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WineStyles - Cool wine bar in South Pasadena

While exploring South Pasadena via the Gold Line over the weekend I stumbled upon a wine store/bar called Winestyles. Winestyles is a new wine store chain, with an interesting concept. Instead of setting up shop and lining up the zins, cabs and blancs side by side, they organize their stores by the style of wine; bold, crisp, silky, mellow, fruity, rich, bubbly and nectar.

Looking for something to go with that light pasta or grilled chicken? Go for something “silky” with flavors of honey and melon. Or how about something from the “mellow” selection? It goes well with pasta, veal, pork or beef with flavors of cherry, berries, herbs and earth. A great set-up for someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about wine.

See some pics at my blog http://diglounge.net/?p=274

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  1. Reminds me of Best Cellars from east coast: http://www.bestcellars.com/ -- but it's a good concept especially for those just getting their feet wet into wines.


    1. Oh, good, a franchise wine bar, directly across the street from Chris Meiske's Mission Wines, one of the area's best shops. Safety in numbers makes it a happening area - just watch out for the cops!
      Sounds interesting for a newcomer though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: carter

        Just because it is a small chain, doesnt devalue it... in my eyes anyway. So is K&L and Bevmo and those are a good place for wine as well. But I will definately, check it out next time I am there.

        1. re: mattyshack

          K&L is a very small chain with only 1 store in So Cal. BevMo is much bigger with a really cookie cutter selection of wines.

          Mission Wines is a serious wines store with a fantastic selection....truly independent.

          I thought Winestyles was kind of rinky-dink...

          1. re: dottyb

            WineStyle is small, but I sort of liked that. Not a huge selection, it's not a place for the serious wine buyer. But I liked the layout and org of the store. The selection was enough for me on the first visit, but you may grow tired of it after repeat visits. Not sure how often they change up the selection.

            I am gonna check out Mission Wine next! Maybe a wine tasting marathon on Sat, first mission from 12-5, then winestyles from 5-9:30. Then who knows, maybe 750ml after that if I am still standing.

      2. this place is like "wine for dummies" (the book, the book, i'm not trying to insult you).

        it oversimplifies wine and has a terrible selection, maybe 40 different bottles repeated in different sections.

        with mission wine right down the street, and silverlake wine, colorado wine and bristol farms all within striking distance, there is absolutely no reason to go to this place.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shimpiphany

          Thank you. I could not have said it better.

        2. This comment probably would be better on the WINE board, but the subject came up here, so......

          I've been in a few WineStyles stores (there are almost 200 franchised locations according to their website) and the flavor-based arrangement of the wines is something I find problematic. There are many wines that cross category lines as the shop delineates them. A wine can be (and often is) rich AND bold; mellow AND silky; crisp AND fruity...... to bring up just a few dilemmas. So the layout is over-simplified for the consumer who finds wine a bit mystifying but it's essentially useless to anyone with some fair amount of knowledge. Luckily their stores show only 125 wines (at least that's what I've seen) so it's not that hard to look over everything in a short while.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Midlife

            One of the things I find interesting with those descriptive terms such as richness and boldness, etc., and that is to all, or just to the owner of the shop, the parent franchising corp, or what. Another location is under development in Brea I saw on the internet today, and many more will probably be springing up like weeds in the (coincidentally) Spring. Mellow and Silky especially drive me nuts, as I seldom to never use either term to describe ANY wine.
            Maybe Mission Wines will be the beneficiary of this unit as he is the high school-graduate school, while Styles is the grammar school, and Chris surely knows his wines.

          2. Wine Styles are all independately owned and operated. Each store has its own strength and weaknesses. The one in Torrance is owned by a couple who love wine, know wine and taste every single bottle they put in their store and stand behind each bottle sold. The concept might be a little simple but the wines in their store are not. Plus they are close enough for wine tasting and we can ride our bikes back.

            1. One just opened a couple of weeks ago in Irvine, less than a five-minute walk from my house. So, after work today, my wife and I walked over there. From your pics, the Irvine one is much smaller.

              Neither of us are real wine aficionados, so their 5-2oz-sampler worked well, along with a nice cheese/fruit/sausage/cracker platter. For $10 we tried a Pino Gregio, a rose, a chardonnay, and a couple of others I don't remember at the moment. That's actually one thing I didn't like: when we went to the much more serious Symposium Wine Bar (www.symposiumwinebar.com), and had a similar sampler, they provided cards with a list of the wines.

              The owners were two friendly women, who were attentive, but didn't talk much about the wines. There were a bunch of Irvine housewives hanging out in there, making a ton of noise and looking like they were waiting to be on the next season of Real Housewives of OC.

              Anyway, the wines were all good, if a bit on the bland side. Symposium is much better, especially for people who actually know about wine, but WineStyles was still pretty good and get a million bonus points for being within walking distance of my house!


              1. Mt understanding is that they are reaching out to the wine novice. They typically don't carry any wine for more that one or two months b/c they want to keep it dynamic and always have something new. One of the owners actually told me they are targeting the "MTV generation" who need something new in front of them to keep them interested. But they are all independently owned, so I'm sure there is some variation on the quality of service you get.

                1. Hi there:
                  Elizabeth Schweitzer also teaches classes in "The Backroom" Wine & Cheese Bar at Morry's of Naples in Long Beach. You can find it at www.morrys.com - you can quite get there on the train, but just about!

                  1. I really enjoy Winestyles. Sure, they don't have the most awesome selection, but most of their bottles are under $20. In the more expensive section, there are some good bottles from some wineries I've always enjoyed - like Frank Family. The tasting atmosphere is welcoming and fun, and my husband and I usually go once every weekend. We are not wine novices, but we still enjoy ourselves. We get exposed to 5 new wines every week, and we generally discover one or two that we really enjoy.

                    I've tried Mission Wines across the street, and I found them unfriendly and had a bad tasting experience there. The wine bar at the front was completely taken up by middle aged men loudly watching a sporting event on TV. The pourers were not at all attentive, and we had to do our tasting standing up in the back of the store. Sure, they have a good selection there, but I didn't enjoy myself. Winestyles is MUCH friendlier and more comfortable.