Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
10.22.2010  
 

Pennsylvania Puts Wine in Grocery Stores

Control state allows three markets to try automated kiosks that test breath and dispense bottles

 
by Linda Jones McKee
 
 
Wine Kiosk
 
Conveniently located next to the deli department, the wine kiosk allows Pennsylvania consumers to buy wine at the supermarket. Wine selections are in the left-hand cases. The checkout module on the right contains a camera remotely monitored by a state employee.
Mechanicsburg, Pa.—It looks like just another supermarket in any shopping mall across the country. But the Wegmans in Mechanicsburg, Pa., is one of only three grocery stores in the state with wine available for sale to consumers. In June, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board placed two wine kiosks in grocery stores outside of Harrisburg, and last week opened another in Drexel Hill outside of Philadelphia. (Pennsylvania is a “control state.” Previously, wine was retailed only at PLCB’s state-run liquor stores or winery tasting rooms.)

Patrick Stapleton, chairman of the PLCB, noted that “the kiosks have proven to be safe and reliable, and we are looking forward to giving consumers across Pennsylvania the opportunity to do one-stop shopping.” The PLCB plans to expand the kiosks to 100 grocery stores.

Wines & Vines visited Mechanicsburg to check out how the kiosk system works—and what consumers think about them. Wegmans is an expansive  supermarket, and even though there are signs hanging from the rafters announcing that wine is for sale in the store, the kiosk’s exact location was not readily apparent. The kiosk itself looks like just another grocery case. One woman told me she shops in Wegmans regularly, but had never noticed the kiosk before because it wasn’t on her regular “grocery route.”

The kiosk consists of four sections of wine, all locked behind glass doors, and a fifth bay with a computer for selecting and purchasing the wine. There is space for 20 bottles of sparkling wine or wine in 1.5 L bottles in one section, and each of the other sections holds 24 bottles. However, even with 92 spaces available, only 53 wines are for sale through the kiosk. Of the wines available, 28 are from California, and one Riesling is from Washington. No other regions of the country—and no local wines—are included. The new kiosk in Drexel Hill reportedly now has one local wine available—a Niagara from Chaddsford Winery.

The fifth bay of the kiosk is the purchasing center. A computer touch-screen gives a choice of viewing “Reds,” “Whites,” or “All Varietals,” and then shows a label, the wine name, bottle size and price, and the option to “learn more” or “add to cart.” The information provided about each wine is limited to a sliding scale graph of “Body” from light to heavy and “Sweetness” from dry to sweet. Very basic wine and food pairings are also suggested, such as “Seafood, chicken” with a Woodbridge Chardonnay and “Beef/Grilled” with a Robert Mondavi PVS Cabernet Sauvignon.
proof of age wine purchase
 
Andrew Breining from Camp Hill, Pa., completed the process and purchased a bottle of Yellowtail Cabernet. Note breathalyzer, bottom left. Photos by Linda Jones McKee.
Once a customer chooses her wine and selects the number of bottles, the checkout procedure begins. First, the computer asks for a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, which must be inserted and scanned in order to verify the customer’s age. The computer then connects with a PLCB employee in the remote location who is assigned to monitor the kiosk, using the video camera above the screen. If the customer looks like the person on the ID, then the purchase can continue.

The computer asks for a credit card, then an OK to a statement that the customer agrees to pay the stated amount for the wine, which includes the cost of the wine, taxes and a $1.00 “convenience fee.” After signing for the purchase, the customer is instructed to blow into a breathalyzer, which looks like a 2-inch hole covered by a wire screen. Only after the machine determines that the customer is not intoxicated will the doors of the kiosk be activated so that the wine can be accessed.

Consumer reaction
How is the system working? Since June, more than 7,400 bottles of wine have been sold at the kiosks in the two Harrisburg locations. That’s more than 600 cases of wine that the PLCB might not have sold if those kiosks didn’t exist.

However, during our one-hour visit to the kiosk in Wegmans, only one person actually used the system to buy wine. Others were put off by the complexity of the procedure, the lack of selection and the difficulty of obtaining any information about the wines for sale. Potential customers offered numerous comments: “I’ll just wait and go to the liquor store where I can really look at the wines;” “Look at that—you have to breathe into it to show you’re not drunk;” and “I don’t have time to do that now; maybe I’ll come back later.”

Kiosks in grocery stores may result in more sales for the PLCB, and certainly selling wine alongside food in supermarkets has been a long- sought goal for many in Pennsylvania. While it may be convenient to have wine available in kiosks, for many consumers the smaller choice of wine, plus the added cost, may not be the ultimate solution to their wine-buying needs.
SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $570 million
6%
$7,775 million
6%
October 2013 $539 million $7,342 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $284 million
18%
$1,751 million
13%
October 2013 $240 million $1,556 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 139
6%
226
18%
October 2013 131 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 11.13.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • December 2-4
     
    Vinitech Sifel in Bordeaux
     
  • December 3
     
    Sustainable/Organic Wine Production Seminar
     
  • December 4
     
    North Coast Wine Industry Expo
     
  • December 6-7
     
    Wine Chemistry Workshop in Oregon
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Kluge Saga Continues in Virginia »
 
Not everybody likes Pat Kluge, but she and Moses built a first class winery /...
Reader: Josh Moser
 
Article: Canada Adapts to Kegged Wines »
 
I am a wine agent in Manitoba & there certainly are kegs of cider here....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: What's Your Winery's IP Worth? »
 
If you would like more information on this seminar please visit The Seminar Group's website....
Reader: Danielle Bingham
 
Article: DtC Is Lifeblood of Wineries, Banker Says »
 
Seems like another locical option would be to have more small niche distrbutors. Consolidation of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Wine From PD-Resistant Grapes »
 
Congratulations Andy! Lots of grapebreeders and southern growers will be looking through the catalogs. i...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Cellar Club Coordinato...
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Customer Service & Rel...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Brand Manager
 Woodland Hills, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Senior Vineyard Manage...
 Rutherford, CA
Vineyards
 Brand Director, Austra...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative O...
 Sacramento, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Production Forklift Op...
 Yountville, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Project Manager
 Santa Maria, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Salesperon
 Bay Head, NJ
Sales and Marketing
 Communications Special...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.