Gut Check has visited our neighborhood Schnucks in Hampton Village an average of three times a week for the past eight years or so, meaning that we've been there more than 1,200 times. But yesterday, we saw something that we can't ever before remember seeing at Schnucks. Or rather, can't remember not seeing: Nary a single bottle of wine appeared to be on sale.
Wandering up and down the wine aisle is an activity that typically fills us with glee. Almost every bottle, it seems, is adorned with a bright yellow sticker that magically takes down the price -- often by $10 or more -- and all but guarantees that we'll be leaving with one nicer one and one cheapy one to have on deck, just in case. (The Bible offers excellent drinking advice on which one to drink first, should you want to cruise through both in an evening. Doing this alone is not recommended.)
And so we left, dejected, with no wine in our bags stuffed with boring things: red potatoes, fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes. Healthy, yes, but also sad. It was a Wednesday, after all. Fortunately, we procured a small glass of what we referred to as Scottish wine (single-malt Scotch, in actuality) back at home, because cooking without a drink within reach is too much like work.
Curious and not at all hung-over, we got Chris Wong, Schnucks' category manager for wine, spirits and beer, on the blower to ask what's up with the wine aisle this week and when we can look forward to again enjoying wine for $4.50 bottle. (I'm looking at you, FishEye cabernet that's been on sale for the last six months, and, last night, was alarmingly priced at $10.)
We are happy to report that Wong (totally nailing the "Friendly" part of the "Friendliest Stores in Town") says the dearth of yellow price tags has everything to do with Hampton Village's remodel, and nothing to do with trying to clean up south-city livers. See, much more goes into those tags (fun fact: they're printed in Tennessee) than we consumers ever really think about. They're printed the Saturday before everything goes on sale, and to reprint and reship the tags midweek would have been a non-cost-effective pain, to say nothing of moving around thousands of tags and bottles. It sounds like rearranging your fridge, but about a gazillion times worse.
"Everything's moving to increase capacity and selection," Wong says. And how: The Hampton Village location is set to add hundreds of new boozy items, including craft beer, wine and liquor by the time the renovation is complete later this fall. He promises to keep Gut Check updated with specifics.
As for the wine, Wong says, those cheerful yellow tags should be back on the shelves by 6 p.m. tonight, just in time for happy hour. Drink up, St. Louis Hills.