Knoxville grocery stores getting ready to sell wine in one week

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee is just one week away from grocery stores debuting their wine sections for the first time, and many of them are doing last minute preparations. Some Knoxville liquor stores are anticipating a change in their business, but not necessarily for the worse.

Liquor stores are used to being the only places to go for wine, and at least half the store at Turkey Creek Wine and Spirits is dedicated to it.

“In this market we’ve seen interest in fine wine increase over the past 20 years probably about 300 percent. My dad got in this business in 1962 and I asked him, ‘What wines did you carry,’ and he said, ‘We carry both of them,’” said Jeff Gettelfinger, Turkey Creek Wine and Spirits manager.Previous story: Knoxville Kroger stores stock up on wine for July 1

In one week they will have a lot more competition in the area as grocery stores can then legally sell wine.

“We have pallets in the back staged and set and ready to go. We’ve got wines from all over the world,” said Anthony Denny, Knoxville Trader Joe’s store captain.

It is something grocery stores like Trader Joe’s have been looking forward to for a long time, and many of their customers too. They will be offering nearly 100 wines under $10.

“We built these small shelves here, moved one shelf over an entire foot, re-merchandised some of the store. It’s kind of like the elves have been hard at work overnight building the shelves, getting ready to go,” said Denny.

Turkey Creek Wine and Spirits does not see wine in grocery stores as much of a threat.

“Hopefully we’ll see more customers. There will be more people in the market that are exposed to wine and can learn that wine is actually a great beverage to have with their meals,” said Gettelfinger. “When they find something that they like they can come to us and see if we can offer them a better price or better service.”

As places like Trader Joe’s continue to prepare with just a few days left, people on both sides are anxious to see what happens.

“It’s been a success. We’re really excited. We’re so close, and the curtain is about ready to go up July 1,” said Denny.

“We’re offering sales, specials, discounts, things I don’t think many stores are going to be able to match,” said Gettelfinger.

Trader Joe’s is planning to celebrate selling wine on July 1 with an event for their customers including live music, giveaways, snacks, and balloons for the kids.

A total of 573 grocery stores in Tennessee applied to sell wine. Of those, 422 have been given licenses so far.

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