You've probably seen the signs in Kroger from the Food With Wine Coalition, urging you in the checkout aisle to sign the petition. The ruckus is all about a state law that prohibits food stores from selling wine. Word is that the pesky rule is the reason Louisville won't get a Trader Joe's (guess they don't like the hassle of a separate door that Whole Foods uses).
While I'm every bit as convenience-seeking as the next person, I'm not personally too keen on pushing a change through to this law. I happen to like buying my wine at Old Town or The Wine Market. Yes I want to support local business, but mainly I like that they know what they're talking about. I can stroll in and tell the folks working there what I'm having for dinner and without fail they guide me to a selection that pairs perfectly with my meal. And I can pick up a Blue Dog baguette and some nice cheese while I'm there. They'll even give our dogs treats.
Would that happen at Kroger? I can't picture it. I befuddle and perplex cashiers as it is with such exotic and unheard-of produce items as fennel. "What is anus?" the clerk called to the next lane, brows knit in consternation as he examined the 'anise' sticker on my fennel.
I have nothing against Kroger employees, but they are not stocking shelves because they listed oenophile on their resume. I'm
not an oenophile, which is why I need someone who is to help me out. I spend enough time reading all the bread packages in Kroger seeking one without partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. I don't need to spend another half hour in a wine aisle trying to puzzle out on my own if my fennel would pair better with a sauvignon blanc or a zin.
If Kroger and their grocery compatriots can sell wine, what happens to our beloved local wine shops? Maybe it won't hurt their business, but what if it does? Can you imagine a Bardstown Road that only offered wine at Kroger? That would be a sad world.
Now if only someone would launch a successful campaign that would be far more beneficial to Kentucky's burgeoning wine industry -- one that would open up dry counties (like my hometown of Somerset) to wine sales. There's a petition I'd line up to sign.