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Feb 13, 2001 07:20 AM

Warehouse Wines and Liquors Warning

  • m

I've been buying from Warehouse Wines and Liquors (on Broadway neat Astor Place) for about ten years, but
within the last eight months I've bought three totally undrinkable, oxidized, stale bottles from this store, and not from the "end of bin" specials.

I won't be buying any more wine from this place (booze is another story). Buyer beware: somethings not right here.

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  1. I've noticed for years that this place specializes in wines that are past their prime. At first glance they look like bargains, but then look at the vintage date. $6 for a Provencal rose is no bargain if it's five years old.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Boswell

      If they're bad, bring them back. A GOOD wine shop will do something for you (replace, refund or help you out wiht your next purchase). But why go to Warehouse Wines when Crossroads and Union Square Wine are so close?

      1. re: dan

        The sad fact is that I'm a creature of several well defined city routes, and there's lots of stuff right near Warehouse that I do on a regular basis. Yeah, I should have brought them back, but I think the more total approach is to just not shop there. Although, I did buy a bottle of the Margaux second growth there for New Year's that was pretty fine (for around 50 bucks).

        1. re: Mark DiBlasi

          Yeah, 90% of their stuff is, in the end, far worse value than it seems, but that just calls for chowhoundish savvy to find the good stuff (check with our wine experts on the general topics board if you want a second opinion before buying). Personally, I'm really against throwing out babies with bathwater.

          See a synchronous discussion going on right now about Virgil's (link below)

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. re: Jim Leff

            Hey Jim, you're right, but...

            Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go to a place that sells stuff in a bottle...not cooked, not prepared, not subject to the whims of the prep staff, or ingredient combinations, I mean in a bottle fer chrissakes, and just know that it's gonna be good.

            Presumably most chowhounds have at least a rudimentary knowledge of wines and the concept of vintage. It's just realy a drag to have to be ultra vigilant at every turn, especially this one. But I try to check the vintage on Dijon mustard, so who am I kidding?

            1. re: Mark DiBlasi

              All true! But as you've said--and I agree--there are occasionally splendid deals there, though you've gotta know what you're doing. By NO means should this be ANYONE'S "neighborhood wine shop".

              I think of it as the wine equivalent of one of those "Odd Lot Trading" stores: an intriguing walk-through, and--every once in a while--a source of consumer value triumph.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Dat's right. Nothing like a $9.00 bottle of 12 year old bourbon, or, in the case of the odd lot joints, a 99 cent Bill Doggett CD.

                1. re: Mark DiBlasi

                  I second the warning. I shopped there for the first time and the first bottle I opened was bad. That never happened to me before.

                  1. re: Mark DiBlasi

                    i've had uneven experiences with wine here over the years, but they remain the cheapest source for scotches and bourbons, et al, to my knowledge.

                  2. re: Jim Leff

                    I'm with you Jim -- I have to say, though that I shop there all the time and have only gotten a bad bottle from the "bargain" bin -- they were happy to return it, though. I get my "little drinking wines" there -- the $5 bottle of Georges DuBoeuf 2000 Beaujolais Nouveau may not be an excellent bottle of wine, but it's good drinking with my weekday dinners, and a good deal. If you know the specific wine, you might find it for a great deal. Try the Beni di Batasiolo 1998 Barbera D'Alba -- good wine, good value at $9.99.

                    1. re: Cait

                      Which reminds me....good policy at ANY wine store, but especially at low-level bargain joints like Warehouse (where a given allotment of wine may not have been stored well at some point in the procurement process): get to know a salesman. Learn his/her name. Literally introduce yourself. Tell them you'll be back. Greet them by name every time you go there (and if they're not there, ask another salesman where Trithrandra is today).

                      Wine stores are 100 billion times more accomodating returns of bad wine from customers they know. Show 'em you're legit.


              2. re: Mark DiBlasi

                A suggestion: why don't you try Astor Wines & Spirits --- just a block away and on your neighborhood route. I work there so I know the wines are fresh, stored properly,well-stocked with wine from all over the world, and there is no problem in returning the occasional corked bottle.

          2. Mark,

            I'm a little late to this discussion. However I do have some strong opinions about this store and others like it. Warehouse Wines and Liquors is what I call a "hot" store. They have little or no idea about the proper storage of wines and every single bottle that you buy from them is possibly subjected to heat damage. There are several other stores in NYC that either don't care or aren't aware of the potential damage that can be done when wines are subjected to heat. Even wines that you might think are okay could possibly be even better. The only way to know for sure is to do a side by side tasting with a bottle that has been stored properly. This problem is more prevalent than most wine drinkers would believe. It's expensive to outfit a store with a temperature controlled storage area. Even running the A/C at all times is very expensive. The stores that really care do this.

            Take care,


            4 Replies
            1. re: Mike C

              One of the worst offenders in this regard is Crossroads (14th. St.). They have a pretty good selection of older Germans and Burgundy but many appear to be heat damaged from long term storage in a not particularly cool shop. Too bad, because the city lacks a shop with a great German selection. Add to this high prices, cramped browsing and grouchy staff (IMO) and I don't know why people bother.

              Joe Moryl

              1. re: Joe Moryl

                Astor has a great German selection, and people who actually know the wines. By the way I work there.

                1. re: jmc

                  Yeah, I think Astor has about the best German selection in the city. The main reason I don't buy more there is the pricing - I can usually find what I want for less where I live (in NJ) or when I travel. Plus you tend to carry a lot of the more celebrated producers like Muller-Catoir, which have less than stellar QPR because of their fame.

                  Joe Moryl

                2. re: Joe Moryl


                  I agree with you. They are one of the worst offenders in this regard. To top it all off, they aren't very reasonable when you try to return a bad bottle.

                  Take care,