I love standing in the grocery store wine aisle and watching people. It isn't the voyeur in me coming out. I just like to watch people learn when it comes to investing in wine.

So many times people will walk up and down the isle looking at bottle after bottle. Just when you think that they know what they want, they get that scared look in their eye, put the bottle back on the shelf and start to walk away.

I catch many of those people and ask them if they need any help. They look me up and down like I'm selling them Amway. Then, some will admit that they are looking for something they know nothing about. With the prices of many of the bottles on the shelf, I don't blame people for not wanting to make a bad choice.

Well, "Super Rich" is here to save your wine buying day. Today, I'm going to teach you how to buy a bottle of wine in the store.

First, you should know that the wines are arranged in every chain store by people who really know what they are doing. There are hours and hours of negotiations and recognizing market trends to make sure that you see and buy the wines that they want you to find in each and every store. Not that this is a bad thing. The wines found on the middle shelf are most often a very safe bet for any average consumer.

Sometimes the best wines are the ones on the top or bottom shelves. Most often, the wines that are highest quality, and highest price, are located above your line of vision. The wines on the bottom shelf are most often the wines I point out to those scared-eyed folks that I meet in the isle of the store. The bottom-shelf wines are much more economically priced, and make a great choice for someone who wants to try a wine for the very first time.

One other thing to note is to always look at the number of rows of any wine on the shelf. If a wine requires only one row, the store and the distributor only expect to sell a few bottles each week at most. If there are multiple rows of a particular wine, then there is a track record of very high sales of that particular wine.

This is my suggestion. If you want to try a new wine style for the very first time, reach for the bottom to middle shelves. Choose a wine that has more than one row of bottles. It will likely have a great price tag, and will be a wine that most of your neighbors are enjoying. If you like it, next time reach for one on the next higher shelf. Chances are you will like that one even more.

Good luck, and good wine buying!

Rich Breshears, the East Oregonian's wine columnist, is a commercial photographer and marketing consultant for the wine industry in Oregon and Washington. He lives with his family in Kennewick.


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