Black (Out) Friday Wine Buying Surprises

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Ilustration by Andrew Saeger, tHE ARTdept.
Hey fellow lushes! Hope you had a fabulous and filling Turkey Day or, as it's known in my home, Black Friday Eve. OK, just joking. Well, kinda.

After all, The Wino's a red-blooded, bargain-seeking American, who likes a $299 flat-screen door-buster as well as the next guy. But I don't get the getting up at the butt crack of dawn to seal the deal. That's why I've come up with a short list of surprising places to buy wine at a decent price without battle the crowds.

Be sure to read to the end because I've saved the best for last. And by best, I mean a special discount for Wino readers. Hell yeah, I'll drink to that!

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Photo by Leslie Kelly
The wine selection at 7-11 doesn't totally suck.
So, when you're craving some kind of cylindrical-shaped meat cooked on a rolling heat thing-a-ma-bob, where do you go?

That's right, and oh, thank heaven, 7-11 stocks a selection of wines that don't totally suck. Now, what goes well with the hot dog shaped cheeseburger? Something red and racy, like a Columbia Crest Merlot.

While you're at it, you can also pick up some pantry essentials: milk, bread, Red Bull.

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Photo by Leslie Kelly
All you need for a night of romance, in the wine/contraception aisle at Bartell's.
A few weeks ago when The Wino wrote about some super cheap-o wine, a friend ribbed me on Twitter, snarking in 140-characters or less: Can I find that wine at Bartell's? And guess what? Bartell's tweeted back: Yes, you can buy cheap wine at Bartell's!

Bartell's does deeply discount some wines. Washington state wines are well-represented and starting next summer, they're going to stock booze, too. (Which is beside the point, but I overheard a manager talking about it while I was wine shopping, so there. And thanks to everyone who voted for 1183.)

What cracked me up about Bartell's wine section, at least at the store on the top of Queen Anne, was that it shared the aisle with contraceptives. Don't tell me that's a coinkydink!

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Photo by Leslie Kelly
You can buy a couch AND get a good deal on a bottle of Champagne at Cost Plus.
Where can you purchase a couch, a big box of PG Tips tea and a bunch of decently priced wine? Cost Plus, baby.

What's stunning about this place is some of the high-end stuff they carry. Champagne is often a really good deal when it's on sale, and something's always on sale.

Just don't expect any expert advice. When I was in the store at Pike Place Market the other day, the chick who was working the section was too busy gossiping with the security guy to even bother with the most perfunctory greeting to a customer. Fine! I'll ferret out a good buy on my own.

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Photo by Ryan Sytsma
The People's Wine Market's Ashley Sytsma doing field research to find the best wines from around the world.
Finally, cyber-shopping for wine isn't exactly anything new. Heck, you can even order wine from Amazon Fresh if you have the patience to scroll through its clunky list.

But what's really got The Wino downright giddy is a new venture called People's Wine Market, which offers $5 shipping and great wines at great prices.

The owners -- Ashley and Ryan Sytsma, who also have a wine importing business -- do the legwork in running down wines that are priced to move. It's like the Overstock.com of wines. People's Wine Market also showcases releases that you aren't likely to find anywhere else, often from small family wineries.

Offerings change every week, and, this is one of the best parts, each selection comes with a backstory about the winery. Love that!

When I ordered some sparkling wine from Argentina, I learned that in addition to being made mostly with Chardonnay, this bubbly was served at Rick Steves' office Christmas party. Woo-hoo!

Check the site out and if you place an order, enter TheWinoRocks in the discount code area and they'll knock 10 percent off.

If you want to go meet the clever couple who launched this venture, pop in for some face time at the People's Wine Market open house from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 7 or 2-6 p.m. Dec. 11 at their warehouse (3400 Harbor Ave SW, Suite 125.) They will be offering even deeper discounts, pouring samples and serving snacks.

Happy shopping!

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