supermarket - namely that a single, self-service destination should provide for all your needs.
Yet despite the fact that we invented the concept, here in America roughly 29% of the country's population, across 17 states, cannot buy a steak and a bottle of wine to go with it from the same store.
When I can bring myself to contemplate this issue at all, I tend to spend my time vacillating between righteous outrage and utter despair. How is it possible that in the most rabidly capitalist country on earth, where consumer choice has beaten out common sense for decades (monster SUVs, 4000-calorie fast-food meals, Botox - need I go on?), we prevent almost one in three Americans from spending their money when and where they please?
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you're not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It's only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.
Grocery store image courtesy of Rick, via Flickr.
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