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Feb 12, 2007 02:53 PM

Need a really good wine store in SF

We are doing a wedding for my son in San Francisco. Are there any really big wine stores(like Sam's in Chicago) in the Bay area? We live in Chicago.He lives in San Jose but I can travel a bit.

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  1. Not being a "local," I may have missed a ton, but K&L, near China Basin, is very good. They have a Redwood City store, and, I hear, a new LA shop, as well. I've only actually visited it a few times, and it was rather large, with great selections. I've not been to Sam's in Chicago, so I cannot compare. About 95% of my business with them is direct ship to me. URL:


    1. Obviously, the 'best" store depends upon what you're looking for . . .

      If you're looking for Champagne, no one has a better selection than D & M -- They also have an excellent selection of Cognacs, Armagnacs, Calvodos and single malts.

      K&L is a great store -- well, two actually (Redwood City is the original, and there's one in San Francisco, with a third on its way in LA) -- and has a huge seelction of both California, French and Italian wines --

      The Wine Club is three stores (Orange County, San Francisco and Santa Clara) -- mostly French and California, with a smattering of other wines, too, and generally at very good prices --

      The Wine House in San Francisco has a great selection of Bordeaux, Burgundies and the wines of Bobby Kacher --

      Beverages, and More! area chain of stores -- think large grocery stores with nothing but alcoholic beverages and you pretty much have the idea. Prices are good, but many can be beaten with a dilligent effort. They have a larger California selection than most other stores, and across a broader spectrum of prices, too --

      And then there are dozens of great stores just outside the city, too -- the East Bay, Marin, on the Peninsula . . . as I said, it all depends upon what you're looking for.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zin1953

        The Redwood City K&L is more convenient to San Jose and has the added benefit of being a few blocks north of Beltramo’s Wine & Spirits also on the Camino Real. This is another great wine store, whose new pricing policy was a few dollars less expensive than K&L on the same bottles of various wines when I compared them this summer. I don’t understand K&L’s move into LA, the land of unbelievably low wine prices and great wine stores. Perhaps, the increased volume will allow them to lower their prices further or they see a niche that needs filling.

      2. What a great list. i think one of these should have most of my choices. i used the Wine Spectator list since i thought wine stores would be apt to order these. Thanks to all of you.

        3 Replies
        1. re: BarbaraM48

          "I used the Wine Spectator list since I thought wine stores would be apt to order there."

          Barbara? What list? What does that mean? (I see potential trouble ahead . . . )

          1. re: zin1953

            I know everyone will jump all over me but i downloaded the List of 100 best wines from the Wine Spectator magazine. I felt that since i live in Chicago, highly rated wines would be likely to be ordered by wine stores so I could get them to taste in Chicago and buy in SF. I actually wanted California wines but I could not figure out how to do that.

            1. re: BarbaraM48

              No one will jump all over you, but that is EXACTLY why I was asking . . . a vast majority of these wines are already sold out BEFORE that "Top 100" issue of the Wine Spectator is published! Remember, these are wines released throughout 2006. Many are sold out without ever getting a review. When the magazine comes out with its "Top 100," it's a retrospective year-in-review, and many of the wines -- released in, say, March -- have bee ngone for months.

              Restricting your choices to that list is bound to be an exercise in frustration and futility.

              * * * * *

              You are, in my opinion, much better off selecting wines to go with your menu (whether it's a sit-down dinner or a stand-up reception), plus the Champagne/sparkling wine, based on tasting what's available now -- some of which will be on *next* December's "Top 100" listing.

              If you want to taste the wines in advance . . .

              If I were you, I would go to Sam's and ask for recommendations -- or ask for them here, Provide them (or us) with menu, price range, likes and dislikes. Sam's (and people here) will happily provide some suggestions . . . taste them.

              When is the wedding? When are you arriving in California? Each of the stores mentioned above -- at least those in my original post above, and Beltramo's BUT with the notable exception of BevMo -- are very helpful at making great recommendations . . . you can either buy the same wines you had at Sam's from (most of) these stores, or -- if you have time -- try some new ones. Each store will have a wide selection of wines to fit any budget.

              I'm not sure why you can't have California wines, should you (or the bride and groom) wish to, but clearly there is a world of wine out there from which to choose.

              When I got married, I served a California sparkling wine that (virtually) no one had ever heard of (and better than many Champagnes), and French still wines with the meal . . .

        2. Many of the wines on the WS TOP100 are unattainable in any significant quantity. Even so, if you got a hold of some of them, remember the criteria for being on the Top 100. The criteria takes many things into consideration and current drinkability is generally not one of them.

          For example, 01 Casanova di Neri is the number one wine. I have not had the opportunity to taste, but most brunello are best in 10-15 years. You've got 03 Bordeaux on the list like Leoville Barton, Ducru, Pichon Baron, Leoville Poyferre. Shouldn't really touch those for another 10+ years. You won't be able to find more than a bottle or two of Kosta Browne, Sea Smoke, Alban, Quilceda Creek. Even something like #67 $12 Tres Picos Garnacha, you will have difficulty finding.

          If you are supplying a wedding, think flavor profile more than "name". Something easy on the palate that all guests will find appealing and drinkable. If you agree with me here, then Costco will do you right. If you want something less common, check out Vintage Wine Merchants in San Jose.

          2 Replies
          1. re: waffleman

            I agree completely with the above. If you are interested in the "name," and the rating aspects, you might want to look at some of the past "Top 100," or similar. Pick wines that will match the flavors/textures of the food, then look for the same producers' products in a previous year, that might well be approachable.

            Recently, we did a tasting that featured 2 "Wine of the Year" (WS), though not the exact vintage. There were 3 others, that were very high in the "Top 100" (WS), though, again, not the exact vintage. For most folk, it was about the wines and how they showed. For some others, it was about collecting numbers attributed to wines by a critic, or two.

            There is nothing wrong with chosing wineries, or wine makers, that/who have produced very high-scoring wines. So long as the food and wine work, you have a winner. You will then score a few extra points, with those who keep track of the ratings.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              There's nothing wrong with buying wines by the numbers if your taste is similar to that of the people rating the wines.

          2. If staying in San Jose, you should visit:

            K&L in Redwood City
            Beltramo's in Menlo Park
            Wine Club in Sunnyvale