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Wine and Food Matching, But Not In Store

wine_grocery.jpgTo 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?

Continue reading this article on JancisRobinson.Com.

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.

Comments (73)

Jörgen wrote:
03.20.13 at 11:28 PM

:-) i think you answered your own question!?

Anonymous wrote:
03.23.13 at 6:30 AM

Did they abolish the three-tier system overnight? Oh, no wait... It is delusional to think that we live in a "rapidly capitalist country." Alcohol regulation aside, their are way too many government-imposed regulations that prevent the US from following the capitalist model.

dale record wrote:
03.25.13 at 8:28 AM

While it may seem an injustice not to have wine in grocery stores in certain states, how do you justify ioening it up to these behemoths who have huge amounts of cash and will put thousandsf stores currently operating, as well as many thousands more out of jobs? These big stores will not hire any more employees, nor offer better prices. My wife was just in Florida and comparing the grocery sytore prices to ours and we were substantially lower.if you are willing to have huge national brands to choose from, no help or expertise, higher prices and put small business people out of business, go for it!!

Alder wrote:
03.25.13 at 8:56 AM


35 states in this country have proved that your fears are almost entirely unfounded. For decades.


John Skupny wrote:
03.25.13 at 10:07 AM

Maybe I am getting cranky in my old age but it does seem we have something out of balance in the United States. I mean in many states it is easier to buy an assault weapon with a high capacity magazine than a bottle of wine. It is, for sure, easier to transport said assault weapon across state lines and about equal requirements for transporting each on airplanes.. now don't get me started about those corkscrews, infringement,and the second amendment.

Alder wrote:
03.25.13 at 10:27 AM


Good news for you: Starting April 3rd, I believe, you can now take corkscrews on planes again, provided the blade is less than 2.75 cm in length, which should cover all but the most murderous of corkscrews.

As for the rest, you're getting an amen from this choir.


Morey wrote:
03.27.13 at 2:09 PM

I agree, wine should be available wherever food is sold. It is much more convenient than having to go to a separate package store. Since cigarettes are available almost everywhere I don't understand why the restrictions on wine.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.