Around Town

Which has a better wine selection, Harris Teeter or Publix?

Part of me wanted to raise my hand in a silent fist pump when I read that “Harris Teeter reclaimed the No. 1 spot … in the latest market share rankings for Charlotte’s highly competitive grocery scene.”

Harris Teeter is local and I grew up going there to shop. But now, living on the border of Dilworth/South End, I generally alternate my grocery-shopping excursions between the Kenilworth Commons Harris Teeter and Publix on South Boulevard, based on the convenience of my commute.

So while part of me celebrated Harris Teeter’s win, the other part of me wondered whether a vital component to my dinner-shopping (read: wine) could sway my attention to a specific store once and for all. Because I love the rest of Publix and Harris Teeter equally — they both have vibrant, fresh produce, and, in terms of quality I look for, comparable staples of frozen produce, trail mix, seaweed salad, kombucha and chocolate chips.

So let’s get a little snobby and compare* some wine selections:

(*I am not a wine expert.)

Price of The Apothic Red blend

Winner: Publix, $9.23

Not winner: Harris Teeter, $9.99

Score: Publix 1, HT 0

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Price of the Conquista Malbec (Oak Cask)

Winner: Publix, $8.99

Not winner (by kind of a mile): Harris Teeter: $10.99

Score: Publix 2, HT 0

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 Price of the Rex-Goliath Pinot Noir

Tied for the win: Publix, $6.49 and Harris Teeter, $6.49

Score: Publix 3, HT 1

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Price of the Corbett Canyon Boxes (Specifically, Pinot Noir)

Tied for the win: Publix, $13.99 and Harris Teeter, $13.99

Score: Publix 4, HT 2

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Amount of NC wine in stock

Winner: Harris Teeter. I counted six NC vineyards represented here: Biltmore, Childress, Shelton, Duplin, Old North State and Hinnant Family Vineyards.

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Not winner: Publix. I counted five NC vineyards represented here: Hutton, Childress, Shelton, Duplin and Biltmore.

Score: Publix 4, HT 3

Display appeal

Publix wins in eye-catching ability for their summer-y display of rosés: a mix of California and French selections. Meanwhile, Harris Teeter is kind of overwhelming in its clutter — the wines don’t stand out as well.

Score: Publix 5, HT 3

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Informative

But Harris Teeter wins when it comes to guidance. They have signs that stretch from their rosés (which feature tips for party hosts) to their whites (which feature a “simplified” spectrum of taste descriptions from peach/floral/tropical Moscato to citrus Sauvignon Blanc).

They also have a wandering wine representative (even at 11 a.m., when I’m there scouting out the shelves for this article). The representative tells me the French rosés are bound to be dry, and to beware of the sweeter California roses.

I appreciate that.

Score: Publix 5, HT 4

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Bonus point: Harris Teeter adds some personality with this cute “Wine Market Rules” sign.

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Score: Publix 5, HT 5

To be fair, Publix does have this little wine guide stand, some free wine pamphlets and a representative you can call on a phone with questions. But it’s not quite the same.

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So when it comes down to it, the two spots are pretty even to me. They both win in some areas, based on brands I gravitate toward, and they both lose in some areas. I’ll probably still base my shopping excursions entirely on convenience.

But where did I actually end up spontaneously buying a bottle?

Harris Teeter.

Just because a wine representative walked over to me and gave me a recommendation. And all I could think was, “Yes. Yes, I’d like that.”

Photos: Katie Toussaint

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