No longer happy simply guzzling wine with friends on Friday night, now the social set wants to know a little bit about it, too. Grocery stores seem happy to cater to our knowledge cravings because they know it will boost sales.

Across the US, grocery stores are expanding their wine selections. Driven by consumer demand and a number of states loosening their liquor laws, some grocers are seeking the services of sommeliers, or wine stewards, to help customers make a selection.

One advantage to having sommeliers on staff at a grocery is that they can answer questions, make recommendations and even help customers pair wines with the ingredients in their shopping carts, says Elliot Begoun, principal of The Intertwine Group, a practice focused on emerging food and beverage brands. “Many shoppers are overwhelmed by the choices on store shelves and may just choose not to buy wine if they can’t narrow it down,” he says. “Having an expert there to make recommendations can help them find the right wine and can also increase the power of suggestive sell.”

Groceries that are considering wine experts may also benefit from expanding that mindset to other departments as well. “If I were the grocer, I’d also have an expert staffing the craft beer department, and I’d have a cheesemonger as well, because beer, wine and cheese are the three things that are a big part of socializing,” Begoun said. “I wouldn’t staff it all the time, I’d have those employees there during times when people would be likely to shop for a social event.”

For example, a grocer might schedule the wine, beer and cheese experts starting Friday around 3:00 through the weekend, as well as before any special occasions.

To read more on grocery store sommeliers, visit Smart Brief and let know if your local store has a sommelier on staff and how it has helped you.




Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.