Knoxville grocery stores get ready to sell wine

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Preparations are underway for wine in Tennessee grocery stores, a change years in the making.

Lawmakers more than a year ago voted to let local communities decide, and while the change is still some nine months away from the day shoppers will be able to put a chardonnay in the shopping cart with bread, milk and eggs, it’s close enough that stores are taking action.

Chances are if you go inside your favorite grocery store you’ll notice some changes. Stores, like Kroger, are busy getting ready to sell wine that means adding more shelves and signage.

Holli Sutphin looks forward to the day of only having to make one stop to get both her groceries and wine.

“It saves a stop, especially as a busy mom, one less stop is always a positive,” said Sutphin.

Employees at the Fountain City Kroger have been busy taking down displays and putting up new shelves.

“We just finished a center store reset where we were preparing to have wine in the stores and as you can see we have added shelving here for wine and we’ve added shelving here and we are going to have some refrigerated cases for wine as well,” said Fountain City Kroger co-manager Lisa Nichols.

Nichols says more than 120 feet of shelving has been added for the wine. The signs will soon be added up above and down the aisles. The cereal and soda is just on the shelves temporarily.

“We are just filling in this space until we get the wine,” said Nichols.

Kroger spokesperson Melissa Eads says more than 120 Kroger stores across Tennessee have to make changes to be ready to sell wine by July 1, 2016.

“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into getting those stores ready and of course we can’t wait till the last minute so we are moving into the Knox area now and we have a few stores already completed and we will continue to work through the area,” said Eads.

Eads says for years, wine has been the number one requested item in their Tennessee stores. She says she’s excited to make shopping more convenient for the customers. It’s a time saver some shoppers say they are really looking for.

“Saved us a lot of time, little bit more time at the dinner table with the wine ha ha and the kids,” said Michelle McRae.

Tennessee regulators expect 270 stores across the state to sell wine in 2016. The state alcoholic beverage commission says there will be around 105 grocery stores in the Chattanooga and Knoxville regions selling wine in 2016.

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