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Albertsons and Safeway yesterday said that they are launching Vine & Cellar, described as "a collection of expertly curated wines available online, shipped directly to customer homes. Available now exclusively in California, Vine & Cellar boasts an expanded assortment of wine varietals and global wine regions … Vine & Cellar offers wine ranging in price from $10 to more than $1,000 a bottle with plans to expand the assortment even further. Shoppers in California can access Vine & Cellar through the Safeway, Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions websites and mobile apps under the 'featured' category. Wine will arrive in one to three business days.

“We are launching Vine & Cellar to give our customers and fellow wine enthusiasts the ability to discover and shop regional and specialty wines from smaller vineyards that are not usually available at national supermarket retailers,” said Curtis Mann, Master of Wine and Group Vice President Alcohol for Albertsons Cos., in a prepared statement. “Our team has tasted thousands of wines from Sancerre to Burgundy to Napa Valley so our customers can enjoy the tannin, body and fruit of old world and new world vintages – all conveniently shipped to their doorsteps.”

KC's View:

I think this is really smart.  Wine is one of those great categories where it is possible to gradually up-sell shoppers by offering them new options and educating them.  It also is one of those segments where retailers tend to hire people who really understand the category and are good at communicating with shoppers.

The next step ought to be a Vine & Cellar wine club, which allows for automatic replenishment.  Maybe 2-3 bottles a month?  I belong to a local wine club, and every month get three bottles that challenge my palate and expand my knowledge.