We have a great wine shop here in North Augusta, South Carolina. It has been around for many years and the owners really know wine. Not like the mega liquor stores with their discount prices. Now, don’t get me wrong, I shop at the mega liquor store near us for hard liquor, which is cheaper than the Class Six store at Ft Gordon. I even buy wine there once in a while. But, only wine I know I like.
I go to Wine World for three reasons. One is I really like the people who own and work there (the mega store also has good employees, but they don’t know wine adequately). Two, I know they are going to make an appropriate suggestion that fits my budget for a wine for a particular purpose. Third, I go just because I want to support them. Stores like this are an endangered species and, when the mega store opened, it hurt their business. All the owners are elderly and originally opened the place as a hobby. When they become too old to run the place, I am not sure it will remain. In the meantime, I am going to give them my business.
Wine World does not sell inferior wines or wines the owners would not drink themselves. The owners have tasted every wine in the store and at least one or two of them are certified wine experts. Lynn and I learned about Crane Lake wines at a wine tasting class there.
Now, here is the kicker. Crane Lake wines sell for $3.99 a bottle and they make a large selection of varietals. At the class, we tried a couple Crane Lake wines and they were represented as budget wines that were fit to actually drink. They sell them at Wine World. They are certainly not great wines. They are pretty much one-note, but they won’t make you gag and are actually a great choice for anyone on a severe budget, not unusual in these economic times.
The other day, I was getting ready to make braised grass fed beef short ribs with a red wine reduction. I wanted a Cabernet Sauvignon. I headed to Wine World and asked for a suggestion for such a wine that would be good for cooking and inexpensive. Immediately, the owner there at the time pointed to the Crane Lake wines. Indeed, that bottle of wine was just as good as a more expensive one for cooking and a lot better than grocery store cooking wine.
I will be using Crane Lake wines for all my cooking with wine in the future.