Monday, November 14, 2011

Gold Star Wine Retailer: Ashland Food Coop

In recent posts, I have been ragging on wine and grocery retailers' casualness in labeling organically grown wine. Wine merchants who are a cut above average aren't doing a good job of it (except for the exceptions) and even leading organic food retailers (from giant chains like Whole Foods to local trendsetters like Berkeley Bowl) are casual to the point of crazy-making.

Let's put the accent on the positive and showcase a great example of how organically grown wine SHOULD be showcased in a retail setting.

The top two retailers I've met who are clearly labeling organically grown wines so far are food coops located in the heart of liberal-lands - Ukiah Food Coop in Mendocino County in California and the Ashland Food Coop in Ashland, Oregon.

Here's the wine shopping experience at the Ashland Food Coop, where not only are organically grown wines given their own section, but locally grown wines are given a little extra love in labeling and callouts.

Ashland Food Coop is certified by Oregon Tilth as an organic facility

The organic certification is displayed to customers when they walk in the door

The section of organically grown wines is front and center in the wine area;
behind the end cap on both sides of the rows are nonorganic wines;
another end cap to the right of this photo showcases imported organically grown wines

This wonderful, local, organically grown wine is front and center as well;
raised by a local grower, the grapes are vinified by the southern Oregon winery Cowhorn
under their subbrand - Sullivan and Steele 

Cowhorn's lovely biodynamically grown wines (certified) also get showcased nicely

In addition to shelving with all the organically grown brands, the local brand
also gets its own special display section

The accompanying signage lets customers know it is local and certified organic;
no wine director is trying to tell you it's organic if it's not certified (unlike in
wine stores and restaurants)

One of the lovely wine directors is on hand to tell you more about the wines
or answer any questions - she pro-actively looks for customers to engage with
I am so impressed - and yet it's so simple. Let's hope more retailers will get with the program - Whole Foods, are you listening?

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