Chris Carrow is a vice president at Hy-Vee who runs the newly opened Wall to Wall Wine and Spirits.
Writer: Steve Dinnen
If you’ve yearned to taste but a sip of the 2017 vintage Hundred Acre Cabernet Sauvignon, drive to 375 S. Jordan Creek Parkway in West Des Moines, walk in with $599.99, plus tax, and exit with a bottle of one of the finest wines ever crafted in California. Just in time for Christmas, Hy-Vee has seriously upped the game for wine enthusiasts with its 15,000-square-foot stand-alone wine and liquor store, Wall to Wall Wine and Spirits. Prices on a standard bottle of wine there range from $760 for a 2014 vintage Penfolds Grange Bin 95 to another Australian offer, the decidedly less noble Yellow Tail, for around $5.
“We have 3,000 wines and 2,000 spirits,” said Chris Carrow, a vice president at Hy-Vee. That’s perhaps a 10-fold increase over what is available from a regular Hy-Vee. And they’re not done yet: Hy-Vee is just now opening a store in suburban Omaha that is twice as large as the new West Des Moines store.
Hy-Vee, Gateway Market, Ingersoll Wine & Spirits – every liquor and wine shop, actually, has stocked up for the mighty stampede that comes every Christmas and New Year. The rush is tied to parties and gift giving, and accompanies a switch from roses and lighter wines to heavier reds that will pair with the heartier meals of winter.
Carrow said Wall to Wall brings wine, and alcohol sales in general, to a newer and higher level due to the expertise of the staff – assistant manager Blair Zachariasen is a certified sommelier – and the expanded inventory.
Aaron Russo, manager of the Ingersoll Avenue location for Ingersoll Wine & Spirits, likewise is conversant on wines and champagnes, whose popularity rises dramatically this time of year.
Also seeing a seasonal boost in popularity is Gluhwein, Russo said. Americans know this as spiced wine, which typically is served warm. It joins chocolate wine – yes, there is such a thing – and many craft beers that are intended for the holidays.
They don’t really do Gluhwein in Spain, which is where my oenophilic tastes lie (heavy, dark reds; Priorats are a favorite. Just sayin’). With so much more shelf space available, Wall to Wall has, thankfully, expanded the Spanish lineup in Des Moines. Local competitors will not let this pass unchallenged. We, the wine consumers of central Iowa, will benefit.