21 Popular Chain Grocery Stores For Wine, Ranked Worst To Best

You know the drill. It is Taco Tuesday, and you are making a quick dash to the supermarket to pick up the essentials, like ground meat, cheese, and tortillas. And, of course, you need a bottle of wine to wash it down. Thankfully, at hundreds of grocery stores across the country, you can buy that wine inside the store to expedite your shopping trip.

Purchasing wine at a grocery store offers incredible convenience. Instead of driving to a liquor store, supermarkets make it easy to toss a few bottles in the cart while stocking up on other grocery essentials. 

However, not all grocery stores are the same. From the selection to the atmosphere and customer service, some stores offer more than others when selling you wine. We evaluated the wine departments in supermarket chains nationwide to find the best shopping experience for its wine-buying customers. Here are our favorites, ranked.

21. Food Lion

If you are looking for affordability, Food Lion consistently delivers outstanding prices. However, their wine department leaves much to be desired. The North Carolina-based company currently operates over 1100 stores. Many locations are in states that do not allow alcohol with groceries in the same location, so the category may not be a focus for the company. This may explain why the wine department lacks a more extensive selection, with many bottles leaning to the sweeter side, like Stella Rosa, Barefoot Fruitscato, and Duplin Cotton Candy grape wine.

We appreciate the chain trying to increase wine sales by pairing selections with specific varieties or recipes. And the most you'll spend is around $22.99 for a bottle. However, we wish the company offered more diverse options.

20. Walmart

Statista reports that in 2021 Walmart was the largest retailer of food and groceries in America, dominating the category with almost $400 billion in annual sales. With over 10,000 locations worldwide, it is a giant among the rest.

Many of Walmart's locations sell wine, beer, and spirits. The shelves are lined with mainstream labels from large production wineries like E. & J. Gallo Winery (Barefoot Wine), Constellation (Woodbridge), and The Wine Group (Meridian), along with private label options, like the Winemaker's Selection, Walmart's $5 wine. While we appreciate the convenience of buying a bottle while stocking up on paper products and cleaning supplies, we wish Walmart's wine department was more diverse and compelling.

Sadly, Walmart also has some of the worst customer service. We have yet to find a knowledgeable associate to help decipher which is best in the lackluster selection. 

19. Winn-Dixie

One of the best reasons to shop at Winn-Dixie is the store's rewards program. The Florida-based grocery store chain with 544 stores in the southeast generously offers points to turn into cash towards future purchases, including items like beer, bacon, and beef jerky. They've further discounted dozens of products to assist with rising costs due to inflation.

However, the generous rewards points do not apply to wine and spirits in certain states, which makes Winn Dixie an unfortunate wine loss instead of "winn" win. Though you won't earn points on wine, you will find affordable prices on the store's inventory consisting of the mainstream grocery store options. They are often on sale or offered as a buy-one-get-one-free, like The Federalist Mendocino County Chardonnay, perfect with seafood paella.

18. Target

Have you ever wondered if you should be buying your wine from Target? The big box store has rows and rows of bottles introducing shoppers to selections beyond the expected grocery store wines, including Louis Martini's stunning Monte Rosso cabernet sauvignon and Schramsberg's delicious brut rosé.

However, while there are many distinct options, we have yet to find a store associate with wine knowledge to answer questions. There are also better prices on large-production wine brands elsewhere. 

If your focus is strictly on affordability, Target offers several inexpensive private-label selections, including its $5 California Roots wines. While we applaud Target's efforts, we suggest saving a few dollars by buying Aldi's private-label Winking Owl wine or Two Buck Chuck from TJ's. Both are comparable and cheaper.

17. Aldi

Aldi is one of the most affordable grocery stores. From produce and dairy to condiments and crackers, Aldi delivers savings. And while Aldi's wine selection includes some usual suspects at similar prices elsewhere, the private-label bottles and boxes focus on value. You can easily find a bottle of three or four-dollar wine at Aldi. While the quality isn't that of First Growth Bordeaux, it won't break the bank. Aldi wines rarely cost over $10 a bottle.

Aldi's philosophy is to cut out the middle man by selling private-label wines working directly with the importer providing tasty options that pair with your Friday night pizza or Sunday pot roast. You'll find wines from Italy, France, Argentina, and more; there are even a few organic wines

16. Sam's Club

If you are considering a membership to Sam's Club to buy wine, wait. You don't need to buy a Sam's Club membership for alcohol. Though Sam's Club is a membership-only warehouse store, you can shop the store's liquor department freely without having a membership. The ability to shop without paying the $50-$110 membership allows you to stock up on a large selection of American and international wines, usually with nice discounts compared to other stores.

The section could be more robust. Still, Sam's adequately provides mainstream options at affordable prices. You can even purchase the wholesaler's value-priced Members Mark wine. However, we suggest you start with single bottles instead of bulk buying, as the flavors and quality are inconsistent, according to Insider.

15. Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods has hung its hat on working with natural and organic products that are better for the environment. It's produce and meat departments are excellent. However, the wine selection at Whole Foods could use a refresher. 

When the company launched in Austin, Texas, it focused on being a purveyor providing farm-to-cart organic products. Today, over 500 stores across the U.S. provide over 20,000 organic products, earning Whole Foods the organic grocer certification. 

However, don't shop in the wine department if you only drink clean and green. While the available options are beyond the typical grocery store offerings, only a fraction of its wines are certified organic. Of over 200 bottles offered at our local Whole Foods, only 8 are USDA Certified Organic. Additionally, Whole Foods prices are among the highest in the country, sometimes 20% higher than you'll pay elsewhere

14. Albertsons

Albertsons stores span the country carrying an assortment of wines for toasting in every budget and lifestyle, from a single serving or large-volume box wine. The varied selection is likely thanks to Albertsons vice president of alcohol, master of wine Curtis Mann, who curates the wines for Albertsons and subsidiaries, like Safeway.

We wish Albertsons stores had some of the same unique options as the sister brands, like earthy Tuscan or robust Barolo wines from Italy. Instead, we typically find the usual grocery store wines and a handful of private label selections, including a USDA-certified organic line that is a part of the O Organics brand.

Mann is still new to the job, joining Albertsons Companies in 2020. We look forward to watching the store's wine department grow under his guidance.

13. Gelson's

Gelson's may be one of the most expensive grocery store chains in the U.S. Still, the Southern California-based market is known for its exclusive shopping experience, with uncrowded aisles and knowledgeable staff ready to share their knowledge and recommendations on any product at moment's notice. 

The shelves of its incredible wine department are stocked full of premium offerings. Many stores also have wine bars where shoppers can enjoy a glass before buying a bottle.

The best part of buying wine at Gelson's is shopping the private label collection crafted in collaboration with celebrated Napa Valley winemaker Julien Fayard. Each of Gelson's 27 stores carries the wines crafted by Fayard, one of the most respected winemakers in the region today. The selections are pricey. However, few grocery stores are working with winemakers of Fayard's caliber.

12. Kroger

Kroger is a massive supermarket chain with almost 2500 stores nationwide. However, the grocer has focused on beer versus wine over the years. Concentrating on the beer category is how they built their alcohol department, which remains among the company's highest sales categories. 

However, the store also wants to provide something for everyone. This includes dozens of value-driven wines with a handful of premium selections, with options varying based on location.

We believe the one reason you should be buying your wine at Kroger is for the rewards program. By signing up for a rewards card, Kroger will give 10% back on six bottles of wine purchased. You are able to mix and match your selections to include any style, size, or price.

11. Meijer

If you live in the Midwest, you are undoubtedly familiar with Meijer. The Michigan-based, family-owned stores employ 70,000 associates, each happy to help you find the perfect cut of locally sourced meat, cheese, produce, and wine. The benefit of being a family-owned, locally-based company is that Meijer will listen to their customers and bring in items their clientele requests, which is something we greatly appreciate about the grocer. 

The Meijer wine department includes the standard grocery store options and a few local wines from Michigan's Leelanau Cellars. Though Michigan wine production is not as well-known as California, it's growing. The $10 Leelanau Cellars Great Lakes Red Concord wine represents this historic variety, delivering juicy grape flavors and 11% alcohol.

10. Sprouts Farmers Market

With almost 400 stores in 23 states nationwide, Sprouts Farmers Market offers natural, organic, and fresh options to shoppers looking for affordable products made and grown eco-friendly. They live by the motto, "you didn't have to be wealthy to eat healthy." They are like an affordable Whole Foods Market, exuding a relaxed, farm-friendly feeling. 

There are many reasons we love shopping in the wine department at Sprouts. We appreciate the store's organic offerings and that they carry selections beyond the typical grocery store finds. Sprouts also automatically extend discounts when you purchase four or more bottles of wine, no shopper's rewards card is necessary. However, you will find fewer options at Sprouts than in other supermarkets, keeping it in the middle ranking.

9. Publix

Twelve hundred Florida-based Publix grocery stores dot the southeast from Alabama to Florida. Founded in 1930, the store is a favorite for workers and shoppers, winning customer service awards and gaining notoriety as a great workplace. Its happy working environment translates to a great atmosphere to shop for wine, especially in stores with Publix wine specialists who help you select the bottle or host in-store tastings and events.

Selection-wise, we also love the Publix private-label wine. Each is a spot-on representation of the region. Options include chardonnay and pinot noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley and cabernet sauvignon from Napa's Spring Mountain.  

Publix also offers discounts to customers on multi-bottle buys. You will automatically save 5% when buying four to seven bottles and 10% on eight or more. And while we love savings, better discounts are found elsewhere.

8. Safeway

We love shopping in the wine department at Safeway. Though a part of the larger chain of grocery stores, Albertsons Companies, we have found Safeway provides unique offerings missing from the parent company's shelves. 

Of course, you will find the usual suspects, like the wines from Yellow Tail, Beringer, and Josh Cellars. However, unique options like Domaine Drouhin pinot noir from Willamette Valley, Vietti Tre Vigne barbera from Piedmont, and La Cana albarino from Rias Baixas are also available.

Regarding customer service, Albertsons vice president of alcohol Curtis Mann puts team member education at the top of the list. The corporation has partnered with the Napa Valley Wine Academy helping associates improve their wine knowledge. 

And while we appreciate that this focus translates to better customer assistance, the store's prices keep it from a higher ranking. Safeway is one of America's most expensive grocery stores, according to Consumers' Checkbook.

7. The Fresh Market

Walking into Fresh Market is like walking into an open-air farmer's market in the middle of Paris, complete with an Édith Piaf serenade. The chain began after founder Ray Berry and his wife returned from a trip to Europe after becoming enchanted by the open-air markets they experienced abroad. A former convenience store executive, Berry knew he could create a similar atmosphere in the U.S. with Fresh Market. The first store in Greensboro, North Carolina, was over 14,000 feet. It had farm-fresh local produce, freshly roasted coffee beans, and an in-house butcher.

We love shopping in the Fresh Market's wine department. It is unlike in other stores where high-voltage infrared lights and blaring music overwhelm the ambiance. Instead, the feeling is like walking into a cozy wine cellar with wooden wine racks with selections labeled by variety, including many unique bottles often unavailable in chain grocery stores. 

Fresh Market does a lot to help their shoppers find the best wine. It features highly rated wines under $20, offers significant discounts on special days, and provides tasting profiles and pairing tips for customers. It is one of the best stores found.

6. Foodland

Foodland is the store to shop in if you are visiting the Hawaiian Islands and need a good bottle or two with your poi and ahi tuna poke. Since 1948 Foodland has been serving their local island communities across the state.

Foodland offers the typical grocery store wines. Advanced Sommelier Marvin Chang also curates a selection for the R. Field Wine Company inside the stores. These options include impressive high-end wines, like Realm's "The Bard" Red, Kapscandy, Goosecross, and Quilceda Creek. 

But it is not just the premium wines at Foodland that we love. Chang's "wine finds" gives customers high-quality options with great value, like Bodega Garzon's Reserve tannat from Uruguay. 

Whether browsing or looking for something special, friendly Foodland team members are ready to share an aloha while sharing information on the bottles of interest. We recommend signing up as a Maikai'i member. It will give you discounts on your total shopping, sometimes saving over 50% off select bottles.

5. H-E-B

Dotted throughout Texas, the San Antonio-based supermarket, H-E-B is one of the top supermarket chains in the country, earning recognition over the years for its impressive wine department. The chain operates 360 stores in Texas, generating over $32 billion in annual sales. 

What sets H-E-B apart is its focus on the local customer, offering products to suit its clientele. Though options may vary from store to store, you can find wine selections from all over the world and your backyard. The stores carry dozens of local Texas wines on the shelves at H-E-B, including our favorite tempranillo from Pedernalles and viognier from McPherson. 

Six locations across the state offer WineStation tasting machines. The stations allow customers to try featured selections before they buy, making it easier to take home the perfect bottle.

4. Costco Wholesale

Costco is known for its wine department. Buying in bulk and then passing the savings on to customers has allowed the wholesaler to become the largest wine retailer in the country. Costco sold $4.4 billion in alcohol in 2019, of which almost $2 billion was in wine (via SloWine). How can they do this? By limiting the markup on the wine to no more than 15%, they can sell the same bottles you will find elsewhere for much less. 

Costco also has a massive selection of private-label Kirkland Signature wines that are authentic, varietally correct, highly affordable, deliver excellent quality, and are downright delicious. We recommend Kirkland's Chateauneuf-du-Pape for around $20, available now. It is consistently a favorite. 

You also don't have to be a member to shop in the wine department in select states, making it easy to love Costco. We would have ranked it higher, but we rarely find anyone to advise on the extensive selections. 

3. Trader Joe's

Like Aldi, Trader Joe's has one of the country's best affordable wine departments. You've likely heard of Two Buck Chuck. While a sprinkling of high-end bottles are available, TJ's mainly offers great-tasting, reasonably-priced wines. International bottles stock the shelves of the price-conscious, specialty market. You can easily find $5 bottles of spritzy Vinho Verde and refreshing rosé, along with dozens of international options from the Rhone Valley, Bordeaux, Italy, Argentina, and Spain that are affordable and interesting. And TJ's friendly staff wants to help you select a wine.  

You can still find the Charles Shaw wine, now for around three or four dollars, along with a rotating line of Trader Joe's private-labeled wines ranging from $10-$20 a bottle, including the $20 Trader Joe's Diamond Reserve, a high quality, small production wine.

2. Wegmans

Wegmans is one of the most popular stores in the northeast. It began as a fruit and vegetable stand by brothers Jack and Walter Wegman in front of the family home in Rochester, NY over 100 years ago. Today with 47 locations, Wegmans remains a family-owned operation.

In 2022 Wegmans topped Fortune's list of best places to work. And all those happy workers help make the wine department one of the best in the country. Friendly staff members are readily available to answer questions regarding the extensive list of options in stores that sell wine. 

And the bottles are interesting and exciting, including 30 bottles from South Africa and almost 200 from Italy, among many others. The store rewards its loyal customers by giving two dollars back on each bottle of wine included in their weekly specials, with no purchase limit or restriction. With perks like this, the helpful staff, and Wegmans' extensive selection, why would you think twice about buying wine at the grocery store?

1. Central Market

There are only a few Central Market stores in Texas, but it is the best place to shop for wine. H-E-B owns the specialty market known for its unique products, like its premium produce, flavorful grab-and-go chef-prepared options, and expansive meat and fish departments. 

The wine department is an oenophile's dream. Bottles are displayed on wine racks arranged by country and region, allowing you to travel the world on every shopping trip. Regular opportunities exist to sample new arrivals or feature selections, and knowledgeable staff members are always available to answer questions and give suggestions. And purchasing six or more bottles will generate an automatic 10% discount.

Additionally, most stores offer educational wine-tasting and cooking classes featuring everything from Texas wines to international favorites. They even feature live music at the in-store cafés, where you can enjoy a few glasses. With its substantial, well-stocked selection, educational offerings, and in-store tastings, Central Market is the best grocery store in the U.S. for wine.

Static Media owns Tasting Table and Mashed.