Savvy Soothsayer

Get in on the action, smokin’ steals and freakish deals. Your guide to wine sales and tastings sure to titillate the senses.


Wine Book Club at Sunfish Cellars

Join a fun new way to learn about wine without trudging through a wine encyclopedia or going to a wine class. We’ve chosen novels that have interesting and exciting stories surrounding the fascinating world of wine that will allow you to learn while being entertained. Where’s the wine you say? We will meet the last Tuesday of each month at Sunfish Cellars Wine Bar to discuss and drink! Meet fellow wine lovers and enjoy a $10 flight related to that month’s book along with cheese & meat plates, flatbreads, sandwiches, and more wine by the glass to purchase. Didn’t have time to read it? That’s ok! Come enjoy some fabulous company!

The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace – Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 PM

Synopsis: The Billionaire’s Vinegar tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players—from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle. Suspenseful and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries.

Purchase: Rent: Hennepin County Libraries & Ramsey County Libraries

Sweet Sales

Titillating Tastings

Zipp’s Liquors: Ask for Jeff


Byerly’s Ridgedale: Ask for Rodney

Solo Vino: Ask for Rob or Chuck

  • Tasting every Friday from 5-7:30pm

Sorella Wines & Spirits: Ask for Chris

  • Tasting every Friday from 5-7:30pm
  • 400 bottles always on sale at any given time

Swirl: Ask for Amanda

The Wine Thief: Ask for Arzu or Paul Thief

  • Saturday’s

France 44: 44

North Loop Wines & Spirits: Ask for Kyle Loop Wines & Spirits

  • Tasting every Friday & Saturday from 4-8pm

South Lyndale Liquors: Lyndale

Stinson Wine, Beer & Spirits: Ask for Daniel or Bob Wine Beer & Spirits

  • Friday tastings

Hennepin Lake Liquors: Ask for Phil Lake Liquors

Sunfish Cellars: Ask for Mike in wine shoppe, Erica in wine bar Cellars

Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale Survival Guide

Navigating the Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale

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I have been frequenting Surdyk’s for more than 15 years, and still get giddy every time the wine sale flyer comes out. However, the Surdyk’s wine sales are not for the faint of heart. Dare I say, it takes feats of strength (and patience) to manage it. This is typically due to one or more of the following reasons:

1 – The parking lot is a disaster. People drive in from all around the metro, often times in giant SUVs, desperately seeking that rock star spot.

2 – Okay, great, you finally have a spot and are inside. What’s next? People everywhere, carts up and down the narrow aisles, not to mention wine bins every 5 feet. It can look as if people are stocking their bomb shelter, full of nervous energy associated with situations requiring said bomb shelter. Quite overwhelming.

3 – You found your wine- now you need to wait in a cartoonishly long line (hey, that rhymed!). Then, back to the clusterf**k in the parking lot, only this time, with several breakable treasures in tow.

Sold you on going to Surdyk’s wine sale, haven’t I? Not to fret. In my 15 years, I’ve managed this event the wrong way and I’ve done it the right way. Here is my insider’s guide to the “right” way, followed by my top picks.

First off, I cannot believe I’m even giving you this dirty little secret: avoid the parking lot nightmare by arriving shortly after they open. I like to get there by 9:15 a.m. If need be, I’ll conveniently schedule a “doctor appointment” that morning and skip a half day of work. This is the main perk of arriving early: less human clutter. I chat with the little old men in newspaper caps, take my time looking at labels, and you can actually hail a wine associate for their undivided attention.

“Get a cart or not?” That is the question. If you plan to buy more than 8 bottles, get a cart. Otherwise use your eco-friendly wine totes. Do NOT push your cart down the aisles. Surdyk’s even posts signs to thwart this rude act, but the bewildered and stupid still force their carts down the skinny aisles creating an annoying bottleneck. These people should be shot (or at least maimed).

Note that each aisle is marked by country/area of origin. Use these signs to guide you, as the list I’ve created below is categorized geographically. With my system, you could be in and out of there within 15 minutes (hmmm, perhaps an infomercial is in order? Sham-what?).

Now that you’ve learned how to tame the Stegosaurus that is the Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale, here is a Savvy Lush endorsed smattering of sagacious picks, this list is long enough w/o including the French:


2010 Cline ‘California’Zinfandel @ $7.49
2010 Gnarly Head Zin @ $7.99
2010 Ravenswood “Vintner’s Blend” Zin @ $6.99
2008 Peachy Canyon “Incredible Red” @ $6.99
2010 Clos du Bois Chardonnay @ $7.49
2010 J Lohr “Riverstone”Chardonnay @ $7.99
2010 Cupcake Chardonnay @ $7.49
2009 J.Lohr “Seven Oaks” Cabernet Sauvignon @ $9.99
2010 Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc @ $8.49
2010 Angeline Sauvignon Blanc @ $8.99
2010 Simi Sauvignon Blanc @ $9.99
2009 Estancia Merlot @ $7.99
2009 Dynamite Merlot @ $7.49
2010 Cupcake “Red Velvet” @ $7.49
2009 Red Truck @ $6.49

Italian White

2010 Antinori Orvieto Classico “Campogrande” @ $7.99
2009 Cusumano Insolia @ $8.49
2010 Inama Soave @ $12.99
LaMarca Prosecco @ $11.99
Astoria Lounge Prosecco @ $8.99

Italian Red

2009 diLenardo Ronco Nole @ $11.99
2010 St. Giorgio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo @ $7.49
2006 Sella & Mosca Cannonau “Riserva” @ $10.99
2009 Cusumano “Benuara” Sicilia @ $10.99
2010 Cusumano Nero d’Avola @ $8.99
N/V Giacomo Vico Langhe Rosso @ $10.99
2010 Franco Serra Barbera @ $9.99
2009 Luccarelli Salice Salentino @ $10
2010 Gabbiano Chianti @ $6.99
2008 Giacomo Mori Chianti @ $13.99
2009 Antinori Santa Cristina @ $7.99

Spanish Red

2009 Montebuena Rioja @ $8.99
2006 Bodegas LAN Crianza Rioja @ $9.99
2007 Marques de Caceres Rioja @ $9.99
2009 Monseran Garnacha @ $7.49
2010 Evodia Garnacha @ $7.49
2009 Protocolo Red @ $5.99
2010 Manyana Tempranillo @ $4.49


2009 Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett @ $11.99

South America

2009 Palo Alto Reserva @ $8.99
2010 Colores de Sol Malbec @ $7.99
2010 Alamos Torrontes [white] @ $7.49
2010 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon @ $6.49
2010 Diseño Malbec @ $7.49


2011 Gazela Blanco Vinho Verde @ $4.49

New Zealand

2010 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc @ $10.99