Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

WINE: Where to Buy Wine in Los Angeles

I feel like I (and in turn you) have now learned a bit about the basics of wine. So now I think it's time we go out and put our skills in practice, and the way to do that is do go buy some wine. Aahh! That is scary! Reading about how wine is made is easy. Drinking it and going "hmm, do I like this?" is easy.

But going out on your own and picking out a wine all by yourself? Is scary. You have to spend your own money. And you might be wrong! And the store people might be mean! They might laugh at you for picking out an uncouth wine! Oh yeah, and where do you go?

Well, we live in a big city with no strange stringent rules regarding the buying and selling of alcohol. We have lots of options, depending on what kind of wine we want and what kind of experience we have:

BIG

Costco:
Yes, you can buy wine at Costco. Now, granted you are not going to make that crazy sweet secret find here, but if you're looking for something standard from a big producer for a dinner party for your friends or something, the price is right. You can find some good California reds here, and if you're stocking up on Advil, chicken breasts, prescription drugs and coffins, you might as well pick up a nice cabernet.

BevMo: This is like the booze superstore. And they have snacks too! The cool thing about BevMo is that it's large, but you can find some intriguing things here. You won't get much help though, unless you're lucky. This store has a zillion things so you can't expect the staff to be experts, although you might find a good one. As an added bonus, they have every soda and they have little hotel-sized bottles of nice alcohols like Maker's Mark and Grey Goose. The wine selection is large and international and they are always having specials.

Your Local Supermarket: Yeah. Not my favorite. For sure no one is going to help you here and the selection is middling at best, depending on your local market. However, like with Costco, you can find decent large producer wines that will work when you're not looking for anything special. And you can do your grocery shopping there, so there's that. And some non-chain markets, like Bob's Market on Ocean Park in Santa Monica have amazing wine selections that will boggle your mind if you happen to find them. Or Mr. Marcel in the Farmer's Market, whose wine selection is small but fabulous and who have a helpful staffer ready to assist you, and wine classes for practical learning.

Whole Foods: Whole Foods is a step up from the supermarket. They have some great finds at great prices and they group their wines in a helpful manner so you can locate what you're looking for. If you're not sure, grab one of their specials. Although you should probably use some of your newly learned wine knowledge to determine which you are most likely to like.

Trader Joe's: Trader Joe's is like the Ikea of wine shopping. It is the best place for young drinkers newly legal to purchase economical yet stylish and quality wines. You can find wines here from all over the world at a range of prices.

SMALL

Silverlake Wine:
Silverlake Wine is a small shop that specializes in boutique wines in all price ranges. Every wine in the store is special and the people here are knowledgable and friendly. They have tasting events on Sundays at 3 pm, and Monday and Thursday 5 pm - 9 pm. The tastings are fun but dangerous. We average walking away with six bottles after a tasting. Two very important things to note: they have snacks at the tastings, and Gingergrass is right across the street.

Wine House: This is the first place I went to a wine tasting and it was very nice. We had to wait in line, but we got lots of food with our tastes. They have an incredible selection and sell not only wines but hard to find alcohols and gourmet foodstuffs. And now they have a restaurant too.

Wally's: I have never been here. But it's a place to buy wine and it is supposed to be very good. I always see that they have the wines the LA Times recommends and the Zagat Survey calls it the #1 wine shop in L.A.

Mel & Rose: I've never been here either, but it looks really cool every time I walk by, and I really want to go. Tell me if you've been and it's really cool.

The Wine Shop Next to Cobras and Matadors: This one works for me because it's close. But really, I can only think of a couple reasons why you would want to go here: (1) you are eating at Cobras and Matadors (no corkage if you buy your wine here); (2) you live around the corner and are having a wine emergency!; or (3) you particularly want a Spanish wine. This store is actually great, but is small and only sells Spanish wine. I wouldn't go out of my way, but you should know it's there.

Good luck!

6 comments:

I like BevMo and Trader Joe's for my wine needs. Trader Joe's has some surprisingly good alcohol at bargain prices. BevMo is like my alcohol Disneyland.

said by Chubbypanda at 3:38 PM Delete

They have coffins at Costco? Score! I like Wally's but they often lie on their website. Grrr. I want to try the wine shop next to Cobras and Matadors now. How's the food there?

said by furry_feline at 8:56 PM Delete

They have coffins at some Costcos. I've never actually seen them, but hope to someday.

I like the food at Cobras and Matadors. If you like Spanish tapas-style food, you would probably like it. They have delicous papas fritas, paella, albondigas and a bunch of seasonal stuff.

It's really small and gets packed so you have to go at off-times (early or late) or risk a long wait outside on the sidewalk.

said by KT at 9:50 PM Delete

We had dinner at Upstairs 2 on Saturday. Kind of a tapas/small plates menu, which I like because then you can try a different glass of wine with each plate. YUM.

said by Vaguely Urban at 8:28 PM Delete

Yum! I really need to motivate to get to the West side. Invite us over!

said by KT at 9:09 PM Delete

Woodland Hills Wine Company is also pretty good.

said by Anyanka at 11:19 PM Delete

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