Archive for October, 2011


Online Wine Shopping in PA

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Though many proponents of privatizing liquor sales in PA thought that 2011 was the best opportunity for this to happen in some time, Harrisburg insiders are now saying that talks on the issue have cooled and is unlikely to happen in the near future. To quickly summarize, there are more important issues on the state docket for the rest of this year, and many feel that 2012 will be an unlikely year for the bill due to re-election for all house members. (For more info on this developing news, go here). On the other hand, Governor Corbett has finally gone public with a report on the issue (story).

Fear not, lover of wine who happens to live in this state. Many online wine shops have quietly begun shipping to Pennsylvania addresses (likely based on the 2005 Supreme Court ruling that our state’s law is illegal, even though it has never been officially changed). Though this was an absolute anomaly a few years ago, it is now somewhat easy to find wine online that can be shipped to your door.

There are drawbacks, of course. Firstly, there is no brick & mortar presence. If you need a last minute bottle, you’re certainly out of luck. If you want to have a conversation with a wine expert (not that you can currently do that in our state stores), you’re also out of luck (though some may offer it via email).

The second major issue is shipping. Shipping wine is not like shipping DVDs. It is expensive. Many sites offer shipping sales or free shipping with a large purchase (i.e. 6 bottles, $200, etc.), but that often revolves around buying the wine that is on sale or featured. If you want to seek out a specific wine, expect to pay high S&H prices or wait around and hope you catch a shipping deal.

The other problem with shipping is exposure to the elements. Wines, especially ones meant to age, do not respond well to extreme heat or cold. Though most reputable wine merchants attempt to avoid shipping during these times, UPS and/or FedEx are not as careful, so almost all wine shipments have some risk of poor handling. Your best bet is to order during the Spring and Fall when temperatures are mild, though this too requires some advance planning.

ProTip 1: Ship directly to UPS Store or FedEx/Kinkos – this way the package will not spend a lot of time in a residential truck. Especially helpful if you aren’t home to sign for it during the day.

ProTip 2: Order from East Coast vendors when you can – less time in transit.

Read on to find out where to shop…

Flash Sale Sites:

Flash sales are websites that sell a single item (or small selection of items) at a time, for a discounted price, until they sell out. These are all the rage online right now (see also), and wine has carved out a nice little niche. Sign up for emails or follow these sites on Twitter or Facebook to find out when the offers change. Most offer free shipping with a minimum purchase (2-6 bottles, depending on price).

Regular Sites:

These are your typical online shops that specialize in Wine. It’s harder to come by shipping deals, although most usually have a sale of some kind at any given moment.

  • Wine.com
  • Zachys
  • Wine Library
  • Wine Access (headquarters are in Narberth, interestingly. This is actually an umbrella site that manages inventory for many smaller wine shops. Not all ship to PA, but some do. They also have an email deals newsletter that does always ship to PA)
  • Pop’s Wine & Spirits ($1/bottle shipping to PA!)

Know of others? Let us know in the comments.

Note: We cannot confirm with absolute certainty that all of these vendors will ship to PA or, even if they do, that it is legal to do so (or to receive the shipment). This is merely a list that we’ve compiled through internet research (mostly by looking up the shipping policy on each site). Shop at your own risk.

Mixx Restaurant in Villanova Gets New Concept

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Villanova’s Mixx, part of the WIN Signature Restaurant group and located in the downstairs portion of everyone’s favorite recent restaurant disaster Maia, is getting a new concept (“global small plates”), chef (Aniwat “Chay” Vadhanacha) and menu (menu available here).

For more details, check out The Latest Dish (WIN’s PR firm), Main Line Today or Philly.com.

New PLCB Store Coming to Paoli

Monday, October 10th, 2011
plcb paoli

Landor Associates image of new PLCB store in South Philly

As part of his campaign, new PA governor Tom Corbett promised to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania, but we’ve seen little action on this issue so far. It appears, however that this is about to change.  Last week, the movement gained a key ally when Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) announced his support for the bill (House Bill 11) originally proposed by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, which proposes to close 625 state liquor stores and sell 1200 licenses to the highest bidder. In addition, according to the PA Independent, Corbett has just recently received a report from a Philly-based business research firm detailing the potential revenue gains from selling off the state stores (this report has yet to be made public). Lastly, the Pennsylvania think tank Commonwealth Foundation has recently launched http://freemydrink.com/ to bring more exposure to the issue.

The debate is far from over, of course. Over the summer, Senate President Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, spoke out against the bill, showing support instead for removing “handcuffs” to allow PLCB to operate more like a private business. Other state senators, including John Blake, D-Lackawanna, also remain skeptical.

So, from that standpoint, I must say that I’m quite looking forward to checking out the swank (for PLCB standards, at least) new Paoli digs, which are planned for the ACME shopping center, in the space where Blockbuster used to be. The store, which will dwarf the current cubicle that hides behind BK, will feature more than 3000 additional products. It will also have a 8-seat bar for tastings, a plethora of Chairman’s Selections (including high-end choices), a temperature-controlled room, and even a wine chiller that’ll cool any shelved bottle of wine in less than 15 minutes. And – gasp – it’ll be open on Sundays!

When will this store open? Well, that’s just the thing. Apparently it was planned for July, but is held up in Harrisburg. Shocking.

Local Cookbooks: Pork Chops with Sage and White Beans

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

corked-and-forked-pork-chops

Local Cookbooks is a feature at MLD where we share a recipe from a cookbook with local ties. Have a cookbook we should consider? Let us know.

This month we’re featuring Corked & Forked by Keith Wallace, founder of The Wine School of Philadelphia, released in August 2011. As Wallace is known (previously to this book, at least) more for his drink knowledge than his cooking, one of the unique aspects of this book is that every recipe has a suggested drink pairing. Many are wine, but beers, cocktails and even coffees are also included.

(more…)

Review: Dia Doce Cupcakes

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011
Read full review >>