When Peter and I made it back out to the desert after an absence of a couple of months, I asked him to drive down the 111, because I like to see what’s new in the world of retail.
This time, it was a big new sign in the Desert Crossing shopping center (home of Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Chipotle, etc.), Total Wine.
Hm, I said. I’m going to have to check that out. For our guests, you know. For the blog. Like I should probably go right now.
Well, dear readers. It’s good. It’s very good. You may be familiar with the store, it is a chain that started in Delaware and now has 95 locations. It’s huge, with (they say) 8000 wines, 3000 spirits, and 2500 beers.
Which makes it pretty hard to make a decision.
It helps that every item from wine to liquor has a sign with a brief description of flavor characteristics. There is both an employee picks section and a wine buyer’s recommended section, which can help narrow it down more, and best of all, the employees seem knowledgeable but don’t hover.
We decided to attend one of their wine tastings (every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). This one featured Washington state wines, so we brought some Washington state friends. We were pleasantly surprised that the “nominal fee” for tasting was $.10, just one thin dime per person. We didn’t love their picks for this tasting, but lo and behold, there was a beer tasting across the store where I found my new favorite summertime beer, Fat Tire Rolle Bolle. Not bad for a 20 cent investment.
At checkout, we saw a very cool thing for visitors, gift givers, and lovers of wee things: small bottles of premium liquors, including some of my favorites, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur. I’d buy these just for the beautiful bottles, but luckily the liqueurs inside live up to the elegant glass. The small bottles are a great size, bigger than airplane-mini but small enough to finish over the course a short trip, or with a small group.
And? They have a wine chiller at the checkout that promises to cool a bottle down 25 times faster than a refrigerator.
Total Wine / 72339 Highway 111 / Palm Desert, CA 92260 / (760) 346-2029