Whole Foods and Wine


More and more frequently, consumers are seeking out natural food products. The reasons are numerous – these products may be healthier, or safer, or more nutritious, or a combination thereof. This in turn has spawned a movement in the grocery industry to focus on carrying such items. With retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., Whole Foods Market has made a niche for itself with its wide array of natural and organic foods and products. So, does a chain who specializes in natural or organic meats, cheeses, and other things, also buy and merchandise a different kind of wine? Well, we know there are more and more vineyards being farmed sustainably or certified as organic. Does this mean there are organic wines as well?

Join us as we talk with Doug Bell a wine buyer for Whole Foods Market. We’ll learn more about the buying process of a global grocer, and find that there’s more to organic products than you might have imagined.

To find out more information: Whole Foods: www.wholefoods.com

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Show #247
(37:54 min 29MB)

11 Responses to “Whole Foods and Wine”

  1. 1 Tim Meranda Sep 21st, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Interesting show. I guess I really am too much of a wine snob. I have a Whole Foods about a mile from my house, but I have never been in their wine department much less bought a bottle of wine there. And at the same time I am ranting and raving that I can’t find a bottle of Gruner at any of my normal wine vendors. Guess I should go over and see whats up.

  2. 2 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 21st, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I have a Whole Foods reasonably close, yet have to admit I don’t think of them as a wine purveyor. I think many of us in California have so many other options, we either forget that grocery stores carry wine, or think that the selection will be not to our liking.


  3. 3 SIPtheGoodLife Sep 22nd, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Really interesting show about how Whole Foods has been handling their wine purchases. And, great job Whole Foods for promoting wines and foods that have been taking the steps to think more about the world we live in. There is a great new set of wines that are just now hitting the market that have been SIP™ (Sustainability in Practice) Certified and have a seal on the label to communicate this certification to their buyers. In order to put the seal on their labels bottles have to be made up of at least 85% fruit from SIP™ certified vineyards. When assessing sustainability SIP™ looks at their vineyards from a comprehensive point of view; growers have to prove their continuing commitment to environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social equity. Energy conservation, water quality, pesticide management, and continuing education for employees are just a few things that the growers are evaluated on in order to earn their SIP™ certification. Next time you find yourself staring down the wine aisle wondering what which wines paid a bit more attention to the affects of their actions, remember to keep an eye out for the SIP™ certified seal.

    For more information about SIP certified wines visit http://www.sipthegoodlife.org.

  4. 4 Brian Crabtree Sep 22nd, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I’m unable to download this file from iTunes for some reason. It just says the feed cannot be found on the server. I’ve tried unsubscribing and re-subscribing. Has anyone else had this problem?

  5. 5 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 22nd, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Brian, sorry about that. We’ve had a few issues of late with iTunes grabbing the feed. Until we get this sorted out on our end, it may be best for you to DL directly from GrapeRadio.


  6. 6 Michael Miller Sep 27th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I would love to hear interviews with the buyers from Trader Joe’s and a major grocery chain. Its fascianting stuff!

  7. 7 James Kim Sep 28th, 2009 at 6:55 am

    I like being able to shop at Whole Foods for wine b/c (at least here in Virginia) the store buyers do have some autonomy in their purchasing decisions. So some local distributors and importers do get some play and you get a nice selection of national brands along with wines you might not find anywhere else in the country. (disclaimer: I used to be a wine rep for a wholesaler, but never had a whole food account myself)

  8. 8 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 28th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Mike, I would also love to talk to someone about Costco. James, I like the idea that the stores do allow for that kind of freedom for the buyers. There are indeed regional differences in consumer buying habits.


  9. 9 GrapeRadio Bunch Sep 28th, 2009 at 10:05 am

    iTunes RSS Feed Repaired, Sorry for the delay.


  10. 10 Patrick Oct 1st, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I have never purchased a bottle from one of the big grocers here in the NYC area either. But Jay, I did have a conversaion with a guest in a restaurant where I was a sommie in NYC. He said he found a bottle of Sassicaia (I think it was an ’04) at a Costco, the guys in North Jersey love their Sassicaia. Anyway, he couldn’t remember how much he paid for it. I would have loved to figure out the mark up on what was at that point, the latest release. I doubt you’d see a Harlan out in the Valley.

  11. 11 Eric Oct 5th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Wow! A co-worker just turned me onto your Website–needless to say, you are now on my “Favorites” Tab. I AM a Wine Buyer for Whole Foods at the Store Level (coming from over 20 years in the Business, primarily at the Wholesale level.) Doug’s comments are quite accurate–I’ve never met him, but I am sure I will like him if I ever do! Due to neighborhood demographics (elderly, less affluent consumers), my store is a fairly low volume wine store, and totally driven by the $4.99-$5.99-$6.99 wines. My advice to consumers: DO shop for the bargains, they ARE there! Unfortunately, many of the popular “comfort brands” are a bit overpriced due to the fact that our Margins are high because we are a “mission driven” company, and profits from wine help fund all of Whole Foods other projects. My comment to Doug is that MY job is becoming more and more difficult due to the increasingly burdensome and ridiculous bureacratic policies brought on by rapid growth. I guess that’s the price we pay for being “big”. Nevertheless, the Health Insurance benefits are pretty darn good, and I am totally passionate about my wine, so “let the games proceed”, and things will work out, especially as the economy begins to improve! Great interview–thanks GrapeRadio.com!

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