Touted “the country‘s largest independent retailer of fine wine“, each Total Wine & More typically stocks over 8,000 wines, and strives to stock “2,500 beers, from America‘s most popular beers to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits from every price range and category“ at each location. As an added bonus, there’s a walk-in cigar humidor and free tastings Thursday-Sunday so keep an eye on their website for details.
This place has a fantastic layout albeit a bit overwhelming at first. I’m not particularly a spirits gal but there’s a dizzying selection for those who’ve been disappointed with the loss of their favorite brand in stores since voters approved to privatize liquor sales back in 2011. For beer fans, state of the art growler stations welcome you in their vast beer department. It’s my understanding beers and spirits will be part of their weekly tasting options.
I love how organized and bright this place is while still retaining some intimacy and ambience. Total Wine & More is big on educating the public as evidenced from all the helpful signage under wines listing useful information such as tasting notes and Wine Spectator scores.
Another plus for Total Wine (and for its customers) is the amount of training their team members receive; at least 72 hours of training in the arena of wine, beer and spirits with ongoing wine education opportunities for the majority of their staff.
Pouring last night were representatives from Chateau St. Michelle, Caymus Vineyards and Montes Wines. While I enjoyed all the tastings, Montes’ Chilean reds were my favorite. Carmenè re, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon…be still my desire for full, lush, bold wines.
Similar in concept is BevMo! Located in east Vancouver, BevMo! opened on April 5th and also offers wine, beer, spirits, cigars, glassware and barware all under one roof but in a smaller footprint than Total Wine & More stores. While I haven’t been to the Vancouver BevMo!, I did attend the Bellingham, Washington Grand Opening on a recent visit to my mom’s house. We had a blast reading their fun line of greeting cards, looking over their glass ware selection, spying our favorite bottles of vino from visits together and taking note of new ones to enjoy.
We lingered long enough to participate in their scheduled wine tasting and my mom walked away with a lovely Sokol Blosser Evolution White, a perfect summer wine for sipping with mild cheeses and crackers or to pair with grill fare.