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Have you ever gone to a place and were like a headless chicken because you did not know what you were looking for? My first time buying a laptop a few years back was a little like that. I had not done my research and all the questions that the shop attendant asked me made my head spin. Wine shopping can be like that and you can go home with a bottle that you’ll hate.
Buying wine should not be hard if you know where to look. Some people find the process overly intimidating. Before I learned about wine, I would go to the store and rely on the trial-and-error method. I remember buying some wine because it had an attractive bottle. When I went home I could not wait to open it. I was so disappointed!
I always get questions about where people can buy their #wineinkenya and this blog post will guide you through the whole process.
Where to buy Wine in Kenya.
1. Wine Distributors and Importers.
These are the people who bring the wine from the different regions around the world to Kenya. They are the best point to buy your wine because they guide you through and a visit to these stores is the best place to get first-hand information about the wine. Most of the owners have visited the wineries where the wines come from and so when they are selling you a bottle, they are telling you about where the wine comes from. I always love to hear the like how the wine and how the soils and terroir influence the taste of the wine...
Restaurants can source wines from distributors and some even source their wines from the wineries directly. Some restaurants pride themselves in having their house wine directly from the Winery.
3. Bars and Lounges.
Now there are two types of bars and lounges. There are obviously those bars with an impressive wine list. There are also those with a very standard wine list. Obviously, if you are looking for great wine, you should go to high-end spots and the reverse is true.
We do have supermarkets and stores that sell wine in Kenya. I love Chandarana and Monty’s at Sarit Centre.
5. Retailers/ Wines and Spirits
Depending on where the wines and spirits is, you can find normal entry-level wine in most Wines & Spirits. It all depends what you are looking for. Here you will mostly find the normal wines like the sweet red… sweet white.. dry red… etc. You will also find the Cardbordeaux (boxed wines) that come in liters. I’m not a fan. Hello headaches & wine teeth!
6. Online Retailers.
Get wine on your doorstep. There are some companies that sell/ deliver wine online. I hav not used any.
7. Leleshwa Winery.
How could I forget that We have a winery in Kenya. Read more here.
Buying Wine in a Wineshop/ Store
1. What occasion is it?
Celebratory occasions call for sparklings, champagnes and bubbly’s. Are you going for a picnic or simply having dinner? Are you buying wine to store for a long time or wine to gift a friend?
2. What food are you serving?
Some people choose the wine first and then the food later but I do it vice-versa. Find out what food you will be serving then look for wines that pair with that food. (if you are having trouble, drop a comment below & I will help).
3. Consider the flavour preferences.
If you are alone, look for the flavours that you like. For example, if you love fruity wines with hints of citrus, green apples and pineapples you can tell a lot from that flavour profile. From that flavour profile, you automatically know that you lean towards whites like Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc. I love heavier, spicier reds and that is what I lean towards most of the time. If you have guests over, call them beforehand to ask for their flavour preference and use that as a guide for your tour in the store.
4. Check the time that the wine will be consumed.
Some reds improve with age but some wines are best with immediate consumption. Research from the store owner or distributor beforehand.
5. Expensive does not mean quality wine.
Some people buy expensive wines, thinking that they are superior to the lower priced ones. This is not always the case.
If you do not have a wine app, google and check for past notes and reviews about the wine. It will not take you more than two minutes. Check my post on Apps for Wine lovers.
7. Lastly; Read the label.
The label contains a wealth of information from mini tasting notes to food pairings. Don’t be intimidated when names like Gewürztraminer pop up. These are just grape varieties. I will do a post on how to read a wine-label in subsequent posts.
Let me know if you have any questions about shopping for wine.
We will also be talking about how to order wine at a restaurant. Send in your questions.