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Looking for great wine shop in Fairfield County, CT [Moved from Wine board]

Can anyone recommend a wine store with a large selection in the Fairfield County area of Connecticut? (Ridgefield, Norwalk, Stamford) or in the Westchester County area of New York? (other than Zachy). It seems like everyplace I go has such a limited selection and I don't like always having to go into Manhattan to get wine. Any and all recommendations are appreciated?

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  1. Check out Wine Wise just up from Whole Foods in Greenwich. Wine is a bit of a hobby of mine and having tried a number of stores in the area this one I really like. They are fairly new too and promote quite a generous "try before you buy" (as long as you are serious about buying something of reasonable volume or quality...) offer. I went in before Christmas for a case of reds...spent well over an hour in their back tasting room with the younger guy who works there happily imbibing away on a number of his suggestions...I bought about 60% of his recs. with the other 40% being my own preferences...which he let me try too...!

    (As an aside I heartily recommend the "Hazy Blur" Australian Shiraz and the Penner Ash Oregon Pinot...both delicious...:))

    A most enjoyable experience and I will be back for more soon!!

    1. Check out Franco's in New Canaan--they advertise in the NYT often and seem to have a good selection.

      3 Replies
        1. re: Johnleah

          I'm not surprised, but hey, what do I know--I get 98% of my wine from Fountainhead. Small selection, but very interesting and affordable.

          1. re: Elizzie

            People very nice, helpful and knowledgable

      1. For a large selection at fair prices, check out Varmax in Port Chester, just barely across the border from Greenwich. There are actually some amazing bargains there that I'd rather not even disclose (more for me!). www.varmax.com From the website, you can print out 10%-off coupons.

        I've looked at Wine Wise, and for me the selection is too limited and the prices not competitive. Didn't make use of their advice/expertise, so maybe that's what sets them apart.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Boswell

          Ditto the Var Max.......great wines from every catagory you can think of...Rhone, Burgundy, Napa, Italy, Bubbles, Sauterns,......they have it all.

          Beringer Private Reserve Chard $25!!!!!!!! Stews in Norwalk is selling it for $36!!!

        2. Wine wise will discount on a case purchase...I got (if I remember correctly after everything I tasted...and big tastings too...:)) 20%...

          When you say "limited selection" I'm presuming you mean volume...yes, this is not a big wharehouse joint aimed at offering sweeping discounts to the masses...wine wise is more specialist and has, dare I say it, a more interesting nee "intelligent" inventory...they cover off all the main areas on the world wine map but do it in a way that would surprise you. Their Russian River Valley selections are top notch and not (to my knowledge) to be found anywhere else in the area...ditto Oregon and the Rhone Valley. Finally, I even managed to pick up my favourite "cult" Italian red from Puglia region "Il Falcone"...something I haven't managed to do since I left London...

          1. Wine Connection in Scott's Corners (part of Pound Ridge). Much closer than it sounds, maybe 20 minutes from downtown Stamford. Excellent French and Italian wine selections, by far the best in the area I'm aware of. Prices are average to average-high.

            While you are there, check out the excellent new cheese shop across the street.

            I also go to Varmax in Port Chester quite a bit, and I like Franco's although selection can be limited and prices are high, as mentioned on this thread.

            5 Replies
            1. re: cteats

              I second the wine connection in PR. I know absolutely nothing about wine and go there to buy wine as gifts and EVERY time i bring one the recipient asks where I bought it. When I tell them they always tell me they have the best selection. I cannot comment on price, since I go in and tell them what I want to spend and poof they give me a couple of choices. The wine and cheese shop across the street just opened and no comment yet but will have one on Monday.

              Also, as long as you're in PR (this part of PR is called Scott's Corner) go the the market. They have the BEST meats in the neighborhood. If you have read my posts you know I do not think there is a good steak in FFD except theones I make at home. Scott's Corner Market is where i buy these gems.

              1. re: cteats

                Pound Ridge is pretty close since I am in Ridgefield but I am not exactly sure which part is Scotts Corner. Is it closer to Rt.137, or Rt.121? I come across Rt.35. Thanks!

                  1. re: bobby06877

                    take 123 south towards new canaan. as soon as you cross the border (about 100 yards) make a right onto Pudding Hill Road. At the sto sign (about 1 mile) make a right onto route 124 (oenoke ridege road). Scott's corner is 1 mile up the road.

                    1. re: jfood

                      Thanks jfood. I did what I should have in the first place and called the store for directions yesterday. One nice surprise is that they are open on Sunday, I am so used to the Connecticut law that I forgot about New York. I look forward to my first trip there and want to thank everyone for their recommendations.

                1. My family is in the wine/liquor biz in CT, and I just wanted to mention a few things to keep in mind on this subject: CT has minimum pricing laws, so there's a limit to how low any shop can price its wines. And it's a very competitive business, so it's also unlikely that any shop will price its wares appreciably higher than any other (though I suppose a shop in a wealthy town like New Canaan may be able to get away with it). Everyone will discount cases and most will offer free delivery. So, bottom line, prices aren't that variable---look for selection and service. Finally, Varmax is the closest thing we have to a "big box" retailer--the same people own a number of large stores in the county (Bevmax in Stamford is also theirs), and it's generally expected that they'll be continuing their growth as time goes on. Many think that someday the wine/liquor business will go the way of bookstores, with all the mom and pops out of business and only the big guys like Varmax left. So I'd ask you to consider supporting the smaller shops, even if their selections aren't huge, to help put off the day when buying wine is like getting a book at Borders.

                  1. Great point, MommaJ. That's part of why I go to Fountainhead.

                    1. Wine Connection does have a great selection of wine from all regions. The cheese store across the street is called Plum Plums and the staff is very knowledgable about pairing wine with the cheese.

                      1. I love fountainhead. They are a little quirky but I've never been disappointed. They don't carry merlot.

                        1. I made the trip to Wine Connection and want to thank cteats and jfood for the great recommendation. They had an amazing selection and I was even able to find a 2003 Barbera D'Alba by Bruno Giacosa, something I had been searching for without luck. I purchased all the remaining bottles of that one. They have a great number of harder to find Italian wines and they have a large and diverse selection of Bordeaux wine. I went over the Plum Plum for some cheese, selection was limited but they had most of the favorites. I also enjoyed an unexpectedly nice lunch at DiNardos, right next door to Plum Plums. Overall a terrific day for a rainy Sunday. Thanks again!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bobby06877

                            My pleasure. It's not easy finding stuff in this 'hood. :-)))

                            1. re: bobby06877

                              Hey, that's the wine I buy! You got it all!

                              Too funny ... Glad you liked it.

                              1. re: cteats

                                I wish I got it all. In my enthusiasm of finding the wine I had ben looking for I yelled over to my wife " I can't believe they have the 2003 Bruno Giacosa, do you know how hard it is to find this stuff?". I learned the hard way not to get excited by a find in a store, at least not out loud. One of the nearby shoppers heard what I said and picked up all the bottles she could see before I could get them all. Nice little old lady too, but boy was she quick. Have to respect that. At least I was able to get 3 bottles, the ones she did not see.

                            2. Fountainhead in Norwalk is definately worth a try. It is small, personal and run by a group of guys who live (and love) wine. They know every bottle in the store. You can't go wrong

                              1. I also like wine connection. But, the prices are cheaper at Sherry Lehmann in NYC, and they have your Barbera from Giacosa. In Ridgefield, I prefer Anconas for knowledge, selection and service. But NYC is cheaper.

                                1. Twisted Vine in Fairfield center the only place in the area that does not stock corporate wine. You will average $12 per bottle and walk out with some amazing stuff.

                                  1. Harry's wine has worked very well for me on Post Road in Fairfield. They have wine tastings frequently and the staff is always very helpful. They seem to have a good range of pricing as well. Good luck!

                                    1. Fountainhead in Norwalk, GOOD.

                                      1. Le Wine Shop in Greenwich. They are very knowlegeable.

                                        1. I like winecastle in Westport and world of beverages ( great helping people) in Norwalk, plus They have a lot of funky German beers.
                                          You can not go wrong with Bebmax in Stamford and sometimes They run specials, great selection of wines, I think they have over 200, You can find almost anything in there.

                                          Reading wine spectator is a great idea before You shop.

                                          1. I like Varmax in Port Chester and Winecastle in Wesport.

                                            1. Though not in Fairfield County, Amity Wine is right off Exit 59 on the Merrit and had a very wide selsction of wines, single malt scotch etc.

                                              1. Twisted Vine in Fairfield is a great place; owners are personable, passionate adn know their stuff. They have an intersting perspective and a wide variety on lesser known wines.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jemar

                                                  Check out Stew Leonards in Norwalk. Across from the food store, but it's licensed out the name. Really excellent selection and reasonable selection.

                                                  Used to go to BevMax in Stamford, but its' gone to all middle of the road wines.

                                                2. I'm amazed no one's said Saugatuck Grain and Grape next to the Westport train station. It's a small shop but the people in there know so much about wine, it's incredible. There's a range of prices there.

                                                  Off the Vine in Norwalk....also amazing and very knowledgable staff.

                                                  Francos is pretty great too, but I've had the best luck at the two above

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: leylad

                                                    Don't be too amazed. Saugatuck Grain and Grape didn't open until 2010, and the last post before yours on this thread was made in 2008.

                                                    Always good to have current suggestions, though. Thanks.

                                                  2. This is a little farther from the Norwalk/Stamford area, but Harry's in Fairfield is my go-to wine shop. I have to travel 30 min. to get there but the service and selection makes it worth the travel time.

                                                    1. Twisted Vine in Fairfield, BevMax in Stamford and Norwalk or Fairway in Stamford.