"The wine section at your local grocery is a minefield"  That's a quote from Epicurious and yes, the wall of wine is tricky territory. The typical large grocery store carries between 500-700 different selections. A few Portland-area supermarket consistently stock over 1000 different wines. Recent industry surveys say the markup on grocery wine currently hovers around 50%. Given that, it's unlikely the wine section is going to get any smaller or easier to negotiate.  Minefield?  Maybe. Overwhelming?  Absolutely.     "Two-thirds of what we buy in the supermarket, we had no intention of buying."   That claim comes from Paco Underhill,  author of "Why We Buy", "Call of the Mall" and a recognized expert on...

Like vampires rising from the graves, Halloween-themed wines are currently appearing at stores everywhere. While many of these wines are available year round, they're displayed front and center during the month of October. Speaking of vampires, there's Vampire Cabernet and Ghost this and Skeleton that. It's all quite fun and seasonally-appropriate. We just struggle with the actual wine. There's no lack of labels referencing horror, mayhem and general bad behavior. Most of the wines are red blends in the $10-$15 range.  We haven't tried them all. Those that we have tried have been average. With Halloween...

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "You've been to Walla Walla, haven't you?"  And every time, I had to answer "no".  Until this past weekend. I took the scenic four-hour drive up the Columbia Gorge to WW this past weekend to attend the annual Wine Bloggers Conference, a global gathering of a few hundred wine writers/bloggers/publicists/social media mavens. The conference was great.  But Walla Walla was great-er.    Stroll around the downtown historic district and you half expect to see Andy and Barney Fife patrolling the sidewalks.  It...