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Secrets of Salt Lake: Wine on the cheap

In a state where Big Brother has a stranglehold on liquor sales, management and content, it can seem hopeless for the bargain shopper. No coupons, holiday sales or closeout clearances to help make your wallet feel a little fatter. But there is a small secret in Salt Lake that can help alleviate the pain that the frugal may feel after walking into the liquor store.

Each Monday closest to the end of the month is the Utah State Wine Store inventory closeout. Each month a new selection of wines is brought in and the stores have to make room for the new stock. The wine is placed in the aisles and in front of the store with clearance tags placed on the boxes. The next opportunity for patrons to catch these deals is on May 2 and then again on May 30.

The selection varies each clearance, but the discounts can be anywhere from 20 to 50 percent off. The stock is on sale until it runs out, so stopping by in the morning is the best option. All the wine stores in Utah participate in the program, but selection and stock vary by location. The clearance sales include products from all across the price range and style. From an Australian Shiraz to a California Zinfandel, the product selection can be fantastic.

The Utah liquor stores do not usually participate in the same type of program because the selection and stock of products do not vary as widely as the wine selection.

The wine store sales are a terrific opportunity to try new wines and find out what appeals to each individual’s taste, said Dan Fahndrich, the president of QVinum, a wine group in Salt Lake City. And there are good wines available for low prices, even in Utah, he said.

“My card says it very simply, the best wine is the kind you like,” Fahndrich said. “My suggestion for buying wine is to be open and adventurous.”

For samples of local wines and to support local business, check out Killer Grove Winegrowers in Salt Lake City. Wine tasting is available from noon until 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. For more information, go to KGWWine.com.

The wine group samples wines from around the world to help expose the members to new tastes and perspectives, Fahndrich said. The group gathers periodically in Salt Lake City and will be taking a trip to Grand Junction, June 10-12, for a wine tour. For more information, go to QVinum.com.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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