Sunday, July 10, 2011

WINE NEWS: WINE AT STARBUCKS


Starbucks Wine

You may have heard that the national coffee chain, Starbucks, is experimenting with the addition of wine and beer to some of its locations.  What does a Starbucks wine list look like?  According to the Washington Wine Report, it looks about like what you'd expect from a broad-based national chain.

There were plenty of people wondering out loud whether Starbucks would roll out wine lists featuring local or regional wines.  In a way, they have.  But don't get too excited.

As I understand it, Seattle was the test market.  I've seen notice of a Portland Starbucks, too, offering wine and beer.

There are seven wines on the lists I saw from both cities, four reds and 3 whites.  The Pacific Northwest is represented by only three wines, and all come from beneath the Chateau Ste. Michelle umbrella.

Erath Pinot Noir, 14 Hands Hot To Trot red blend and Chateau Ste. Michelle's own Riesling qualify as regional wines, but they are from a very large producer and the selections are widely available.

Other choices on the menu include the Alamos Malbec from Argentina, the Canili Pinot Gris from Italy, the Martini California Cabernet and William Hill's Napa Valley Chardonnay.  Decent wines, all, but nothing to make anyone jump and run down to Starbucks to get some before they run out.

I agree with the Washington Wine Report that the Starbucks wine list has a very corporate feel, not at all reflective of regional wines.  Of course, I would have expected about as much.  The company - if they follow through on rolling out the barrels nationwide - will watch the bottom line by purchasing safe wine choices in quantities great enough to afford volume discounts.

It's too bad, though.  When Starbucks introduced their line of coffee drinks, they were giving us something we weren't getting anywhere else.  With their wine list, it appears they are satisfied to give us something we can get everywhere else.



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