Usually I run to visit any new wine shop that opens in the area, but lately I have been disappointed in what has been offered. I have been to a large “SuperStore” north of Seattle a couple of times and been very disappointed with their staff. That was true until I visited Total Wine and More last Friday night. Still enjoying their recent Grand Opening, the store was very busy and were offering complimentary wine tastings as well as a complimentary class – Wine 101.
I have been to a lot of great wine shops and taken a lot of wine classes and I have to say, I was impressed. The class was taught by Andrea Starr, the wine manager. She was knowledgeable and did a fun and casual presentation. We also tasted ten wines – some of which were so yummy I had to take a bottle or two home.
We also had the opportunity to chat with John Jordan, the Senior Vice President of Customer Experience (you’ve got to love the title). He told us that every member of their team has 78 hours of wine training before they are put out on the floor to assist customers. I put them to the test after the class and the training shows. Everyone was helpful and very knowledgeable. .
The store is huge, bright and clean with a big room in the back for classes. It is laid out a little different than most stores, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy to navigate. Rather than sorted by region and varietal you will see signs that say: “Crisp and Clean Whites” or “Sweet and Decadent Reds”. When you visit , be sure to check out the “New and Notable Section” at the front of the store.
In addition to wine they also carry a good selection of beer and spirits as well as gift items and a walk-in cigar humidor.
The website is very detailed and helpful, except for an annoying pop-up that kept asking if I wanted my selections shipped or to pick it up in store, before I had made any selections. You can sort the wines on the website by Country/State or Origin, Varietal, Rating or Price Range.
Total Wine has 81 locations in 13 states. They are planning an 82nd store in Southcenter in the fall. I would urge you to check it out. It is definately a good find.