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May 9, 2007 06:21 AM

Chicago wine stores

I am going to be in Chicago for a month and will be staying near Michigan Ave. What are the best wine stores in Chicago? Especially interested in California and Oregon wines. Also would like to know if there are sales people that are particularly knowledgeable.

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  1. Sam's is massive....great selection, very knowledgable. good Prices

    1 Reply
    1. re: chrisinroch

      You know sams is indeed massive, but to find really top quality wines, even at a bargain, is a really hard thing to do there- they mix in a LOT of junk with their wines. Some folks are very knowlegabe, a lot of folks in there seem to have an attitude like "it's saturday, I'm tired and don't feel like chatting with you about wine." Why did it take me 30 minutes to find someone who could point me in the direction of 99 Bourdeaux?

      1. Neither Sam's nor winediscountcenter are walkable from Michigan Ave, but they are accessible via public transit as well as having parking if you drive. If you are picking up a bottle or two you can slip them in a backpack so don't look like a wino on the bus, but if you need more they both deliver.

        The Fox & Obel is walking distance from Michigan Ave, you will get a spiffy bag that you'll be proud to walk around. They have some very good wine staff (Friday night tastings!)and for a pricey grocery store, have some fair prices on wine.

        2 Replies
        1. re: renov8r

          Sam's downtown does have a huge selection. The difference between Sam's and WDC is that the latter only sells (very) good, drinkable wine (whereas Sam's sells everything). WDC per bottle prices are 20 - 30% less than Sam's and other liquor stores. We once bought a couple cases for an event and asked for a discount and we were told that they don't discount cases (as Sam's does) because the bottles are already discounted. We stopped going to Sam's years ago because the quality at WDC is so high and the prices reasonable. More for Chicagoans, though, as the lcoations are out of the way.

          1. re: SandraB

            WDC is awesome. A great place to stock your wine fridge. They have free tastings on Saturday afternoons (12-4pm) which are sometimes very good but always above average. Last week we tasted almost 20 wines there.

            If you are looking for a large selection, however, WDC is not the place to go but Sam's wine is. Have never bought wine at Fox and Obel but they do have a nice selection of high quality (read high price) bottles.

            To get to Sam's via public transportation, take the Red line to North/Clybourn. WDC is a 1 mile walk away, although you may not find the route terribly scenic.

        2. There is a Binny's Beverage Depot at 213 W. Grand Ave. (About 3 blocks west of Michigan Avenue) --this is walkable, depending on how far north or south you are of Grand.

          1 Reply
          1. re: EDL

            OK, after reading my original post, I realize that--to an out-of-towner--Binny's may sound like "random liquor store" but I assure you it is not. The staff is very knowlegable, and I find the wine selection to be quite good.

            There is also Uncorkit Chicago, near Michigan on Illinois (across from Fox &Obel), which also has a great selection & helpful staff.

          2. best wine store in chicago with most knowledgeable staff (ask for Gary) is Fine Wine Brokers. it's a bit of treck, but if you want to find some really great bottles it's the place to go. he focuses on smaller, artisanal producers, always great quality to value and a huge range of wines you won't get at other places.
            4621 N lincoln ave
            chicago, il 60625
            it's off the brown line western stop.