WINE SHOP WARS – HOPS N GRAPES VS. THE MONSTER
It may not be an officially declared full scale combat but when two business selling the same product are located so close to one another that the last digit on my odometer didn’t change driving from one to the other, it has to be some sort of undeclared conflict.
Last night I compared a few different wine prices at the two stores and made some observations. Overall, Hops n Grapes has better prices on the approximately ten wines I checked on with Monster only being less expensive on one or two of my choices. There are some other noticeable differences in the two stores and they way they promote their wines. Hops n Grapes utilizes the internet and e-mails “daily special” coupons that offer “one day only” sales of about 10 to 15% off a featured wine. Not many of the wines offered were ever of much interest. I’d say roughly every 15th offer is worth pursuing but, your mileage may vary. They also offer buyers “credits” which appear to be about 2% when you use your Hops n Grapes card for each purchase.
Monster does not use the Internet. Their approach to wine “sales” appears to be two-fold. Many of their wines are marked with two prices. One is purported to be the retail price while the lower is the “Club” price. It appears to me that the lower or “club” price is what the wine SHOULD sell for. In many cases, Monster’s “club” price equaled Hops n Grapes regular every day price. The good folks at Circle Liquors in Somers Point use a similar pricing system. There are a few legitimate good buys at Monster, they can be identified by an orange price tag.
Here are a few of the comparisons I made between the two stores.
Monster Reg. 16.99
Hops n Grapes 13.99
2008 Can Blau
Hops n Grapes 14.99
2006 St. Francis Napa Cab
Hops n Grapes 20.99
Hops n Grapes 7.99
2008 Erath Pinot Noir
Monster Reg. 18.99
Hops n Grapes 18.99
2008 Bodegas Borsao
Hops n Grapes 6.99
On the high end wines, Monster has a glass case with about 50 top of the line wines. Hops n Grapes has an excellent premium wine selection with hundreds of good choices. In fairness, Monster has improved their selection over the past few years in response to the arrival of Hops n Grapes. They may be a little higher in price but if you have the time it’s worth checking out both places for the wine you are looking for.