Friday, June 14, 2013

Total Wine Pours it On

Yesterday’s grand opening of Total Wine in Palm Desert marked a new day for the valley’s wine scene. The wine superstore, which began with two Delaware wine stores opened by brothers David and Robert Trone in 1991, now counts over 90 stores across more than 15 states nationwide. Until yesterday, the closest Total Wine location was Rancho Cucamonga.   
Total Wine Palm Desert’s store manager Scott Perry, left, smiles as a check 
placard is presented to the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center.  
“This area is just not as seasonal anymore,” said store manager Scott Perry. Total Wine saw the Coachella Valley as a year-round destination, he added. When asked what sets Total Wine apart from other retailers, he replied with one word: service.

“Our wine team, all my employees, are very educated about wine. They all have a passion for wine, the beer staff a passion for beer, spirits too,” he said.

Perry notes that staff members are not only highly trained, but they’re also encouraged to always learn, taste and try new things. Ongoing tastings and training about what’s new in the world of adult beverages is part of Total Wine’s staff development efforts.

The store plans to share some of this knowledge with the community through its tastings and educational classes. Tastings will be held at the Desert Crossings location on Friday, Saturday and Sunday every weekend. Classes will be held about twice monthly, with Wine 101 scheduled for July as an introductory class for people new to, or curious about wine.

Thursday’s grand opening gave patrons a chance to tour the enormous facility, which includes a tasting room, classroom and row upon row of neatly stacked wine, beer and spirits from around the world. Joseph Wagner, son of iconic Caymus winemaker Chuck Wagner, was eager to pour and autograph bottles from the Wagners’ Mer Soleil, Silver, Conundrum, Belle Glos, Meiomi and Caymus labels.

A couple thousand bottles away, wines from Italy took center stage inside the handsome tasting room. Tasters enjoyed samples of Moscato d’Asti, Vermentino from Sardegna, Chianti Classico Reserva and other reds from Villa Antinori, Falesco and Tignanello.

Palm Desert mayor Jan Harnik and Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dave Mourhess were on hand to welcome the new business to their city. In a big hello to the community at the opening presentation, Total Wine presented a $10,000 donation for the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center.

While most shoppers and visitors seemed energized to explore the new store’s massive selections, a few felt overwhelmed by all the choices. “I wouldn’t know where to begin here,” chuckled one Rancho Mirage resident. Almost on cue, a Total Wine staff member approached the man to ask what he liked and began to offer suggestions.

To narrow my choices among the sea of bottles, I went for wines I’ve wanted to try but can be hard to find: a Norton from Virginia and a Grillo-Inzolia blend from Sicily. Were you looking for that too? The user-friendly Total Wine website will help you locate the white blend on Aisle 16, on the right.

Only 7,998 bottles to go.


  1. Thanks for the great writeup!
    We look forward to seeing you again soon.
    The Grillo-Inzolia blend is a personal favorite - if you like esoteric Italian whites you should also seek out the Pecorino from Saladini Pilastri. He's known for his highly rated Marche reds, but the Pecorino is very fun and hard to find in retail.
    Greg Tuttle
    Manager, social business
    Twitter: @Totalwine

  2. You bet I'll look for that Pecorino! Thanks for the tip. The Fatascia Kalia blend of Grillo-Inzolia was gorgeous - medium-bodied, floral and citrusy, just perfect with Father's Day lemon shrimp risotto!


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