Washington's fall wine sales offer consumers a chance to replenish their cellar or try some new wines at bargain prices. It's also a good time to stock up on wine for Christmas and New Year's Eve or buy that special bottle as a present. In addition to discounts some hard-to-find vintages temporarily reappear during these annual sales.
This should be a good time to stock up on 1970, 1975 and 1978 Bordeaux; 1971, 1972 and 1976 red Burgundies; 1975 and 1979 Germans as well as Italian, Californian, Spanish and Portuguese wines. Lesser vintages, such as the 1975 red Burgundies, can offer pleasant drinking and would be worth buying if priced well below the better years.
Recently I spoke to managers and heads of wine departments at more than a dozen of D.C.'s leading stores in order to see what the sale prospects were. The results are included below.
Where possible I have indicated the sale date, wines to be offered, and discount rate. If the sale probably will not be advertised in the newspapers I have indicated that it will be a mailing list sale. Otherwise, check the newspaper for ads.
Most of the stores mail out brochures listing their sale dates, wines and prices. You can phone the stores to be put on their mailing lists. Phone numbers are given next to each store's name and address.
As with the purchase of any wine there are certain risks involved, particularly that older vintages are way past their prime or that the wines may not have been stored properly. In general, whites go over the hill sooner than reds. For example, there have been reports recently that many 1976 German wines -- in contrast to the 1975s -- are not aging well. If you want to buy a case, try a bottle first. If you like it, phone in an order quickly. Your chosen wine could be sold out if you do not return for a week. If you are concerned about a wine's age or the way it was cellared, check with the store's wine expert.
A & A LIQUOR, 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue Nw; 331-8989.
First Sale: Sept. 22 through October. Wines -- 1975 and 1976 German wines. 1979s can be ordered for delivery in late October, early November. About 400 wines will be on sale. Discount will be 25-30 percent off usual prices for the 1975s and 1976s; up to 40 percent off the 1979s. This will be a mailing list.
Second Sale : Sometime in October, lasting 2 weeks. Wines -- 300 Italian wines. At least 15 percent discount on individual bottles and 20-30 percent off on a case.
APEX LIQUOR, 633 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 783-3330. Sale Date : Oct, 1 through mid-November. Wines -- 75 to 100 selected bordeaux, 1976 Burgundies, Germans and rare or old vintage Californias. New stock will be coming in for this sale.
ADDY BASSIN'S MacArthur BEVERAGES, 4877 MacArthur Blvd. NW, 338-1433. Basin's will have two sales this fall. First Sale : Sept. 29 through Oct. 11. Wines -- Several hundred Bordeaux and Californias. Discount will be 12-40 percent off the usual price. Bassin's will also be offering 1978 Bordeaux for predelivery sale. A second sale will be held later in October but the featured wines have not yet been selected.
Burka's wine and liquor STORE, 3300 Wisconsin Ave. Nw, 966-7676. Burka's will have a number of sales this fall. Each will last a week. First Sale : Now through Sept. 27. Wines -- About 100 German wines including the 1979 vintage. Discount will be at least 20 percent off usual prices. Later in the fall, Burka's will have a sale of American and French wines.
CALVERT WINES & LIQUOR, 2312 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 337-7777. Sale : probably at the end of October and running for two weeks. Wines -- Rather than putting various classes of wines on sale, Calvert will discount at various price levels. Thus they will offer selected wines for $2 or $3 or $5 to $6 up to $20 per bottle that they believe are better than other wines in the same price range. This sale will be advertized in the newspapers.
CENTRAL LIQUOR, 518 9th St. NW, 737-2800. Central will have three or four large sales this fall. First Sale; late September, lasting one week. Wines -- 200 French, German and California boutique wines. All will be at or below cost. No details available on later sales.
CHEVY CHASE LIQUORS, 5544 Connecticut Avenue NW, 363-4000. Sale : Now through Oct. 6. Wines -- Over 500 wines including Bordeaux from 1966, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1976; red Burgundies from 1961, 1969, 1976; white Burgundies; 1978 and 1979 Beaujolais; also Italian and California. Discount: 10-50 percent off usual prices.
CIRCLE LIQUORS, 5501 Connecticut Avenue NW, 966-0600. A number of sales on California, French and American wines. Check the newspapers for ads.
CONTINENTAL LIQUORS, 1100 Vermont Ave. NW, 223-0616. A number of mailing list sales on selected California white varietals, Burgundies, Bordeaux and Portuguese wines.
EAGLE WINE & LIQUOR, 3345 M St. NW, 333-5500. Sale : At end of September or beginning of October, lasting 5 days. Wines -- 25 to 30 Australian wines imported by the store.In addition to sale price, 10 percent will be taken off for case purchase.
HARRY'S LIQUOR, WINE & CHEESE, 401 M St. SE, 783-4200. Sale : Late September through Oct. 31. Wines -- California and German. Discount: 15-30 percent. This will be a mailing list sale. There may be an advertised sale later in the fall.
MORRIS MILLER LIQUOR, 7804 Alaska Avenue NW, 723-5000. Plans are not firm. Wines were still being purchased for sale of California and European wines.This probably will be a mailing list sale.
Pearson's liquor and wine ANNEX, 2436 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 333-6666. A special sale with discounts of 12-20 percent on nearly all the wines in the store is planned, though the date is not set. Check newspapers for ads.
WOODLEY LIQUOR, 3423 Connecticut Ave. NW, 966-4400. Sale : From the first or second week of October until Jan. 1. Wines -- Everything in the store except jug wines. 2,000 to 3,000 wines. A list of sale wines will be mailed in early October. Ads will appear at about the same time.