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best wine store san diego

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goergemicheal Dec 14, 2006 02:22 AM

i was told by several people that beverages and more in mission valley was the best. i thought that the selection was not that great and that most of the stock was pretty overpriced. any ideas?

  1. m
    mikec Jan 5, 2007 05:56 PM

    I can't believe I didn't even mention my good friend Brad's store, Varietals Wine Merchants, in Point Loma. It's in the funky two-story office building (that looks like it might have been a motel or apartment building at some point) just south of the Book Star on Rosecrans. Brad specializes in botique central California wines.

    1. Josh Jan 5, 2007 03:46 PM

      A nice thing about SD Wine Company is that they have tastings every Saturday. For a pretty reasonable fee, you can try a large number of their wines. That's always resulted in me picking up a few bottles.

      1. s
        Sandy Eggo Jan 3, 2007 06:33 PM

        Did anyone mention Wine Sellar and Brasserie?
        They have a very good restaurant too.
        www.winesellar.com

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sandy Eggo
          r
          rbrujo Jan 4, 2007 03:54 PM

          Yes, the WineSellar has been a topic, with mixed results. I have had no problems there and like their selection of French wines, especially the Burgundy, but others have had problems with price and quality. The concensus is to shop around, there is probably no perfect wine store and if there were, it would not stay that way.

          1. re: rbrujo
            ibstatguy Jan 5, 2007 03:42 PM

            the Wine Sellar has quality wines but in my experience is overpriced. they do have some good tastings with wine makers. agree with rbrujo that you need to shop around. go on line and subscribe to the WineX, Hi Times and/or Wine Club newletters; good free source of information. Bevmo is supposed to be willing to meet those advertised prices as well.

        2. ibstatguy Dec 30, 2006 06:28 PM

          Bob - thanks for the tip on pavillion. I just heard yesterday the mgr of wine club had moved on. Has anyone been to Terry Hudson's (formerly of Wine Bank and Wine Sellar) place in OC?

          1. ibstatguy Dec 15, 2006 06:33 PM

            I've found the Flower Hill shop to be way overpriced. Wine COuntry is great but closer to SD, in OC, are Hi Time and Wine Exchange.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ibstatguy
              b
              Bob Foster Dec 30, 2006 05:46 AM

              Even closer is The Wine Pavillion opend by the former manager of the Wine Club. (I-5 at El Toro Road, just east of the freeway)

            2. m
              mlutken Dec 15, 2006 12:34 PM

              San Diego Wine Company is my hands down place to go. Great selection, with good prices. Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Write ups on all the wines.

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                PGB Dec 15, 2006 12:22 AM

                I like the wine store in Flower Hill. Very knowledgable and good selection. Also just discovered Meritage Wine Store in Encinitas. Smallish, but excellent selection and awesome wine tastings every Thursday, Fri, and Sat for usually just $20. Last Friday was a blind tasting of 6 "Legends", basically the well known Cabernets ranging in price from $80 to $150 a bottle. Included Silver Oak, Mondavi, Duckhorn, and others. $20. Looking forward to some non-"Legends" that might provide better value to purchase. My favorite wine store is Wine Country in Long Beach, just off I-405. They have the best monthly magazine with great articles (free) and a huge selection. Well worth the trip for great finds and excellent prices.

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                  mikec Dec 14, 2006 06:28 PM

                  #1: Vintage Wines
                  #2: San Diego Wine Co.
                  #3: Third Corner
                  #4: Italian wine specialty store around 9th+G (if it's still open)
                  #5: Costco. The Morena store still gets more "super-premium" stuff than any other, including Mission Valley.
                  #6: BevMo: Usually they're about 10-20% overpriced, but not always.

                  In general, I also try to visit the Wine Exchange (in Orange) and the Wine Club (Santa Ana) regularly. Get on their mailing lists.

                  Absolutely avoid San Diego Wine Bank. It was marginal when Mike owned it. He was a real stinker about not running the A/C when it could get up to 80F in his downstairs. Thinking about all those incredible wines he's ruined over the years just to save a nickle makes me sick. He sold it to some dipshit from back east who immediately raised prices (on all those cooked wines) 50% and repositioned the store to rip off Conventioneers.

                  Barons has also made my "don't bother to return" list. They've put out an awful lot of wines that were obviously cooked without comment (or discount). And their pricing has continually crept up until they're no longer competitive with SD Wine Co. or Vintage.

                  I occaisionally find something interesting at Whole Foods, though their prices are about 10-20% too high. Same for Bristol Farms and Jonathans.

                  Mike

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mikec
                    Josh Dec 14, 2006 06:40 PM

                    Barons is known for buying cooked wines, at least among people who know their wine.

                    San Diego Wine Co. used to be my go-to spot, but now I'm sitting on 60 bottles at home that need drinking so I haven't bought anything in a while.

                    Wine Bank's new owner made a really bad impression on me when I went in to get some Scotch. I asked for something specific, which they had, and then he tried to steer me to something I had no interest in, which was more expensive. He tried to sell me on it by telling me it was John Gotti's favorite, and then that the former owner of Wine Bank knew John Gotti. I left thinking that if this dude is impressed by the tastes of a notorious criminal, it's probably not the place I want to be shopping.

                    1. re: Josh
                      r
                      rbrujo Dec 14, 2006 07:57 PM

                      I agree with the comments on cooked wine from the Wine Bank, two bottles out of 8 last week. Also the new owners and staff seem very disinterestede unless you are one of the super regulars or a crony. I will stick with Vintage Wines, the WineSellar, and Costco on Morena.

                      1. re: ibstatguy
                        m
                        mikec Dec 15, 2006 04:37 PM

                        I'll agree that Vintage isn't perfect, and you should probably avoid older Burgundy's there. Still, I've been in The Wine Bank basement when it had to have been in the mid to high 80's. The Wine Bank running the A/C now is closing the barn door after the horses have left. What is the Wine Bank going to get now that will be worth getting? I like Brian, I think he's a good guy who got royally screwed by Mike. He might be able to lead you through the minefield that is the Wine Bank.

                        FWIW, I've also got several friends that have been screwed by Parker of the WineSellar, so it's not a place I recommend.

                  2. stevuchan Dec 14, 2006 04:02 PM

                    Although the selection is limited and stock changes frequently, which is frustrating at times the SD wine co. on Eastgate mall in the UTC/miramar is my go to place. The whole staff is top knotch, spot on recs, good deals. Sign up for their mailer online.

                    Current fav is the Marques Phillepe (RP +90) Shiraz - 7.99

                    1. kare_raisu Dec 14, 2006 02:39 PM

                      Barrons in Rancho Bernardo is pretty good.

                      1. m
                        mimosa Dec 14, 2006 03:18 AM

                        Vintage Wines is our favorite. Great selection and they have some great tastings too.

                        SD Wine Company is worth stopping in. We've usually found a few interesting bottles and their pricing is generally great.

                        The Third Corner is fun and they've got a nice selection at decent prices.

                        Wine Bank is another shop we like but they were purchased a few months ago and recent reviews aren't great. To be fair, we've not been in a while so I'm only going off other folks' opinions. We used to buy a lot more wine than now and it was our go-to spot.

                        And finally, Costco has a decent selection and it seems like we usually find the most interesting selection in Mission Valley.

                        Happy shopping!

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