Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

Enter to Win(e) a $25 Grocery Outlet Gift Card!

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To celebrate the upcoming Grocery Outlet wine sale, I am giving away a $25 gift card good at any area Grocery Outlet !

The big Wine Sale runs November 7th-11th and all wines are 20% off already bargain prices!
I just love finding bargains at Grocery Outlet. They have the best deals on organic produce, nuts, and cheeses, and every once in a while I find a wine (most recently a Torrontes made by Espiritu). It was $2.99 per bottle and tasted like $7.99 or $8.99 per bottle. It is such a wonderful everyday wine, that my boyfriend bought a case, and I think I have bought about 2 cases by now in the past 2 months… I kept buying it 2-3 bottles at a time when I saw it was still in stock. 🙂
I was curious about the wines at Grocery Outlet and took the opportunity to interview a wine buyer for the company, Andy Lee.
Cavegrrl: Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your position with Grocery Outlet.
Andy Lee: I’m a 25 yr veteran of the wine industry and have worked all three tiers of the traditional three tier system.  Starting in retail in a small gourmet food and fine wine/beer shop that led to a 12 yr stint in distribution…followed by another 12 yrs working with wineries and then was lured back by the intrigue that is Grocery Outlet.  I didn’t see myself in a retail buying position at this stage in my career, but the dynamic nature of the company and the overall intelligence of the people drew me into the fold.  Every day is exciting and stimulating.  The thrill and passion I’ve enjoyed throughout my career is now derived from getting a great wine at an incredible price and sharing that value with our customers.
CG: What got you interested in wine? What got you into the industry?
AL: Work in the restaurant and retail industry helped pique an interest in wine for me.  I saw it as a part of a healthy lifestyle which includes great food, friends and family.  I was fortunate enough to rekindle a relationship with a former employer shortly after I finished college and ending up taking on the role of buyer for his store that featured 500 beers and ales and a selection of wine that included great Barolo, Bordeaux, California wines and Champagne.  As the store was sold I was recruited by a couple of wine distributors in Seattle and the rest is history.
CG: What did you do before Grocery Outlet?
AL: A true American success story….I went from a glamour gig in Napa Valley to Grocery Outlet!  My last couple of jobs leading up to Grocery Outlet were in winery sales for J Vineyards & Winery in Russian River Valley and Gamble Family Vineyards in Napa Valley.
CG: How do you find wines for  Grocery Outlet?
AL: Through many contacts my team and I receive samples of wines that are for various reasons “excess inventory.”  The opportunities we receive range from simple overproduction for the market to mergers and liquidations.  We are also the recipient of wines from wineries that have launched new packages.
CG: Do you get to try the wines that get picked up by the stores or is it just a stab in the dark?
AL: There are exceptions, but most of the time someone from the Beer & Wine team has tasted.  In most cases we have tasted the wine as a panel, in this way we come to an agreement on value that in turn leads to our offer on the wine.
CG: What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
AL: Food and wine is a passion for me.  I’m always looking for that ah-hah moment.  A favorite go to for me is a pasta dish with chicken, broccoli and goat cheese (with a few pepper flakes for punch) paired with Sauvignon Blanc…goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc create a wonderful flavor marriage as well as texture.  Another is a bit old and stodgy but still spot on…Stilton Blue Cheese, Bosc Pear and Vintage Port, the flavor created by this pairing still amazes me!  Dungeness Crab and German Kabinett, I could go on all day…
I’d like to thank Andy Lee for the Q & A. It was certainly interesting and sounds like my dream job! Here’s Andy hard at work on the job!

You can find Grocery Outlet on Facebook here and twitter here.

And now for the gift card you can enter to win(e)!

To enter, tell me (in the comments section below) your favorite Grocery Outlet location and your favorite food and wine pairing! At the end of the week, I will pick my favorite and send you the gift card in the mail so you can participate in the Wine Sale! Bonus entries to people who follow me on twitter and “like” on FacebookGood luck!

3 responses

  1. My favorite pairing might not be a meal, but wow is it a great dessert…a warm chocolate chip brownie paired with a delicious Old Vine Zinfandel. Tasty!

    My favorite Grocery Outlet: the Elk Grove location on Bond Road, right next to Dos Coyotes, Paesano’s, and Panera. I visit often!

    October 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

  2. Jen

    My favorite location would be the one on Laguna in Elk Grove and wine and cheese is the best pairing ever. Ever.

    October 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm

  3. I love the Midtown location, since it’s about 3 blocks from my apartment! And I love a spicy pizza with a good zin 🙂

    October 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

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