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Wine time: Wine for sale now
Sales begin in McMinnville
Sandra Smith of Private Label Marketing stocks wine Wednesday morning at Kroger. Her company handles wine distribution for 90 Kroger stores in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.

The atmosphere Wednesday morning at Kroger was intoxicating.
Wine went on sale for the first time in McMinnville history with sales beginning promptly at 8 a.m.
“I got to thinking about it last night and I wondered who the first person would be,” said Kroger cashier Betty Jo Paris. “I looked up and saw Christy standing there and I was excited it was going to be her. We used to work together. She was actually in line around 7:45 a.m. and she had to wait to buy it. We can’t start selling wine until 8 a.m.”
A Kroger official said Tuesday wine sales weren’t expected to begin until around noon. But when Ross learned workers were going to begin stocking shelves first thing Wednesday morning, she figured she could act as soon as wine bottles started to hit the shelves.
“I couldn’t miss this,” said Ross, a main supporter of wine in grocery stores and package liquor when the items were on the ballot in November. “I worked too hard to get this passed.”
Two employees with Private Label Marketing were on hand stocking the Kroger shelves with wine. The company is in charge of distributing wine in 90 Krogers in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
“This is our economy set,” said Private Label Marketing employee Jeff Mealer. “This display is 24 feet long. We stock one in Maryville that’s over 200 feet. Some of our nicer displays have coolers so you can buy wine that’s already chilled. This is just a basic display. It’s getting wine in the store.”
Co-worker Sandra Smith says the most popular brand Private Label Marketing sells in Bay Bridge. That’s because it’s the cheapest wine at just $2.99 a bottle. The most expensive wine at our Kroger is Veuve Clicquot with a price of $61.19 a bottle.
“Some of the high-end displays were have in Hendersonville and Green Hill have wine between $200 and $300 a bottle,” said Smith. “Those are kept locked in a case.”
Mealer said selling wine in grocery stores has been popular since it became permissible under state law July 1, 2016.
“Women are more apt to buy wine if it’s in a grocery store because it’s a more comfortable setting than going to a liquor store,” said Mealer.
As for first-day wine sales, Kroger manager Ricky Patton described them as “steady most of the day.”