Choosing a good wine is an individual thing. I am often asked for recommendations which I willingly give. I also received several suggestions from time to time which I gladly accept. But there is something about cruising my favorite wine shop and discovering new wines.
If you are a wine lover and would like to confidently choose a good bottle of wine for a night in or to pair with a tasty dish. Then developing a relationship with the perfect wine shop is the first step. The second step is to start your wine shopping before getting to the store.
Today we are sharing a few tips on finding your go-to wine shop. It is not rocket science but finding your perfect wine shop comes down to a few essential tips.
First impressions often tell an accurate story. You can tell a lot about a wine shop from walking through the door.
Here is what to take notice of when you walk into any wine shop:
Are the bottles dusty?
Are the bottles in direct sunlight?
What is the temperature? Is it too warm in the shop?
- Dusty inventory is an indication of carelessness.
- Direct sunlight can rearrange the wine’s chemical compounds. Just three hours of exposure can cause severe damage to a clear bottle of wine.
- Overly warm temperatures can taint the flavor of the wine.
Here is a funny story showing us that knowledge can sometimes come from the most unexpected sources. I love the sitcom, Frasier. It ran from 1993 to 2004, It is the only thing that relaxes me at night and the only show I consistently watch.
First of all, it is funny as heck, and second, it takes very little commitment. Watching new shows takes commitment, and it is a time-waster for me. In season seven, episode 23. Frasier’s doorman Morrie died, and his wife gave Martin a bottle of 1945 Chateau Petrus he received from his uncle, who was in France after the war. Martin gifted the wine to Daphne for her impending marriage to Donny. But Daphne gave it to Frasier the night before her wedding.
To end this rather long story, as they sat in the Winnebago on Daphne’s wedding day comforting Niles, who was about to lose the love of his life (Daphne) to another man (Donny), Frasier decides to open Morrie’s special bottle of wine. In unison, they all spat it out. And Frasier asked Martin where Morrie stored the wine.
Martin replied, “In his basement close to his boiler room.” And that is how I learned the importance of temperature to the taste and shelf life of a bottle of wine.
Now let us get back to those tips. Here are three tips for finding your go-to wine shop:
These days you can purchase a bottle of wine from Duane Reade, Trader Joe’s, or your favorite Supermarkets. But you need to find a shop that carries hard-to-find wines and an assortment of distinctive bottles.
Also, they should have a relationship with smaller wine producers.
Smaller wine shops offer more exclusive and hard-to-find bottles. While with larger shops, it is not easy to get personalized attention.
Do not be afraid to ask the staff for recommendations.
The staff should be knowledgeable, hospitable, and approachable.
Tip: You should never feel intimidated asking for help.
A good wine shop prices its wines based on the industry average. If a store is overcharging, you do not want to shop there.
A good wine shop knows that the best values are between $15 and $45. And should have an excellent selection within that price range.
Tip: If you have a budget—do not be afraid to let the staff know what your budget is.
What I like about my favorite wine shops:
- They are small and personable.
- The staff writes the descriptions under the wine bottles. It is personable, gives a distinctive point of view and it’s fun to read. Unlike descriptions that are preprinted with scores etc.
- They offer in-store tasting. It is a great way to find new wine or decide what I dislike. And I have purchased some of my best bottles during a tasting.
- They track my purchases. Which is an excellent service. It helps me to remember my favorite bottles.
Tips that have helped me get better at wine over the years:
Go to a real wine shop.
Keep a wine Log of your favorites or bottles you would like to try.
Keep tasting notes on the style of wine you like—for example: Bold, White, Red, fruity, etc.
Do not feel obligated to purchase when the wine shops offer in-store tasting.
Always know your budget.
Comment below: Do you have a favorite wine shop?