"This is probably the best time in history for a wine drinker to be alive," Richard Kinssies says, adding, "There are so many wonderful wines being produced almost everywhere in the world."
He should know: Kinssies has been a trend-spotter and major player in the Washington wine industry since the 1970s, as the wine buyer for a major grocery store chain and then as a consultant, teacher (at Seattle Wine School, which he founded, and elsewhere), and wine columnist.
Although he still holds on to his other wine-related pursuits, since last March he has become a price-slashing retailer at Wine Outlet, a bare-bones warehouse in Seattle's SoDo.
His new mission is simple but unusual: He negotiates directly with distributors and wineries to bring to consumers high-quality wines that have been discounted for various reasons―the label might be changing, or the producer is going from cork to screw cap, or there's a surplus because a grocery store bought only part of the inventory it had originally committed to. That translates to substantial savings for consumers.