The Best of the Web
Acker, Merrall and Condit
Acker, Merrall and Condit has been a wine merchant in New York City since 1820. It has an excellent retail shop, conducts a number of informative wine workshops each month, and offers storage facilities. Its monthly live and online auctions have attracted an enthusiastic group of bidders. http://www.ackerwines.com/
Avalon is a wine and food retailer located in Corvallis Oregon. The stocks of both are very impressive, and the site is filled with informative articles, primarily about Oregon wines, but with much information on wines and events throughout the Northwest and beyond. A very friendly and customer oriented site with excellent search engines.
Bay Country Liquors
Bay Country Liquors is a retail store located in Maryland. Proprietor Kurt M., a Wine Lovers' Discussion Group participant, described this wonderful website during a recent discussion of value-added wine retailers. He certainly delivers. "I started the site simply for fun 4 years ago," he said, to offer some information that might not be available somewhere else or enhance things that are already out there. ... So, what’s the value-added for our customers and for us? We get new customers, it’s almost free advertising (I built and maintain the site myself), it can help build a positive image in the community and it can be fun, but it’s a lot of work to keep it up-to-date. A website also exposes a store to many questions from E-mails and phone calls and forces “active participation” in the exchange of information, many times turning into a learning experience for us." We like Kurt's attitude, and I think you'll like his site.
Beekman Wines & Liquors
Beekman Wines & Liquors is located in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and maintains an extensive stock of attractively priced wines. The owner, Joel Mitchell, teaches an adult education course on wine, and his love of wine and deep knowledge permeates the site: questionaires, articles, lists of BYO restaurants in Northern New Jersey, interesting recipes, and much more.
Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd.
Founded in 1698 opposite St. James's Palace in London, this respected wine merchant evolved from an "Italian Warehouse" that had been supplying the Palace with exotic provisions for more than
160 years. Still under family ownership today, it is Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant and one of the oldest in the world. Berry Bros. & Rudd Ltd. offers great wines and cellared rarities, with shipping available to wine lovers around the world. Don't miss Berry Bros.' Virtual Vintage Chart. And there is lots more interesting content, including an excellent list of producers, a wine quiz, and a pronunciation guide. http://www.bbr.com/
I must confess that I've never shopped online or in the bricks and mortar at Best Cellars. However, they have such an innovative concept, and such an attractive Website, I suggest that you check them out. http://www.bestcellars.com/
Bordeaux Central maintains an excellent world-wide list of leading retailers around the world. This is an excellent resource for travellers based on the US shops that are reviewed. http://groups.msn.com/BordeauxCentral/retailerlinks.msnw
Boulder Wine Merchant
The Boulder Wine Merchant is an excellent retail wine shop in Boulder, Colorado, with an extensive stock and a real enthusiasm for wine. Two Master Sommeliers, Wayne Belding and Sally Mohr, provide recommendations, descriptions and background on the wines offered for sale. In addition, the website features a well written and comprehensive introduction to wine. Very highly recommended for the substantive content and, by reputation, the retail excellence. http://www.BoulderWine.com
Brentwood Wine Company
Brentwood Wine Company has a classy online retail and auction website; the bricks and mortar are located at 24801 SW Brentwood Drive, West Linn, OR 97068.
Phone: (503) 638-9463 or (503) NET-WINE
Fax: (503) 638-6737 or (503) NET-ORDR
Chambers Street Wines
Chambers Street Wines opened on Chambers Street in lower Manhattan during the summer of 2001. Their goal: "We're here to do most of what you've long wished wine retailers would do. We buy good wines, sell them at reasonable prices, and reliably get them to you, whether you walk in, telephone, fax, or click-order on line. Once we buy these good wines, grand and modest, we treat them with respect, storing them under temperature control. That way they stand some chance of tasting the way they should by the time they get to you." The website and the wine content is provided by Robert Callahan, an extremely knowledgeable wine-industry professional. A site to follow.
ChateauOnLine has an extensive stock, and claims to be the leading wine specialist on the internet. Good suggestions on matching food and wine. French, English, German and Italian, and they operate in several European countries.
Dunbar Fine Wine Co.
The Dunbar Fine Wine Co. is located in Dunbar, Scotland. Of course, one can find quite an extensive array of fine wines for sale. But, in addition, the owner Soorat Singh is extremely literate and publishes an excellent monthly newsletter with much to chew on. The site also contains a great deal of useful information on investing in wine. Highly recommended. http://www.dunbarfinewine.co.uk/
The everywine has been set up with backing of Booths supermarkets in the United Kingdom, and intends to offer 35,000 wines or virtually all wines available in the UK. The editorial content is supplied by Wine Magazine.
Froogle is a service from Google that makes it "easy to find information about products for sale online. By focusing entirely on product search, Froogle applies the power of Google's search technology to a very specific task: locating stores that sell the item you want to find and pointing you directly to the place where you can make a purchase." The search is astonishingly fast, and well worth checking out if you're searching for an elusive bottle. http://froogle.google.com/froogle/
Grape Escape is a retail wine shop in England, but displays knowledge and enthusiasm for wine "in a slightly offbeat and humorous fashion." Chris Charters edits the monthly newsletter, and features include a wine guide, Agony Aunt with advice on wine, a wine quiz and past issues of the newsletter. A fun stop with a very soft sell.
Hi-Time Wine Cellars
Hi-Time Wine Cellars is a leading West Coast retailer in Costa Mesa, California. It uses an ingenious wine link finder to lead you to their wines on offer. And, they maintain a ecommerce website -- just add an "s" to "wine" in the link for the bricks and mortar store -- with a remarkable ability to identify you on the first visit. (How do they do that?) A message board, reviews of places to stay, eat and travel, and tasting notes, some from Tanzer. A great place to visit. http://www.hitimewine.com/
Hotei Wines is a Japan based importer of premium wines, marketing directly to restaurants and wholesalers, and to individuals on a case only basis. The staff consists of a great group of people, including Bruce Gutlove, a knowledgeable and generous source of information about Japan. The leader of the group, of course, is "Basho, our short-legged, but majestic dachshund mascot, who mutters haiku after a few sips of wine."
K & L Wine Merchants
K & L Wine Merchants, a California retailer established in 1976, earns its place on this list through its good selection and willingness to ship product virtually anyplace in the world where local law allows. Excellent source of information on wines, wineries, wine vocabulary, maps, interviews and much more.
Los Olivos Wine and Spirits Emporium
The Los Olivos Wine and Spirits Emporium is bursting with Santa Barbara pages on local climate, soil and geography; it also has a definitive guide to local wine tasting opportunities. (And, of course, Tom Hill's great articles.) There is an opportunity to purchase wine, of course, but the content here is world class.
Martin Wine Cellar
David Martin started Martin Wine Cellar in 1946, and today it is perhaps the leading wine store in New Orleans. Martin's has a wide range of wines, holds several wine tastings a year, and offers cooking demonstrations on the weekends. http://www.martinwine.com
North Berkeley Imports
North Berkeley Imports is a West Coast institution located in North Berkeley but with a world-wide reputation for excellence. "The goal of North Berkeley Imports is simply to pass on and preserve the extraordinary pleasure of tasting great wine from the barrel." The monthly newletters -- now available by email and online -- are educational and filled with great wines. Even Robert Parker is enchanted: "Tasting through the North Berkeley Imports portfolio is a breathtaking and re-energizing experience."
Party Source is located in Louisville and Cincinnati, and offers a wide selection of food, wine, spirits, beer, and party and paper goods, all designed to make your gathering memorable. The Wine Search feature is particularly powerful. Having worked on implementing this site, I'm perhaps a bit of a proud daddy. Check it out for yourself. http://www.thepartysource.com/
PetiteSirah.com is a retail/email wine dealer specializing in Petite Sirah. The site is filled with content about wines made from this grape. http://www.PetiteSirah.com
Reserva y Cata
Reserva y Cata is an excellent wine shop located in Madrid and specializing in Iberian wine. As well as an excellent stock, the website contains a great deal of high quality information, effectively and nicely presented. In English and Spanish.
Saratoga Wine Exchange
Saratoga Wine Exchange offers a wide selection of more than 15,000 wines at competitive prices, with national shipping where the law allows. First-rank wine shop. http://www.saratogawine.com
Systembolaget is the drinks monopoly of Sweden with 416 stores and about 580 local agencies; serves about 2 million customers every week. The reasons for a state monolopy make fascinating reading: "It is our belief that limiting private profit based on alcohol sales will help reduce overall consumption." The site reviews the history of the monopoly since it was established in 1865. It concludes with a somewhat contradictory position: "Naturally, regardless of every good intention, our methods will be criticized by those who want a less limited access to alcoholic drinks in Sweden. One of the more frequent arguments for closing down the monopoly is that it would expand the number of items offered. However, contrary to what many believe, in this case monopoly widens, rather than restricts, product range. Few private retailers could afford – or even have room for – the kind of stock we offer." http://www.systembolaget.se/
The Wine Barrel
Bright, well-stocked and easy to navigate, this British online merchant's site is a model of wine E-commerce as it ought to be. Wine sales only within the UK, with free local shipment near its Surrey location, £5.99 per case elsewhere on the UK mainland.
Vino! is the webpage of the Cafe Vin wine store located in Sonoma County, California. This is a content rich site, with information on many wineries, wine travel, recipes, food and wine pairings, a weekly radio program, and much more. A very attractive site well worth visiting. http://www.vino.com
Wakenfield Liquors is one cool commercial link, very quick and some great wine reviews for retail customers. Excellent set of current links.
Weimax Wines & Spirits
Weimax Wines & Spirits in Burlingame, California has a wide range of wines, and its online lists are updated on a regular basis. The store runs tastings every day, and keeps a good archive of the tasting results. Other neat features: a photo gallery of old wine bottles with labels, a fascinating "Rantings and Ravings" page, some excellent travel notes, a page of odd and unusual news items, and much more. Fun shopping and fun reading. http://www.weimax.com/
The Wine Club.com is the largest fine wine retailer west of the Mississippi, with three locations in California. Each store offers a self service wine tasting bar with 30 to 50 different wines. The online site is equally impressive, with excellent pictures and descriptions of wines, wineries and much more.
Wine Exchange is a West Coast institution, located in Orange, California, but with a clientel around the world. The first page lists dozens of different categories of wines, and they make (and deliver on) big claims: "The Wine Exchange is your source for the best, the most interesting, the most famous, and the rarest in wines and spirits." A very informative newsletter, wine tastings, wine courses, and much more. Outstanding.
Wine lover Martin Brown says he's "just a chap in a bedroom" in London, but his Website, as best I can determine, is unique in the world of wine on the Web. Wine Searcher is an international database of wine shops and their inventories. Looking for a hard-to-find wine? Plug it in to the Wine-Searcher database, and up comes a clickable list of online shops that have the wine and (your local laws permitting) will ship it to you. "As at 16-Apr-2001 we have 569 merchants listed with
300528 wine offers."
Wine.com is actually the third-generation holder of this potent domain name, its current operators (formerly eVineyard.com) having acquired it from one of the more spectacular dot-com failures. It appears to be doing well under this management, with a well-designed site that presents its extensive stock on the basis of what's available in the state that the reader selects. (Shipment is not available outside the U.S., however, or to states that bar their citizens from buying alcoholic beverages outside the "three-tier" system.) The "About Wine" section includes useful articles by Jim Gordon, Andrea Immer and others, much of the content not surprisingly aimed at encouraging the sale of specific wines.
Wineshop.it specializes in high quality wines from Italy, especially those produced by smaller makers. The site features a marvelous geographic tour of Italian wine, region by region, zone by zone. Clicking on the interactive map is great fun, and almost certain to teach you something about Italy and its wine. The fact cards for the various wines are nicely done with a great deal of information. In Italian, English and German. Highly recommended.
The Rest of the Web
Alliance Wines is an eretailer with an interesting newsletter, and an collection of offbeat and informative articles on line. The one on port is especially informative; the review of a 1990 Haut Batailley is distinctly over the top.
Brown Derby International Wine Center
Brown Derby International Wine Center is located in Springfield, Missouri, and has an extensive stock of worldwide wines, as well as many wine accessories. They promise to update their wine listings twice a day, and distribute a very informative newsletter. http://www.brownderby.com/
Carolina Wine Company
Carolina Wine Company is located in North Carolina but ship wines all over the world. The website is strictly business, but the staff is knowledgeable and friendly and committed to "do everything possible to create a comfortable, down-to-earth, and fun atmosphere where you can enjoy discovering great wines at great prices."
Cincy Wine, a group of wine shops in Cincinnati, have banded together to sponsor this excellent site, which goes well beyond mere commercialism to provide serious educational content. A great model that wine shops in other cities could follow!
Check out Frugal MacDoogal (once you get past the grandiose Flash intro) and, in particular, its wine-education features. (Click on the "Wine Guide" button.) The "Wine Regions" stuff is very well done.
Lavinia has opened its third shop in Paris at on the Boulevard de la Madeleine; the first two are located in Madrid and Barcelona. The Paris shop is located on three floors with excellent storage conditions, plenty of space and descriptive graphics. Friends who have visited the store are enthusiastic about the presentation and the breadth of the stock. http://www.lavinia.es/
MacArthur Beverages in Washington, DC, is one of the most famous retailers in the United States. An excellent stock of wines, knowledgeable staff, and frequent high quality tastings are keystones of their reputation. http://www.bassins.com/
Although it's sales are limited to Europe and to wines from Bordeaux, an endorsement from Jancis Robinson is high praise indeed. "The most obvious Bordeaux specialist selling direct to the public (from a négociant in Bordeaux) is Millesima which has an excellent website. I think you will be agreeably surprised." http://www.millesima.com/
New York Wine Warehouse
New York Wine Warehouse is located in Long Island City, and has a wide selection of wines from around the world, specializing in Burgundy. The webpage is updated on a weekly basis, at least as far as the stocks are concerned. Excellent storage. http://www.nywines.com/Contact.html
Pops Wine Store
Pops Wine Store is located at 256 Long Beach Road, Island Park, New York, and has a host of loyal customers. The wine site is devoted to enhancing Zagat's description of Pop's as a "store without walls". It's all business, but this is an excellent source for wine lovers. http://www.popswine.com/
Premier Cru is located in Emeryville, California, and is committed to selling on price: "By purchasing a large percentage of our imported wines directly and keeping our margins low, we STILL offer lower prices than our competition." They've been at it since 1980, and do it all very well. Don't expect frills on the webpage, just great wines at attractive prices.
Sam's Wine Warehouse
Sam's Wine Warehouse in Chicago is famous for its huge selection. Perhaps the Windy City's largest and best-known wine shop, it is well worth a visit.
Located in Manchester, England, Smithfield Wine has a good stock of wines of all types. The house specializes in organic wines and particularly in vegetarian and vegan wines, with good descriptions of these specialty classifications. http://www.smithfieldwine.com
Superplonk is Malcolm Gluck's page of tasting notes. He maintains a database of over 7,000 wines, together with sources of supply in the UK. There is also a modest amount of selling of his Superplonk annual as well as reviews of other books, and Q&A feature, and a forum for discussing wines. Malcolm, of course, is irrepressible -- I have to give him credit for "twin cheeks of the same backside"! http://www.superplonk.com/
Table & Vine
Table & Vine, formerly Big Y, is located in Northampton, Massachusetts, and has an incredible range of wines, beers, cheeses and other specialty foods. A Mecca for wine lovers in the North East, and always a great place to visit. The website is almost all strictly business, but how many other wine shops give you directions from the nearest airport? From all reports, they are still at the top of their game.
Taylor and Norton
Taylor and Norton is located in the heart of California wine country (in Sonoma), this established bricks-and-mortar merchant's Website goes well beyond California, featuring more than 1,000 wines from around the world, including some older wines. Easy to navigate shopping area.
Universal Wine Exchange
Universal Wine Exchange is a worldwide wine exchange modelled on a stock exchange, which charges buyers and sellers 5% each on a transaction. It trades En Primeur Bordeaux, as well as wines already in commerce. It guarantees quality, condition and settlement.
Village Corner in Ann Arbor, Michigan is a midwest icon for wine retailing. An extensive stock, excellent tastings, knowledgeable staff. The descriptions of the store and the staff are particularly interesting and amusing. http://www.villagecorner.com/
Washington Street Purveyors
Washington Street Purveyors are located in Lexington in South West Virginia. They carry an extensive stock of wines, with very informative notes about the wineries, wine makers and the wines themselves. Their style is infectious; here's their explanation for that url: "Our local phone number, 464-9463, spells GO-4-WINE. However, GO4WINE.com is already registered. It's not a real site, mind you - somebody in Sweden owns it. And seeing as Washington Street Purveyors is based in Virginia, the "fer" fits, but "goferwine" seems odd, so we went with GOPHERWINE.COM." Low key sales tactics; nice people.
Wine Cask is an excellent wine shop in Santa Barbara, with an extensive stock, a beautiful dining room and an interesting monthly newsletter. http://www.winecask.com
Woodland Hills Wine Co.
Woodland Hills Wine Co. is located in Woodland Hills, CA. Their stock is particularly strong in California and Burgundy. http://www.whwineco.com/