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Five Tips for Shopping a Big-Box Wine Store

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We love shopping locally, but let's face it: There are times when you find yourself in a national chain shopping for wine. It's overwhelming to take in aisles and aisles of choices and it seems there's always a sale going on. Here are five tips to help you come home with a winning wine. Er- wines.

See also: - AZ Wine Merchants Included in Food & Wine's "25 Places to Drink Wine Now" - Masters of Wine: The Test

1. Ask for help. "Every BevMo! has a level one sommelier trained to guide you in your wine purchase," says Kris Mulkey of BevMo! It's especially good to ask for help if there's more than one particular wine you're looking for or if you know the name of the wine, but not the type (merlot, blend, pinot grigio etc.) They roam the store regularly and have access to high-tech computer inventory systems that can track down almost any wine.

2. Don't be desperate. Like the rule of not going to the grocery store hungry, don't go to a box store desperate for a sale. Really. While sales are great, and BevMo!'s 5 cent wine sale is famous, but don't be swept up into buying a case of something just because its on sale. Not everyone wants to drink that b-level merlot for the next month or two just because it was sixty cents for the case. You'll also want to stay away from the trinket-ish cocktail napkins or coasters and the like, you're here for wine....not to purchase items the dollar store can generally supply. 3. Use the services. These big stores often offer everything from home delivery and pre ordering for pick-up in store to wedding registries and rewards programs. With some programs you'll earn a 5% or receive special notifications on your favorite labels. Total Wine just launched a wine & food app for your phone that they developed in collaboration with Wine Spectator. These are often things local stores don't offer, so take advantage of them if you shop box stores often.

4. Browse online ahead of time and make a list. Not only do some stores offer in-store pickup, many let you browse online to see what's in store and what's available for shipping. Some websites tell what price you'll fine a particular wine at in the store, and what aisle it's in for swifter shopping.

5. Use them to find a favorite. Go for a tasting, which usually happen on the weekends. They're typically free depending on the laws in your area and it beat waiting in line at a big box retail clothing store. Additionally, tastings wines are often on sale, so if you fine something you like, you'll also be saving a bit of money. Find a few favorites you know the store carries regularly and if you're traveling or in a rush -- you'll always know where to find a favorite standby.

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