A $1,000 bottle of wine delivered to your door: What to expect from Safeway’s wine delivery service

Vine & Cellar trends with North Bay customers

Bestselling wines include the Goldeneye Gowan Creek pinot noir from Anderson Valley and the Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc imported by Kermit Lynch.

More white wine than red wine has been purchased.

Sauvignon blanc is the most popular varietal.

Locals are more likely to buy California and Spanish wines compared to the average Vine & Cellar customer.

Source: Albertsons Companies

Californians have another way to get wine delivered to their doorstop.

Albertsons Companies, which owns 34 Safeway stores and one Andronico’s in the North Bay, this summer launched the Vine & Cellar program.

“As we saw the online sales growth of alcohol explode in California, we were looking for a way to give customers more flexibility in ordering wine,” Curtis Mann, group vice president of alcohol for Albertsons Companies., said.

Mann is also one of 60 masters of wine in the country.

He and his team have chosen the more than 1,800 bottles in the program, which range in price from $10 to more than $1,000. Another 100 wines from Bordeaux will be added, with further expansion expected.

“We have had a lot of success selling small boutique items from producers on the North Coast as well as some marquee flagship wines from Napa, Sonoma and France. We have also seen a keen interest in smaller production pinot noir wines from Sonoma and Anderson Valley,” Mann said. “Some of our popular small producers from the North Coast include Ramey, Red Car and Dutton-Goldfield. Popular larger producers include Hartford Court and Siduri from the Jackson Family.”

Mann is based in Davis so he is well versed in what North Bay vintners have to offer. He spends a fair amount of time in Sonoma and Napa counties looking for wines that may be a fit for stores as well as the Vine & Cellar program.

Online versus store sales

While it’s possible to get wine delivered right from a grocery store, the selection isn’t the same as Vine & Cellar. Largely this is because a store is limited on space, causing inventory constraints.

On top of that, more than 500 wines offered via Vine & Cellar aren’t sold in any of the company’s California grocery stores.

Still, it’s possible Vine & Cellar might influence what stores offer.

“We would consider carrying popular Vine & Cellar wines in some stores if there is enough inventory available,” Mann said.

To see what Vine & Cellar has, go online to Safeway, Albertsons, Vons or Pavilions (or use the respective apps) and go to the “featured” category. For now, there is no talk of expanding this service beyond the Golden State.

While sales numbers are not available, Mann said the company is “pleased with the customer response.”

A difference between store and online shoppers, according to Mann, is the latter are more interested in imported wines, especially ones from France.

When it comes to cost, Vine & Cellar prices will be the same for everyone in California, but before shipping is added to the equation they could be different from what a store is selling the same bottle for. And those 10% off deals on a six pack carrier of wine at Safeway and their random 30% off sales, well, those are only available at the store.

What is selling

“We have been encouraged by the response to our educational bundles such as our Bordeaux Bundle and Oregon Pinot Bundle,” Mann said. “We are especially proud of some of the allocations of hard-to-find Burgundian wines that many other retailers do not carry. Also, we have a shipment of direct imported Bordeaux that will be arriving in October of highly scored classed growth and super second producers.”

One reason to launch the delivery service was to give people “the ability to discover and shop regional and specialty wines from smaller vineyards to well-known wineries with limited production that are not usually available at national supermarket retailers.”

Mann and his crew are constantly looking for more wines to add, with eye on variety of varietals, quality and price point.

“We have seen our customers’ wine taste evolve over the last 10 years. They have been looking for more eclectic wines, which has led us to increase our assortment in small production wines and selections from Napa, Sonoma, France, Spain and Italy,” Mann said. “Vine & Cellar was the natural next step in expanding our selection as our customers have been interested in exploring the world of wine more and more.”

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Vine & Cellar trends with North Bay customers

Bestselling wines include the Goldeneye Gowan Creek pinot noir from Anderson Valley and the Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc imported by Kermit Lynch.

More white wine than red wine has been purchased.

Sauvignon blanc is the most popular varietal.

Locals are more likely to buy California and Spanish wines compared to the average Vine & Cellar customer.

Source: Albertsons Companies

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