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your "go to" online store for wine?

Does anyone have that "go to" online store for wine? My area in San Diego is rather lacking in stores that specialize in wine (without overcharging me) or i just end up at Bevmo/cost plus.

From my searches i've found sellers that sell online to be cheaper on the average than in store costs (i have yet to purchase).

are there benefits to going in store (other than employee experience)?

And what's the best place for you to get great priced wine online =)

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  1. http://www.klwines.com/ has great wines at fair prices and http://www.thewineclub.com/ has really good prices on quality wines. i also search the web for sites that have free shipping...

    i've also had good experiences with http://www.whwc.com/

    all of the above are located in california, which helps with shipping...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Husky

      I second K&L. They constitute about 95% of my online wine purchases. Because I am most often doing Bdx., I just e-mail Ralph Sands, and he handles my account.

      I do not know the others, but suspect that Husky is right-on with the recs.


    2. You probably know this already, but to find good deals nothing beats

      http://www.wine-searcher.com (the paid version)

      Best $29.95 a year investment I can possibly think of...

      1. not sure what you mean by "overcharging" but San Deigo has lots of options for wine buying. that said, wine exchange, wine club and hi time, all in orange county, are failrly priced. if you get up that way they are all very easy to get to. I have ordered on line from wine ex and it worked fine. bear in mind that you still have to pay shipping costs, so make sure that it is a good deal before placing your order. that 29.95 at wine searcher could be a couple of bottles of wine down the drain.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ibstatguy

          are you saying wine searcher is not a good idea?

          btw thanks for the suggestions so far =) i keep buying my wines from wine.woot haha its killing my wallet ><

          1. re: clayfu

            wine searcher can very helpful in 2 ways, you can use it to find and buy a wine not otherwise available to you and you can use it to get an idea of what the range of prices is for a wine that you want. for people with no or very limited options in terms of wine retailing, it might be an excellent option. go to wine exchange's web page and sign up for their monthly newsletter and you will also get their email alerts on specific sales, etc. in san diego, try san diego wine company (sign up for their newsletter as well) and watch for deals at wine bank, wine sellar, grape connection, etc.

            1. re: ibstatguy

              super helpful! thanks everyone =)

              1. re: clayfu

                clayfu - in your "area" there is a german wine importer/retailer on Morena, Truly Fine Wines, up near Costco (which isn't a bad place itself). The owner, Damon, is a very friendly guy. i've also heard about a new wine shop more towards the southern end of Morena. check out the wine column in the SD Reader as well.

        2. It all depends upon the TYPE of wines you're interested in buying. But I would recommend either of these California-based stores before suggesting either BevMo or Cost Plus . . .

          K&L Wine Merchants -- http://www.klwines.com/

          Wine Exchange -- http://www.winex.com/

          3 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            i'm actually thinking of joining the K&L wine merchants wine club, just to give myself a chance to try a couple of bottles of wine a month without having to select it (cause i'm a noob!)

            anyone have any thoughts on that?

            1. re: clayfu

              The K&L Best Buy wine club is a great way to learn about a lot of different wines (and not too hard on the wallet). A number of years ago when I first got into wine I joined that club in order to learn what I did and didn't like. After a couple years I had a pretty good idea of my taste. Definitely worthwhile from an educational perspective, and you will probably discover a good "house wine" for parties in the process!

              1. re: farmersdaughter

                thanks =) just what i was looking for!

          2. For a retailer not too far from you, I have had very good luck with the wine shop on the main-drag in La Jolla. Yeah, I know that La Jolla is the "high rent district," but that shop has done very right by me. I only wish that I could find the name right now - will post it, if I do. The young dude, who owns it, has shipped a bunch of rare CA wines to me in AZ, and the price has been under anything that I could find here.

            Sorry, that I do not have the name right now,

            6 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              jeez Hunt, a Zonie telling us in SD where to buy our wines! ;-) if you can track down the name of the place, I'd be interested in checking it out. just what I need, another place where I can buy wine...That said, I can recommend several places in SD for you to check out this summer when you are here for the beach weather and/or the track.

              1. re: ibstatguy

                It is/was Wine Time, 7474 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037, (858) 551-7565.

                The young man who owns/owned it, is from PHX and his dad still lives here. They were invited to join our chapter of the International Wine & Food Society, but I have not seen either since an earlier event. One of the things that I am not clear on, is whether the son is still involved, or if he sold the business. Since he was looking to join our chapter, I got the impression that he had moved back to AZ, but do not recall the details. Anyway, on a trip up the Coast, we stopped in, out of curiosity. I really liked the selections, which were a bit ecclectic and the prices were not "La Jolla" prices, at least not to me. We struck up a conversation, and I mentioned a few allocated wines, that I was having trouble getting. He jotted down the names, and called in a week with about 90% of the wines I'd mentioned. He began shipping them to his father, who delivered all to me. All prices were ~$5 less/btl., than I could buy them in AZ, if I could have found them - none were available, and no one here was really interested in trying to track them down. All were from small wineries, and probably were afterthoughts in our distributors' portfolios, so no interest.

                The shop was a combo small supermarket/warehouse and not at all "tony," as most shops of any kind seem to be in LJ. Really nice, laid back, but with a nice selection and fair prices. I hope that the shop is still the same, as it's been 4 years, since we were last in LJ with any tiime to spend.

                Good luck,

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  I'll see if I can find out anything about it and will report back. Regards,

                2. re: ibstatguy

                  Please share the recs. We are the only two Zonies, who do not have a place in/near SD, but are there on business quite a bit. Sometimes, it's for a one-day meeting, but we try to stretch it over a weekend and throw in Torrey Pines, or Rancho Del Mar CC. Sometimes, I get lucky and can golf the 4-Seasons, Steele Canyon, and a few other spots. As we really enjoy the dining in SD, we'll usually do a few restaurants, but do not do it often enough to have really built up a long list of favs. I usually head to the S. Cal Board to see what's new, hot and good. Thanks to all the S. Cal 'Hounds, as they've never steered me wrong.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    if you want to combine some golf, food and wine, play golf at the Del Mar Grand in Carmel Valley then have dinner at Addison (there have been comments about it on Chowhound; I've been in 4 times with no disappointments). Or at least stop in at the bar and have some great wines by the glass (heck, they pour Krug by the glass!). Given the nature of where it sounds that you stay when over here, you might want to check out the wine selections at Wine Sellar & Brasserie in Mira Mesa, east of La Jolla. The Brasserie used to be one of the best restaurants in town but it has been surpassed by others in recent years. The Wine Sellar has great wines and while at the upper end of pricing, they frequently have sales or other specials. Not far from Wine Sellar is San Diego Wine Co. and, while they tend to specialize in moving high volumes of low cost wines, they do get a few very good wines at very good prices (over the weekend, just had a btl of Ken Wright pinot, Guadalupe Vyd that i bought there). You can go on line to sign up for their monthly newlsetter. Very close and to the east of Aviara is Wine Street; again, perhaps not the most competitive of prices but they do get some very good wines. Hope this might be of some help to you.

                    1. re: ibstatguy

                      Thanks for the recs. I just did a Permalink for future travels.


              2. Woodland Hills Wine Company

                Followed by...


                I would add K&L and Premier Cru but I live in the Bay area so I go there to shop. (Well,I shop online at Premier Cru but pick up the wines myself.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner

                  Martine's (wine importer/distributor) directed me to Woodland Hills Wine for some Denis Mortet. WHW was very helpful, go the wine to me quickly (it was for a gift) and in great shape. Am now on the mailing list and got their very interesting Spring 2007 newlsetter. WHW gets a thumbs up.

                2. I have had fine experiences with K&L and Woodland Hills Wine Co. Tremendous selection & very good customer service.

                  Plus I'll say it again and risk sounding like a broken record- ever since I got into Gruner Veltliner, dry Rieslings, interesting reds & sweet wines like Ice Wine, I have become a complete devotee of www.winemonger.com . You can't beat their prices, and the info on the site is great.

                  1. I have carefully searched many online wine services (4 Seasons Wine Club, Gerlings and Wade, The Wine Buyer, etc.), but inevitablly when you add the shipping costs, "special deals" are no deals. Also, "free shipping" typically is given only on certain wines or in large quantities. Sometimes you can get a deal from a club that wants your membership, but that is only a "come on" price-- which it may be good to take advantage of. Often, they will also be "sold out" in the wines you want and substitute others which are of lesser quality. For those who live in small towns where there is not much selection, it may be the only alternative. But here in Austin, where I can get 10% off a case at Specs or Grapevine or Cosco, I can find deals that the oneline services don't beat. However, I am an inveterate seeker, so I will probably check out some of the online sites mentioned here. If I find something, I'll report it.

                    The craziest craze is the "Wine Style" store just minutes from my house. They sell wines by color or taste-- for the truly dumb. Even worse, the manager told me "Nowadays, you can drink anything you want with food. Personally, I like white wine with my steak!" Right there I knew I would never shop in the place, especially since they were fleecing the sheep for their sophisticated service; most of the wines being over $20 a bottle.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Dave Zersen

                      I agree with you to a point. Here is my review:

                      Synopsis: 4Seasons is so-so, and ONLY if you make use of their come-on pricing (GREAT chatchkes, though, and SUPER marketing; the wine? ho-hum.
                      )Wineinsiders? bleh. So boring I could not finish the bottles (live is just too darn short).
                      Mywinesdirect? If you make use of the available coupons and rebates (e.g., through ebates), then their stuff mostly GREAT. Even their worst wine was better than anything the other two had; best of all, they ship REAL labels (not private label, untrackable stuff).
                      WineTV? Love it! Really.
                      Wine.woot? Hit or miss, but often a hit. Tiny lil vintners on the Cali coast. Cheap shipping. Good stuff. The site is addictive.
                      I have also grown fond of the "free shipping" closeouts (with rated wines) at Wine Buyer: http://www.thewinebuyer.com/results?p...

                    2. WWW.WINEACCESS.COM covers several hundred stores around the country.

                      1. I'm fortunate to be in LA where I can easily drive to 6 or 7 major wine shops including L.A. Wine Co., Beverage Warehouse, Woodland Hills Wine, Wine Expo, 2020 and the Wine House.

                        But when I'm searching out that rare bottle or sending gifts of wine to friends I use Wine Exchange and Premier Cru. If you're looking for a specific wine try the search engines like wineaccess, winezap and winefetch.

                        Have you tried the San Diego Wine Co? I think they're an offshoot of LA Wine Co so their prices should be very competitive even if their selection is limited & changes monthly.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: zinFAN

                          there's no "joint" ownership or the like but yes, the prices at SD Wine Co are very competitive

                          1. re: zinFAN

                            i am definitely going to give san diego wine co a shot, won't have time for another 2-3 weeks.

                          2. Im a big fan of the Wine Library... and they ship nationwide. Great prices and excellent customer service web site is their name dot com.

                            1. The Wine Sellar and Brasserie in Sorrento Valley is certainly one of the best, if not the best, wine shop in SD County. They have a broad selection and wines in all price ranges, and they have a very high batting average for their selections. They also hold great tastings. It's one of the best wine shops I've seen anywhere.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Mr. Cookie

                                this place looks interesting, looks like they have a very nice non US selection (at least online).

                                i'm going to have to check this out too.

                              2. First off, IMHO, avoid bevmo like the plague. Their wines lack in quality and excel in price. Wilfred Wong (the bevmo rater) can't rate a wine to save his life ... unless it's from BevMo and in that case .... 87+ points no doubt). As another (clearly brilliant) poster wrote .... hit the San Diego wine bank http://www.sdwinebank.com/

                                2nd of all, if you're really gonna pay shipping by going through an online wine retailer, then use the wine search engines that exist:

                                1) www.vinquire.com
                                2) www.winezap.com
                                3) www.wine-searcher.com (amazing if you pay the $30/year, otherwise the above searches "can be better"..... let the flames begin



                                3 Replies
                                1. re: rafloh

                                  if going to the Wine Bank, make sure to ask for Bryan. while the prices aren't as competitive as they once were (but they remain competitive with prices at wine sellar), it still has the best overall collection of wine in SD

                                  1. re: ibstatguy

                                    interesting, i'll have to check out the wine bank.

                                    i've look at wine sellar (a lil expensive based off of searches from wine searcher) and i'm going to go check out san diego wine company this weekend after finals.

                                    thanks for the continuing suggestions guys =)

                                  2. re: rafloh

                                    1. At risk of playing devil's advocate (I generally favor local specialist shops), to be fair, some BevMo locations have employed conscientious wine geeks who do things like winemaker demos and give good advice, so it depends on the store. (I don't know anything about those W. Wong ratings, never paid much attention. Advertised ratings are aimed at people who know little about wine and are a nuisance otherwise.)

                                    2. Probably doesn't reflect on wine-searcher (many people use it successfully to locate needed items, I believe) but when researching counterfeit wines some time ago I found a couple of famous examples listed there. Famous because they are very expensive high-profile aged wines that unfortunately (as people who know the genre will tell you) were never made. (They were offered by two European dealers. By now a number of firms have probably screened for this and I'd be very surprised to find the same thing offered today.)

                                  3. I usually go to http://www.porthos.com

                                    I have been so pleased with their service and their selection is clearly hand-picked.
                                    Their recommendations have consistently pleased me.

                                    I'm making myself thirsty!

                                    1. www.winestilsoldout.com They will send a daily email telling you what the bargain of the day is. Once they sell out of that wine they move on to another. They will tell you the original selling price, the days best web advertised price elsewhere and some tasting notes. It's pretty interesting and unique. Best priced wine? - I'm not sure. Check it out.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: steeltowngrl

                                        I got so excited STG that I checked out the website you referred to , thinking that maybe, just maybe I could use it to ship to PA (I assumed you were in the 'burgh). Then I checked out your vitals, and lo an behold you are in NYC. I still have to pay the great state of PA for my wines until they let loose the stranglehold they have on all alcohol here. Might have to make a run to Delaware...

                                        1. re: mkmccp

                                          If you live near a state border, I would recommend getting a box at a Mailing place. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I have a box in Washington where I get my wine sent.

                                          For online retailers, I like:

                                          - Crush Wine
                                          - Premier Cru
                                          - European Wine Resource