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By RYAN NEWHOUSE

Those familiar with the “Globe of Wines” prominently displayed in the middle of Liquid Planet and the Missoula company’s tagline, “A Journey in Every Sip,” may be pleased to know that you can quite literally take your palate on a global expedition and get rewarded for it.

In March 2010, Liquid Planet began a Wine Passport program aimed at getting people excited to try something new.

“People traditionally shop for wines by label, by country or by a style they know they like,” says Heather Thuesen, Retail Manager for Liquid Planet. “We wanted them to ‘travel by taste’ instead and reward them for expanding their palates.”

Here’s how the program works: You pick up your own Wine Passport punch card at Liquid Planet, and each time you buy a bottle of wine from one of the ten countries (one is listed as “Other”) listed on the passport, you get that country marked off. After filling your passport, Liquid Planet rewards you with a $10 gift card you can use for anything in store. Sweet deal, right?

Liquid Planet's Wine Passport.

It gets sweeter. Liquid Planet also runs a “Buy Two, Get a Third for 20% Off” deal, known there as “Vino Trio.”

Now, unlike most deals of this nature, the discount comes off your most expensive bottle of wine. That’s right, you can buy two $10 bottles of wine and then choose a $40 bottle that gets discounted.

If your three bottles are from three different countries listed on your passport, you also get three checkmarks. “Easy as pie,” (but paired with a glass of chardonnay), as they say.

“People aren’t afraid of wine,” says Thuesen. “They just tend to shop within their price point. We try to help people who want to participate in the Wine Passport program by making suggestions based on their flavor profile and their budget.”

The Wine Passport program is convenient. There is no time limit to complete the card, and you don’t have to stick to a particular style. It really is aimed at getting more people to try a broader range of wines.

Some people probably still have their cards, half-punched, in their wallets after a year, and others, according to Thuesen, knock out all ten wines in one trip when buying for a big dinner party.

So get down to Liquid Planet and pick up your passport today. I’ll race you to see who fills theirs up first!