Tis the Season for Wine Deals!

starmont-bottleThe fall harvest season at vineyards means great wine-pricing for consumers. As the new vintages are plucked from the vines and headed to barrel or tank, the previous vintages have to move on, which means some outstanding prices for wine lovers. You’ve probably noticed that e-newsletters from your favorite O.C. wine shops are chock-full of bottles from 2012, 2013, and 2014. The stores, too, are moving stock to make way for the 2015 reds and 2016 whites headed their way.

A couple of weeks ago, my area Albertson’s offered 30 percent off choice selections. I noticed these were mainly older Old World Wines that likely didn’t fit the clientele. I found a 2009 reserve rioja for only $15. This turned out to be a fabulous wine, so I went back for more, only to find these older vintages (aka “choice selections”) gone—and the shelves brimming with 2015 wines.

The proof was at Costco at The District in Tustin. Though I was headed to pick up a pizza, I couldn’t help browsing through its wine department. I was amazed to find discounts of $5 off single bottles. For example, I found a 2012 Starmont Chardonnay from Carneros for $9.99. If I bought this from Starmont directly, it would be $22. If I bought it online or from a few O.C. boutique shops, it would be about $15. Clearly, a distributor or the winery needed to move the vintage and looked to Costco for an assist. It worked. I bought it. A $10 Napa chardonnay from the sister winery to Merryvale is worth a toss into my basket.

My other find was a 2012 Zaca Mesa Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley. Zaca Mesa was the first winery to plant syrah in Santa Barbara County and has continued to succeed with its Rhone varietals. Costco offered the Zaca Mesa Syrah for $13.99, while area shops had it for $19, and the winery prices it at $25.

So, keep your eyes peeled for great deals these next few weeks. You may find the perfect Christmas gift for a song, wines you haven’t tried before, but are more willing to at these lower prices—or even a few great bottles to pair with your pizza.

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