I love to visit wineries when I am traveling. But sometimes, you can’t get away when you are away. How do I solve the problem? Check out the local wine shop or liquor store.
But, first a word about Arkansas liquor laws.
Confusing is too simple a word. As is arcane.
First off, you can’t buy wine over the internet and have it shipped to you in Arkansas. Well, technically you probably could but because Arkansas won’t ship its liquor to you the other states won’t allow the reverse. You can go into a winery or store buy your liquor and have it shipped to your residence only. You have to have a special label from the ABC (alcoholic beverage control) agency or the special label from Fed Ex or UPS. But the winery has to pay all the taxes to Arkansas and pay for a permit. So naturally most places won’t do it. oh. And you can only have a single case.
Whew. Complicated. But it gets worse. Like if you live there worse.
Some counties are wet. Some are dry. Some are wet and have dry towns. Some are dry and have wet towns. In wet places you can get beer and wine in a grocery store. And in most wet places you can’t buy on Sunday. Because God.
The best way to figure out what is going on in your area is to drive around on Sunday and find out which stores have full parking lots. That’s how my dad figured it out. Luckily as a retiree, he could pick where they could move. Which is why they don’t live in Conway, Arkansas. They originally were really set on the place. And then they went to dinner at nice steak house and found out that their beverage options were Coca-Cola and sweet tea. Ugh.
So they opted for a place in Benton County.
And while they found a place that is open on Sundays (after 11am of course so the baby Jesus doesn’t weep) that wasn’t the place that they took us to during our inaugural trip to Arkansas. We went to Guess Who?. An odd name, I agree, but a great shop, super friendly and busy too.
Organized into four sections, the store has a separated entrance for those buying liquor by the case. And I mean a case of Tito’s Vodka. I think this spot is mostly for the restaurants or clubs, but the lady running it was super friendly. The other entrance is for the regular customers. Broken down into beer, wine and liquor sections. The beer section includes a cooler with a large section of craft brews. Much to Kevin’s excitement it also sells Boulevard Brewing Company beers. Technically not a craft brew anymore after being sold to the folks at Duval, it hasn’t become as accessible as Sam Adams or Budweiser, but we can’t get it at home. As as extra special plus for Kevin, this store carries the special brews usually only available in the tasting room. The liquor section is probably the smallest part of the store. Found in front of the registers found by type on short black metal shelves.. Liquors are organized by type. Pretty standard stuff.
The last part of the store is the wine section. This is probably the largest section and is bright and airy with wines organized in wooden cases by location or varietal. There is a good mixture of options with popular and bulk wines being found in the front. Guess Who? Offers a variety of classes for customers, private wine lockers and wine tasting opportunities. Oh, and a section for local wines of which I took advantage (and will be discussed later). The one downside? Finding this obnoxious Duck Dynasty wine. The wines are being produced in California and have no other connection with the family other than the labeling. The press release from Trinchero Family Wines says that the family “Share(s) the same values,” with the Robertsons. Not all of them I hope. But as my mother has always said, “If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck and acts like a duck…. Well, it’s a duck.”
Over all, I was impressed with impressed with Guess Who and expect that I will be shopping there occasionally while visiting the folks. If you are in the Bentonville area and need some wine, I suggest you visit them too.
214 SE Walton Blvd.
Bentonville AR, 72712