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Where to buy moderately priced wine?

NYCkaren May 1, 2008 10:24 AM

I am no wine expert but I generally have a glass with dinner. I can't afford the good stuff but I try not to buy swill. What do you think is the best Manhattan option for moderately priced wine? I've been ordering from Astor Wines because they have free delivery in Manhattan on orders of $75 or more. I will sometimes pick up a bottle or two at Trader Joe's but I am limited to what I can carry on the subway. Where do you buy your wine?

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  1. LNG212 RE: NYCkaren May 1, 2008 11:26 AM

    We're like that too -- we like to have wine with dinner but we generally stick to the $10-$20 per bottle range, except for a special occasion. We actually really like our neighborhood wine shop: Columbus Wine & Spirits (on Columbus between 95th & 96th). They do regular tastings Thursdays through Saturdays on a variety of wines (including kosher and organic) and spirits. They run regular discounts -- I believe it's 10% off 6 bottles (still only) or 20% off a mixed case (also, still only). Sometimes they run the extra special discount of 20% off the mixed case plus they'll pay the tax too (we love that one!). They also run specials like 10% off 3 bottles of rose in the summer time or 10% off 3 organic wines (they're doing that right now I think). They do offer delivery but I'm not sure how far they go. In general, we'll buy at least 3 bottles at a time so that we can get one of the discounts. We also like the staff there. They are helpful and knowledgeable and they don't try to upsell you or make you feel awful for wanting a $10 bottle of wine. We appreciate that.

    1. u
      usbchinita RE: NYCkaren May 1, 2008 08:05 PM

      I LOVE Sherry Lehmann Wines on 59th and Park. They have very knowledgeable staff, I can always find something or they can always recommend something good at around $10. Not sure about any discounts though. Is Wine on W. 8th between 5th and 6th is a small wine shop, very good wines, a lot of them are in mid $10's.

      6 Replies
      1. re: usbchinita
        abud RE: usbchinita May 2, 2008 04:12 AM

        I second Sherry Lehmann. Anything they are selling will be good and they always have staff picks for great prices.

        1. re: abud
          MMRuth RE: abud May 2, 2008 04:16 AM

          Agreed, and they do have case discounts as far as I recall. We tend to buy wine at Garnet, on Lexington & 68th, and K & D Wines, on Madison & 95th. We usually keep our weekday wines between $10 - $15, and they are usually able to come up with good suggestions.

          1. re: abud
            ChefJune RE: abud May 2, 2008 06:23 AM

            another vote for Sherry Lehmann. I go there when I'm in the neighborhood, or when they have such a good deal I cannot refuse. I love their email lists. They let me know when a trip up their way is essential!

            Warehouse Wines on Broadway near 8th is a great place for bargains. The staff tends to be a bit brusque, but no one cares if you browse the whole place for the best bargains...

            1. re: ChefJune
              maxine RE: ChefJune May 2, 2008 02:08 PM

              You have to be careful with Warehouse, they are cheep but too often the wine turns out to be spoiled.

              1. re: maxine
                cimui RE: maxine May 2, 2008 02:22 PM

                Yes, storage conditions in that place are way, way too warm. (It's all upstairs and the place isn't well air conditioned in summer.) It's a good spot to pick up that $5 bottle of young Jacob's Creek for a weeknight meal or sangria, but don't buy anything there that may have been sitting in the store for a while.

                1. re: cimui
                  cricri7 RE: cimui May 3, 2008 09:13 AM

                  I once had an argument with the manager at Warehouse on Broadway because we had bought a bottle of Pinot grigio and we brought it back because it was spoiled. The manager took a sip and told us that it was excellent. He told us that it tasted like petroleum and that it was normal because Pinot grigio always tasted that way! My friend and I spoke to one another in French, we are from Montreal, and he told us to speak American! I was a bit offended by him to say the least. I don't know if he is still the manager, a guy around his fifties with white hair, but I hope for the store that he is now gone!

        2. k
          kitchenmc RE: NYCkaren May 2, 2008 04:39 AM

          Sherry Lehmann would not be considered moderately priced by most. Garnet is a better choice for prices. Even better is Best Cellars, where every bottle is under $15. And also there is Bowery & Vine right next to the new Whole Foods downtown. You'll find terrific choices at every price range.

          3 Replies
          1. re: kitchenmc
            MMRuth RE: kitchenmc May 2, 2008 04:41 AM

            SL may not be moderately priced generally, but they have a well culled selection of very inexpensive wines and an excellent staff. I find Best Cellars to be hit or miss a lot of times.

            1. re: MMRuth
              LNG212 RE: MMRuth May 2, 2008 06:14 AM

              I agree, MMRuth. I've had some not so good picks from Best Cellars (there's one on the west side now too) (though I do like the classes Josh Wessen does at the 92nd St. Y). Also, I'm not so fond of the way Best Cellars organizes their wines.

              1. re: LNG212
                MMRuth RE: LNG212 May 2, 2008 06:20 AM

                Yes - I don't like the way they organize either, and the selection is minimal.

          2. j
            jasmurph RE: NYCkaren May 2, 2008 01:44 PM

            PJ WIne, up in Inwood, is almost always the most reasonably priced store in the city. They do a lot of volume and, I suspect, they need to draw business up town. They do have a pretty reasonable delivery deal. They're good in most areas and fantastic on Spanish wine and quite good on South American wines. It's a lot like Astor, but a lot less slick, for good and for bad.

            I would second Garnet wine as another well-priced store.

            Sherry Lehmann is a great shop, but they're not great on under $15 wine, since they focus so heavily on the blockbuster wine regions. They carry stuff, of course, but it's the usual cheap fare--over-oaked fruit bombs--rather than the much more interesting cheap fare you could get at PJ or Astor. Chambers Street WIne might have the most interesting wines in the city, but they're always $1-2 more than they will be at Astor or PJ, if those stores carry them.

            K&D is not a store I'd recommend for moderately priced wines. It's overpriced, as are Union Square and the shop in Chelsea Market. Best Cellars is a bad shop.

            If you don't know Dr. Vino's wine map, you should check it out:

            1 Reply
            1. re: jasmurph
              racer x RE: jasmurph May 3, 2008 09:06 PM

              Another vote for PJ's (4898 Broadway) in Inwood.
              I don't drink alcohol myself, but I occasionally buy for friends and family.

              This past Christmas I bought online some fine cognacs from winespecialist.com (based in Washington DC) at spectacularly low prices - even with shipping the cost was lower than from anywhere in Manhattan.

            2. c
              cimui RE: NYCkaren May 2, 2008 02:33 PM

              Caswell-Massey isn't great for very inexpensive (less than $10) bottles, but it is good for mid-range hard-to-finds. They're good at tracking down wines that others can't.

              I'm also a big fan of Wines.com. They have a whole section of top-rated bargain buys for under $20.

              1. 280 Ninth RE: NYCkaren May 2, 2008 05:58 PM

                I've recently been buying by the case at Vintage NY, SoHo location, for delivery to Chelsea. Not a large selection, but I've done well with reds in the $11 - $20 range for everyday. I've been very pleased with the Pindar Pythagoras for $12, and the Salmon Run Petit Noir for $11.

                My personal favorite among wine stores in the city is Moore Brothers. They'll have reasonably priced stock, and their service is phenomenal in my experience. On 20th between Broadway and Park Avenue S. I avoid them only because I'm too tempted to go way over budget (and I have!).

                1. s
                  sugartoof RE: NYCkaren May 2, 2008 06:00 PM

                  Keep an eye out for free shipping codes to do mail order from winelibrary. They have really good sales, and the prices are a couple bucks below Astor even on low end bottles. They pack stuff nicer then the other mail order companies, but they've also lost orders too. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the coupon codes come up at all recently, and with sipping it's a killer.

                  I think Astor is pretty darn good. The new store has a better selection. Trader Joe's is really the best stop for a $10 wine....they do delivery to some neighborhoods too.

                  1. u
                    uwsgrazer RE: NYCkaren May 2, 2008 08:28 PM

                    I've been buying wine at 67 wines (actually located at 68th and Columbus) for years now. I've found the selection and pricing good. Service can be variable but it's okay enough overall. Having said that, I haven't aggressively price shopped so I wonder if other Hounds have any opinion here.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: uwsgrazer
                      jasmurph RE: uwsgrazer May 3, 2008 03:42 AM

                      I'd pick Beacon wines over 67, both for selection and price.

                    2. r
                      Renguin RE: NYCkaren May 3, 2008 06:29 PM

                      I like astor wines. i don't buy that much wine b/c i'm both picky and poor, (the product of drinking too much good wine that i haven't had to pay for) but I think astor wines has a decent selection in the lower price range. anything i've ever gotten from trader joe's is undrinkable.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Renguin
                        snaporaz RE: Renguin May 3, 2008 10:09 PM

                        +1 on Astor Wines - IMO you've hit the right spot. I think in terms of selection at any price point, QPR and knowledgeable staff they are hard to beat. You may find the same bottles cheaper at PJ's but in terms of storage as well as a wine-buying experience you can hardly do better. PJ's feels more like a clearing house for bin-ends. SL is tops as well, though I agree that it's a little more high end.
                        I would definitely not recommend Beacon, which on average is overpriced, and has a pretty uninspired if extensive selection. On the UWS, you can do much better at Nancy Wines, which has a smaller but better selected inventory, especially for rieslings.
                        Finally, if delivery is OK, Zachy's can have some pretty great deals if you look around their web site.

                        1. re: snaporaz
                          jasmurph RE: snaporaz May 4, 2008 04:08 AM

                          I'd agree that Nancy's is much better than Beacon, as is West Side Wine. I guess my point was that Beacon is better than 67--neither is particularly great.

                          While I'm a fan of Astor, I think it's hit or miss with the staff. They suffer the problem of many big wine shops--no one person could know all the regions and all the inventory, although it sure would be fun to try.

                      2. s
                        sickelka RE: NYCkaren May 3, 2008 09:16 PM

                        Appellation in Chelsea on 10th Ave. near 20th has excellent wine. My friends and I got hooked in their wine before we discovered that it was all organic -- we hadn't noticed a difference, just that they have spectacular wine and an excellent staff that goes out of their way to ensure you get the perfect bottle.

                        1. c
                          curranthound RE: NYCkaren May 4, 2008 05:47 AM

                          Greene Grape, in the financial district, has an interesting selection of inexpensive to moderately priced wine. They do deliver, and offer nice discounts (I think it is 10 or 15% on a case (mixed) and 20% if you buy 5 cases at a time!) They also offer frequent wine tastings in the store, but they have a good website, too, so it's not as if you HAVE to go there.

                          1. r
                            roze RE: NYCkaren May 4, 2008 04:36 PM

                            I'm surprised no one had mentioned Bottlerocket. They have a ton of great wines for under $15 and the staff is super nice and quite good on recommendations.

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