Target is selling $5 wine, and we're just not really sure about it

Target is selling $5 wine, and we're just not really sure about it

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Target is selling $5 wine, and we're just not really sure about it

As a mom, I’m pretty much predisposed to love Target and all its bargain-hunting goodness.

But on Monday came an announcement that I am just not sure I can get behind:

The retailer will begin selling its own line of $5 bottles of wine, called “California Roots,” on Sunday, Sept. 3.

In an enthusiastic news release, the company notes that it believes its customers are “going to love  California Roots.”

“These wines are just the right blend of incredible quality and amazing value that guests can only get at Target.”

Target’s announcement was immediately followed by gushing, breathless headlines and stories such as: “Target will soon be selling $5 wines because they get us.” And, “So Target just dropped a line of $5 wines and I’m freaking out.

Hmmm.

Torn. So very torn.

I don’t consider myself a wine snob… OK, maybe I am a LITTLE bit of a wine snob. However, I prefer to call myself “an enthusiastic connoisseur.”

And I love a good deal as much as the next person. So for those who ARE jumpin’ outta their seats to head to the nearest Target, best of luck!

I truly hope it’s the greatest ever.

Who WOULDN’T want tasty and cheap wine?

But I am sorry…I have to be honest. To me, it just sounds like a massive headache in a bottle.

And my hope for being proven wrong dwindled significantly when a PR rep could not immediately respond to my specific questions about where in California these ahh-mazing, garage-sale-priced grapes come from.

Yet, that same rep responded within minutes to my initial request for a photo to accompany this story. She also sent the following quote:

“(California Roots is) carefully crafted with premium, California-grown grapes. With pure vineyard-to-table goodness in every sip, California Roots offers guests delicious, high-quality everyday bottled wine at a great value.”

Anyhoo…

Here’s what we know about California Roots:

  • There are five different varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Red Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • They will be sold in more than 1,100 Target stores across the country.
  • Target offers specific pairings/flavor guides for each of the above named varietals.

To wit, here is the description for the Chardonnay.

Profile: Lush tropical-fruit flavors and a bright finish will transport you to a warm, sunny day at the farmers market.

Pairings: Artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread.

And this one, for the Cabernet Sauvignon:

Profile: Juicy cherry flavors, hints of oak and graceful finish elevate even the simplest pleasures.

Pairings: Thick ribeye steaks.

I am sorry, ya’ll.

If I am going to spend good money on thick ribeye steaks, I am probably going to pair it with a wine that contains a slightly higher flavor profile.

This is not to say that you can’t find an excellent, reasonably-priced bottle of wine.

But $5 seems to be pushing the edge of bargain-basement, gas-station-level quality and pricing.

Especially when we don’t even know where the damn grapes are grown or anything about the production process for the vino.

Yes, I know Trader Joe’s has Two-Buck Chuck. But I think that’s crap too. So, it’s hardly a winning argument in my book.

What determines a wine’s cost?

The fact is, many variables contribute to how much a bottle of wine costs, and the quality of the wine-making process is one of them.

For example, are the grapes cultivated in dry, rocky soil and then aged in pricey oak barrels? Or are they mass-produced in a fertile field and shipped off to an enormous plant capable of processing the fermented grape juice into tens of millions of cases of vino?

Are the wines from an established region, like Burgundy, France, or Napa Valley in California? These typically cost more than bottles produced in an “emerging wine region” such as Argentina, New Zealand or South Africa.

Packaging and marketing also play a role in the price of wine.

So, in that area, Target may have a cost-efficient advantage over smaller producers who charge more because they’re not household names.

But I remain unconvinced that selling $5 wines next to school supplies, microwaves, toys and vacuum cleaners is a good thing.

I’ll buy some this weekend and hold a blind taste test.

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

Actually, hopefully.

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