Wine is ideal for celebrating a special occasion, adding some romance to a meal, or turning a ho-hum day into a nicer night (or day). In honor of National Drink Wine Day (Feb. 18), here are our five favorite wine stores in New York City. They range in size, they range in scale, but they all offer a super selection of fermented beverages. By Jessica Allen.
Appellation takes difference seriously. As the website explains, the store focuses "on producers who depart from the convention of large scale production and make organic, biodynamic, or natural wines. Or, to put it succinctly, we like good wine and we like wine that we believe is good for you." The West Chelsea store might be small, but the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and never, ever preachy or pushy. The vibe is more about expanding your mind (and palate), not about getting you to open your wallet.
Every wine connoisseur has his/her favorite wine store, sure, but we're almost positive that most New York wine lovers would rank Astor pretty high on the list. It's huge. Really huge. It's big even by non-New York standards, which is saying something. Amazing selection of wines, sakes, and spirits, reasonable prices, plenty of space for browsing, regular events, same day delivery to most of Manhattan, various wine clubs (including a Top 12 Under $12 Club), free delivery . . . there's nothing not to love here.
Depending on how much you know about wine, perhaps the first thing you'll notice about the stock at Crush Wine & Spirits is how it's stored: this Midtown store maintains a huge wine wall, with each and every bottle lovingly, precisely stored on its side. The store prides itself on being able to deliver quality quaffs at all price points, and its staff includes certified sommeliers and graduates of wine and culinary schools. Free delivery to all five boroughs, and free tastings on Fridays!
Sherry-Lehmann has been helping people quench their thirst since 1934. Actually, the thirst-quenching assistance started even before that date, when the founder began helping folks out during Prohibition -- and developed a reputation for his knowledge of whisky. Fast-forward 80 years, and this wine emporium on the Upper East Side offers a nice stock. The secret, though, is its seemingly bottomless warehouse in Brooklyn. That, and the store's fun-to-peruse catalog, which they've been producing since 1935.
Smith & Vine gets props for a clever name, and still more props for its strong selection of wines from all over. Frequent tastings coupled with excellent specials makes this Brooklyn shop more than just a neighborhood store. Try one of the "6 Packs to Go" (six bottles), or browse the nicely curated group of bottles for $12 and under. There are regular Happy Hours in which various types of booze gets discounted. Who was it that said, "Great wine is great, but great wine on special is even greater"? Oh, yeah, it was us.
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