Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grocery Outlet Ticks Me Off

Chateau Larkan 2010 with a steaming dish of Cioppino
I have this strong policy about writing anything bad about anyone.  But today I'm feeling like I need to bend my rule a little bit. 

Grocery Outlet, a company that I have written several columns on over the past 3 years is giving me the cold shoulder.  Apparently they don't think that I have the pull.  My readership stats are quite substantial, and by and large my readers like it when I write about Grocery Outlet wines.  There have been over 1000 reads on my various past GO writeups in the last month alone. 

They reached out to me initially and asked me to write for them.  The only compensation was that they would supply the bottles for the tasting.  I could say anything that I wanted.  With my policy in place, if I tasted a crappy wine there I just didn't write about it.  It was a good relationship, or so I thought.  There have been some ownership changes at my local store, and the company representatives claim that they are looking at their "blogger relationships". 

This is where you come in.  I need you to do a couple of things for me to prove my worth.  If you don't do these things then it will simply prove me wrong and that's ok too. 

First, I tasted a bottle of 2010 Chateau Larkan Bordeaux that I purchased from there last week.  Initially it opened in the bottle with a little sulfite and oxydation, but once I gave it some air and swirrled it in the glass a little the wine opened up beautifully.  This French Bordeaux from Gironde is a beautiful soft red.  It offers up soft cherry and chantrelle notes on the nose, with a fruit forward mid palate and a very nicely balanced finish.  At $5.99 this bottle was a steal of a deal so I went back and bought a case for myself.  The Kennewick store has five or six more cases available as of yesterday.  I suggest getting down there and buying as much as you can.  Go ahead and empty the shelves. 

Along with that, the owners of the Kennewick store, Aaron and Lisseth, are holding a wine tasting on February 16th from 5p.m.-7p.m..  The tasting is free and offers four whites and four reds.  My ask is that you attend, drink their wines, and buy some while it is an additional 10% off.  While you're there make sure you tell them that I sent you and that you want them to put my notes back in their store.  You can also email them at and let them know that you enjoyed my wine notes in their store.  

Thanks, and Enjoy!!  


  1. I just bought a bottle of this at my Grocery Outlet in Portland, and am glad to have your report. I haven't tried it yet but must soon.

    Did you see/buy any of the other Bordeaux? I bought a 2010 Chateau Sabatey-Bellevue and a 2010 Chateau Lafont.

  2. Unfortunately they didn't have those bottles in my store. Would love to hear what you think of those bottles so others can look for them. Thanks!

  3. Jennifer Sterret JoyFebruary 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    As someone who owns a business myself, I have to side with Grocery Outlet on this one. After changing ownership, I think it's entirely within their right to question whether your agreement with the former owner is worth keeping or not. It's just good business. However, what is NOT good business is writing about their company in a derogatory manner while they are trying to make that determination. If as many people read this blog as you claim (which I'm sure they do), you've tried to tarnish GO's reputation as a good and fair company. Writing about a bottle of wine that you didn't enjoy is completely fair and within your right. However, insinuating that GO is crazy for not continuing your agreement is crossing a line. I have to admit, if I were in GO's shoes and read this post bashing my business in the midst of trying to decide whether to continue a professional relationship, I would run in the other direction.

    1. Thanks for your input Jennifer. Just so you know, I have a great relationship with GO and hopefully you went out and bought a bunch of wine there. Not to mention hopefully you tell Aaron that you read this column if you're near the Kennewick store during the wine tasting tonight.

      This column wasn't meant to sever a relationship between GO and one of it's biggest bloggers, but to reinvent the relationship into something that is bigger and more powerful than the weak one that was before.

      You'll note that I wrote in this article a glowing column about one of their featured wines and an event that they are sponsoring. Thousands have read the article as of this reply. Now you are even a bigger fan of GO than before. This once again shows the power of blogging and social media in today's marketing environment. That was what I was trying to prove. Awesome!!

    2. Do your arms ever get sore from all the patting yourself on the back that you do?

    3. Jennifer Sterret JoyFebruary 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      I think perhaps you're not seeing the whole picture here. You do not, in fact, have a great relationship with GO if you're entitling your post, "Grocery Outlet Ticks Me Off." Further, I'm pretty sure that no one at GO is going to congratulate you for writing a post that attempts to put them in a negative light after they've given you free tasting wine for the last three years. It shows a lack of loyalty and a sense of entitlement that is seriously off-putting.

    4. Thanks again Jennifer for reading my blog, and being such a die hard supporter of Grocery Outlet. Both of us really appreciate it. If you are on Facebook I suggest liking the Grocery Outlook page and let Kelly know of your support. Thanks!

  4. Just my two cents, but if you want to maintain/improve a relationship with a company, wouldn't you want to stay away from headlines that are insulting to them?


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