Total Wine and More = Total Sensory Overload

I finally got around to visiting Total Wine and More this weekend. Nate from Vinvenio has been urging me to check it out for a few weeks now, but it’s sort of out of the way and actually kind of difficult to get to, so I’d been hemming and hawing about it. However, I wouldn’t be a very good wino if I didn’t eventually go to this behemoth of a wine shop. And besides, a coupon arrived in my welcome wagon mailer for $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. I’m a sucker for coupons.

Upon arriving at Total Wine and More in Alexandria, I thought my eyes would pop out of my head. I have literally never seen that many bottles of wine in one place before. I think they claim to have 8,000 different wines. I was overwhelmed. I was even more overwhelmed when I realized that there was an entire aisle of just Cabernet Sauvignon, my main reason for this outing was to procure a bottle for this month’s WBW with the theme of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. It took me nearly an hour to just get through the Cabernet aisle so I didn’t have much time to closely examine everything else as we were drywalling yesterday and Matt needed me to hold stuff.

The good: Lots of wine in all different price ranges. Lots of wine accessories. They also sell all kinds of beer, so this would be a great stop if you were throwing a big party.

The bad: Very few sales staff. And no one I talked to seemed to know wine at all.

The ugly: I am all for finding cool things hiding in wine shops. However, those wine shops usually do not have 8,000 wines that need to be looked through to find that gem. And that was the problem here. I’m sure there must have been some really good stuff in the Cabernet aisle. But it was IMPOSSIBLE to find anything as there was no rhyme or reason to the organization. A $3.99 bottle sat next to a $54 bottle. Australia, then CA, then Uruguay, then CA again and so on. Finding the very few bottles from Washington State took me forever!

The results: 1 bottle of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, 1 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa. (I’m on a huge Sauvignon Blanc kick as it is hot and humid and sticky here.)

The total: 6 bottles of wine for $54. $44 after my $10 off coupon. Possibly the best deal ever.

Would I return? Yes, for the purpose of gathering many inexpensive bottles for either everyday drinking or if we ever get around to having a housewarming party. If I were looking for a very specific bottle or even for another WBW bottle, I doubt I would return. Without knowledgeable staff it was very difficult to find what I was looking for and the lack of any organizational system made it that much harder. A good place for a mixed case of everyday wine or a cheap case for a pary.

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