Thanksgiving rush for groceries extends to wines

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | 6:55 p.m. CST; updated 4:48 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Turkeys, cranberries and cans of pumpkin are rolling off the shelves this week.

And bottles of wine. Really?

Odd as it might seem, two Columbia supermarket managers said Tuesday that Thanksgiving is the hottest time of year for wine sales.

“The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year as far as wine sales go,” said Tom Pennington of HyVee’s wine department. In particular, he mentioned that wines that pair well with turkey are popular, such as Rieslings and Grenache. Justin Wilkinson, a manager at Gerbe’s said wine sales peak for his store as well the day before Thanksgiving. “Hands down, it’s the best-selling wine day of the year for us,” he said.

For their part, local wine sellers have a slightly different experience, but still say Thanksgiving is a busy time for them.

Paul Vernon, owner of Top Ten Wines, agreed that Thanksgiving is a popular wine holiday, but couldn’t say if wine sales now differ drastically from the increased sales during the holiday season. Dru Vaughn, one of the owners of Hemingway’s, a wine seller in Columbia, echoed Vernon’s observations. “(The day before Thanksgiving) is a busy day, but there are busier days in December.”

Whether Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for wine sellers varies based on whom you speak to. However, the Wine Market Council, a nonprofit association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, retailers and related businesses, reports that “adult per capita consumption of table wine in the U.S. now stands at an all-time high.”

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