Who says we don't have wine in grocery stores? Not moi, and the latest evidence came during a visit to the revamped Byerly's wine and spirits emporium in Golden Valley. Never mind that it's a separate entrance, this store is Byerly's incarnate.
They nailed this re-do, creating a comfortable, welcoming space with a great wine inventory. There's a wonderful selection of Italian wines at all price points, beautifully chosen. Ditto for the Rhone shelves, and ... well, all the rest.
Bill Belkin oversees the chain's wine portfolio with tough-mindedness and clarity, but he smartly gives his individual managers a good bit of autonomy. Thus the stores reflect not only the neighborhood's buying habits (in this case, Golden Valley, Bryn Mawr and "a little bit of St. Louis Park," Belkin said) but also some of that store manager's predilections.
That's a good thing, in my book. Not only should wine retail outlets reflect someone's vision in this wide, wild world of wine, but moving Italian whites or Washington syrahs or whatever requires a staff that willingly and ably "hand-sells" the wines with expertise, back stories, whatever.
Anyway, this store is worth checking out for anyone who's in the general environs. I've added to our wine map of swell outlets in the area (takes a while to post, btw).