Wine's patron saint

Richard Kinssies sells great unsung vintages at miraculous prices

Richard Kinssies

Richard Kinssies runs the Seattle Wine School as well as Wine Outlet. His plan is to move the wine school to the outlet, where educational seminars will take place regularly.

John Granen

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"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.


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