Bartell's shoppers who stock their medicine cabinets with private-label drugs and vitamins from the pharmacy chain can now extend their brand loyalty to their wine racks.
Rockhound wines, the first wines produced exclusively for Bartell's, went on sale earlier this month. The line of $6.99 wines includes a red blend, merlot and pinot gris.
"We're pretty confident we'll have broad appeal," spokesman Barry Bartlett says. "There are a lot of value wines out there, but these would stand up to any of those.
Precept Wine, the largest privately-owned wine company in Washington, developed the wines for Bartell's. The name pays tribute to the Bartell family's hobby of collecting rocks.
Bartell's last year began selling wine at its 58 stores.
"It really has been very well-received by customers," Bartlett says. "From the outset, we wanted to focus on Washington wines."
All Rockhound wines are made in Walla Walla with grapes originating from the area. Official tasting notes describe the red blend as presenting the scents of "black plums and toasted oak." The merlot has cherry, blackberry and blueberry flavors -- with "lavender and hints of leather" rounding out the finish -- and the pinot gris' aroma suggests "nectarine, citrus, honeysuckle and sugar cane."