News made the rounds this week that convenience store chain 7-Eleven would start selling fine wines in many of its locations. While you might have been able to only buy MD 20/20, Thunderbird or other "wines" in the past in convenience stores around the country, the wine effort has been improving over the years in convenience stores, gas stations and drug stores, with higher and higher price points. Now 7-Eleven has confirmed that it will sell more wines -- fine wines, that is, rated 90 points and priced less than $20 per bottle. These are available in almost 700 stores in 16 U.S. states.
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Its four wines listed are scored 89 to 90 points in publications like Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast. You will recognize some of these names if you are an oenophile: La Crema Chardonnay, Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and Wild Horse Pinot Noir. The Wild Horse pinot noir is priced at $19.99, and the other three all come with a suggested retail price of $19.99 or less at the participating stores.
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A figure used by 7-Eleven is that American wine consumption has risen some 21% from 2001 to 2011. The company also says that wine is now "almost neck and neck" with beer drinking and that the growth shows no signs of stopping after another 2% gain in 2012.
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Here was my tongue-in-cheek tweet from @jonogg on the matter yesterday, and now we know which wines it will really be. The big question is whether you can ask for an empty Big Gulp plastic cup when you walk out the door.
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