I was asking San Francisco friends who have a Sonoma property what boutique wineries with somewhat affordable prices they frequent. “Oh, we don’t buy wine in the Sonoma or Napa Valleys,” they replied. “We just go to Safeway. They’ve got great selection, and you can get big Club Card discounts.”
Indeed, anytime I gave my Canadian Safeway Club Card number, or phone number in the U.S., I got said discounts, too. It also works at Von’s, a Safeway affiliate in some California cities.
Now, I do advocate frequenting independent places to eat and drink. And I enjoy visiting wineries (especially in beautiful wine-producing regions), tasting their products, maybe meeting the owner or winemaker and picking up some bottles in situ.
But I also like affordable, and if the product is the same and the winery’s still getting its cut, price does become a factor. Plus, sometimes you don’t have time for that trip to the winery and want a nice pinot noir to drink out of a paper cup at the motel.