The mysteries of SLC’s wine sales unravelled

The ‘insider’ section of our website has been a long time coming. This is the first of hopefully many insightful and interesting posts from experts in the food and beverage industry. This first piece is a response to a plethora of questions I am always asked on the same subject – what exactly is the deal with Salt Lake’s monthly wine store sales?

Written by an un-named source from a DABC wine store:

“Here’s the story on the wine sales. They are, by design, illusive! Once a month we use a process of discontinuing wines or we call it “Delisting.” Sometimes the state actually purchases a large quantity of inexpensive wines which a winery has offered us for one reason or another. We sell these at half price (actually when I say half price, it is now about 45% off.) There is another group of wines that the wineries and brokers delist because the new vintage is coming out soon and they want to sell off the old vintage – these are delisted as well but at times the inventory is very small and customers have to check with several stores to check the availability. These may be excellent, high priced wine at half price. The other possibility is that the wine buyers for the state for one reason or another just want to get rid of wines that are taking up space and not selling well -these are delisted and half price.

The restaurants and clubs have learned how to find the pending sales on line and call us, in advance, and sometimes we comply with their requests and offer these deals to them first. Also, DABC workers at all the stores have first dibs on the sale wines, it is our only perk for working there. What is left, is available to the general public the day of the sale which is generally the Monday, following the last Saturday of the month. This is not always the first Monday which is where customers get screwed up. Even though our last sale was on Monday, May 3 (and we sold an huge amount of nice wines to the public) the warehouse sent us more stuff a couple of days later, which I stacked up and, once again, we had a nice little boost as far as delisted wines go – this rarely happens!

The discontinued items show up on a “Price Change” list which is available several weeks before the sale. However, the really good, sexy, items are not shown until the Thursday before the sale. I print that list out and I will show it to anyone who comes to the store and asks. People who are regulars at the store can set aside a few wines to hold them until the day of the sale. (We only do this for people we like and we don’t always like some of the customers who are demanding and rude – they usually don’t get anything!).

This process is up to the manager of the store, and every store does it a little differently. The trick is making friends with someone who knows the wine at stores 35, 41, 38, and 15 and a few others, finding out the date of the sale, asking to see the list and going from there. This all takes effort and vigilance.”

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