One of my favorite things about this column is the feedback and questions I get from readers. Topics range from which wines to serve at dinner to gift buying recommendations. But over the past year the questions asked by many are “Is this wine available locally?” or “My local wine shop did not have the wine you wrote about, so where do I go to find it?”
The answer to local availability is easy: Yes. I only write about wines that can be found in Arkansas.
But considering the vast amount of wines available in the state, it’s not reasonable to expect to find every wine at every retail store. ‘Available locally’ is not ‘every store’.
There are more than 1,000 wine brands available for retailers to order from distributors. This 1,000 or so is the number of brands, so when you add all the grape varieties, different bottle sizes and the reserve bottles, the number is much higher. Factor in all those variables and there are easily more than 10,000 different bottles available.
Retail stores, depending on size, may stock as many as 2,000 to 4,000 bottles or as few as a few hundred. The bottles may range from everyday drinking wines to prized vintage wines, rare wines and hard-to-find wines.
My best advice: Call ahead.
Wines can be ordered if they’re not in stock, and calling ahead will save you a trip and give your retailer time to order the wine if it’s not in stock.
Fine-wine stores are always interested in accommodating your needs. Whether you are looking for one bottle or a case, the best retailers will be willing assist in finding your request.