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Last week I found myself in a rut. It’s one many of us stray into: buying wine one bottle at a time. I have my collection of special occasion wines tucked in a dark, quiet place. It’s the other occasions — hasty weeknight dinners, spur-of-the-moment get-togethers with friends, or last-minute gifts — that lead to these single-bottle purchases.

In an effort to avoid the rut, I like to think of wines as a staple in my pantry. The appeal of buying wine in bulk lies not only in saving money with case discounts, but also in the pleasure and satisfaction of having an organized stash.

Everyday drinking wine is the most important staple in the wine stash. It’s where value is vital. Whether your budget is $8 or $20, look for dependable quality from reputable wineries. Buy wines you know are consistently good. If you love whites in the summer, reds in the winter, only chardonnay or despise whites altogether, your staples will be easy to buy. But if your tastes are more varied, keep a mixed case of the basics, such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz.

Look for in-store specials. Many retailers offer discounts one day a week, and those days and close-out specials are a good time to replenish the stash.

Keep a few bottles of sparkling wine or champagne on hand for easy access. They also make great last-minute gifts, and you’re always ready for a celebration.

Include a few bottles of refreshing roses, Rieslings and gewurztraminers for menus involving spice and heat. To round out your wine pantry, add three to five bottles for those impromptu special occasions, like when you create a new dish or for last-minute entertaining.

What’s in my stash?


  • 2008 Rosemount Shiraz, Australia (about $11 retail)
  • 2009 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (about $10 retail)
  • 2008 Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $12 retail)


  • 2008 Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc, France (about $22 retail)
  • 2008 Pierre Sparr Alsace One, France (about $20 retail)
  • 2008 Banfi Rosa Regale, Italy (about $24 retail)
  • 2009 Anne Amie Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $25 retail)