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Decanter Best

Total Wine: the best US buys

Highlights from the largest independent retailer of fine wine in the US

Established in 1991 by brothers, Robert and David Trone, Total Wine began as a small single store in Claymont, Delaware. Today it is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland and operates 212 stores across 25 states.

Consumers can count on a broad selection both online and in-store. Most locations carry a robust inventory from more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 different beers. 

From boutique imports to everyday blends, customers have diverse options in terms of style, region and price. 

Competitive pricing – with decent discounts on purchases of six wines or more – is a cornerstone of Total Wine’s market success. Lower pricing is something Total Wine has fought legally in states that institute minimum pricing structures for beverage retailers. 

Technological innovations

Where Total Wine continues to set itself apart is through the use of savvy technology. Wine-pairing apps integrate with its inventory, while user-friendly ‘get-to-know-you’ video collections highlight specific wineries.

Do you love the wines of fifth-generation winemaker Joe Wagner? Using Total Wine’s Legends of Wine Collection video app, consumers who grew up on his Meiomi Pinot Noir can discover his latest releases, like the 2018 Vennstone – a $20 fruit-forward Pinot Noir made from vineyards in Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties. 

Each AVA is designed to bring a unique character to the wine – all of which is explained through the videos. ‘Sonoma County brings its bright berry flavours and mineral flavours,’ Wagner tells interested buyers. ‘Monterey County gives its rich earth notes and Santa Barbara drives the finish with its baking spice and silkiness.’ 

Through Total Wine’s Winery Direct partnership programs (of which Vennstone is an example), customers have direct access to wines which may not enjoy distribution and availability through other retail avenues.

For customer education, Total Wine offers online virtual tastings and live-stream events with noted winemakers both in store via big screens, or for wine lovers to engage with at home.

In 30 years, Total Wine has arguably met its mission of being the largest independent retailer of fine wine in the US.

Decanter’s pick from Total Wine

The wines below are a current selection from the Total Wine portfolio. The 12 most recently tasted are at the top of the list.

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