Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Mar 13, 2007 12:52 PM

Winestyles Store

Has anyone ever ventured to a Winestyle store? If yes, please describe your experience.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What on earth is a "Winestyle store"? I've never heard of them.

    1. Winestyles is a "franchise" wine store that has a limited selection of maybe 125-150 different wines grouped together by taste or "style"...........decent concept, but it still
      comes down to who is running it and the few I have been in have had people who really
      know very little about wine and just seemed to "refer' to their manual when trying to
      answer a 'basic" wine question...........Individual retail shops arre really a reflection on
      the person who is behind the counter..........

      2 Replies
      1. re: jonathon

        It's actually not a decent concept, it's stupid. I've only been in one, but as Jonathon said, the owners had no clue about wine. The product is "pushed"out of the Florida (!) headquarters, and you will recognise few of the labels.

        The local franchise can't offer a case discount because their franchise fee is so high. Is a picture emerging here? Sorry for the rant, but this franchise concept (IMO) is going to get a number of younger wine drinkers started on the wrong foot.

        And, the groupings are both inaccurate and make no sense. End of rant.

        1. re: jonathon

          I think that style-based wine stores are great for consumers that know very little about wine, and need an accessible way to feel comfortable shopping for it. But once they get even a little educated, a more traditional wine store is superior. I am by no means an expert, but I get twitchy when I go into a wine store organized by style or, even worse, food-type for pairing.

        2. I've been to the one in San Francisco on Union Street and didn't find much of interest other than the free tasting in progress. The wines are grouped by progressive style, but as Steve K points out, several seemed to be miscategorized to me. The "wine expert" that was helping the owner host the tasting said so many things that were wrong about the wines on offer, I had to leave the premises it bothered me so much.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I've had the same experience at the Union Street Winestyles. This franchise certainly will fail in urban locations or locations with a knowledgable wine consuming public (imagine one in St. Helena!)...that being said, put one in Norman, OK and it will probably do fine...

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Melanie's comment sums it up. The local owners are nice folks, and it would be good if they could succeed, but one has to bite his tongue in order to venture into the place.

                The groupings, the training, the knowledge behind the counter (there is one employee who knows something, but she's only one person), are just so off. The franchise HQ should truly be ashamed, but are likely making $ hand over fist.

              2. We have something similar - though independent, I don't remember the name - here in NYC and while it's arguably not a bad idea in concept if you were re-designing the entire world of oenology, it's so fraught with problems I don't see the point - except for those who are very unfamiliar with wine types at all and don't care to learn, either.

                The little bit of schmoozing I did just to see what they were like suggested the staff were not clueless, but not very sophisticated at all (they were all pretty young, which would make that difficult) and more geared to "enthusiastic beginners" than people even only broadly familiar with the "system" as it actually exists.

                If you want a "big, bold" wine to go with your hamburger and can't get any futher than that on your own and don't like to have to ask staff for assistance, this - and I assume others like it - might be the place for you. But then, in at least 8/10 regular stores, you'll get at least a serviceable recommendation too, and you might actually learn something in the bargain.

                There's a place for stores like these, but I sometimes worry that it might turn into a broader trend, and that would be awful.

                1. I find this whole concept very disturbing. I am first of all, a strong beliver in shop local & support your neighbor. Secondly, when I go to my local wine/cheese shop - they know what they're talking about without referring to a manual.