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May 1, 2008 10:24 AM

Where to buy moderately priced wine?

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. 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. 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

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

        1. re: abud

          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

            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

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

              1. re: maxine

                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

                  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. 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

            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

              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

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

          2. 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

              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 (based in Washington DC) at spectacularly low prices - even with shipping the cost was lower than from anywhere in Manhattan.

            2. 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 They have a whole section of top-rated bargain buys for under $20.