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Top Wine Stores in West LA?

GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 03:49 PM

After hearing a lot about The Wine House I checked it out--not bad, but I found it overpriced and the wines I ended up with weren't terribly impressive (Cloudline Pinot is bad enough I discovered, but Cloudline Pinot for $20 is awful).

I've been to Moe's in Brentwood which, again, was solid enough but a bit pricey. Maybe a bit impersonal?

I'm looking for a place where I can build a relationship with whoever is selling me wine. One of the things I miss about being back east is my wine guy Joe at The Grape d'Vine in Tappan, NY. Joe knew what I liked in a wine, was an educator, and was always excited about getting new stuff in.

Anyone think they might have a good suggestion?

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  1. hrhboo RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 04:11 PM

    I love Wally's in Westwood. Very personal service and everyone there seems to be passionate about wine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hrhboo
      hobomike RE: hrhboo Oct 25, 2008 06:54 AM

      Wally's: troppo caro!

    2. wilafur RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 04:17 PM

      check out los angeles wine co and beverage warehouse in cc/mdr.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wilafur
        slacker RE: wilafur Oct 23, 2008 05:05 PM

        Second Los Angeles Wine Co.

      2. c
        cls RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 04:25 PM

        Du Vin on San Vicente is my favorite.
        Wine Expo on Santa Monica for Italians.
        Venokado on Fountain impressed me with the couple of selections they made.
        Back Eastside I like Silverlake Wine more and more.

        Silverlake Wine
        2395 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        Wine Expo
        2933 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

        Du Vin Wine & Spirits
        540 N San Vicente Blvd West, Hollywood, CA

        7714 Fountain Ave West, Hollywood, CA

        3 Replies
        1. re: cls
          rednyellow RE: cls Oct 23, 2008 05:42 PM

          I second Du Vin. Rene realy knows what he is talking about, will steer you towards a better wine for a lesser price and his recs are always spot on.

          1. re: cls
            anothernotch RE: cls Oct 24, 2008 09:55 AM

            I always get good service and high quality wine at Wine Expo.

            1. re: anothernotch
              la tache burger RE: anothernotch Oct 24, 2008 10:01 AM

              I've had wines EXTREMELY highly recommended by the guys at Wine Expo, not cheap, that I hated. 2 or 3 times. Won't go back.

          2. l
            la tache burger RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 04:25 PM

            Absolutely Wally's. Right now I like Thomas there.

            1. y
              yogachik RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 04:57 PM

              Fireside on Montana and Duck Blind (both of them)

              1. l
                la tache burger RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 05:15 PM

                Didn't really have time to go into it before, but I've lived in L.A. for about 14 years now and have tried every single wine store (of merit) many times. I've had good bottles from everywhere and good service, at least on occasion, from most places. But Wally's, consistently over time, has employed more people who have genuinely gotten to know my palate and helped me out than anywhere else. Their prices across the board are not the lowest, but a) you are paying for service and b) they have plenty of great buys all the time on very interesting, quality, not famous wines, so I tend to think of them as very price-competitive. I know it's a cliche to say Wally's is best, but I think for good reason.

                1. v
                  vinosnob RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 05:50 PM

                  On the west side I shop at:

                  Los Angeles Wine Co
                  4935 McConnell Ave. Unit #8, Los Angeles, CA 90066-6756

                  Wine House
                  2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                  Wally's Wine & Spirits
                  2107 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  2020 Wine Company
                  2020 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                  1. r
                    RicRios RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 06:44 PM

                    What the heck, nobody mentioned K&L ???


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: RicRios
                      carter RE: RicRios Oct 23, 2008 08:36 PM

                      Ric - there's a reason no one mentioned K&L.
                      K&L still has not figured out the LA market. Some truly dreadful selections, and the help still does not understand the questions to ask to be truly helpful.
                      They have a long way to go to catch up with those already more established, meaning almost every place already mentioned.
                      Wally's and Wine House go through so many employees that developing a relationship is very difficult
                      Silver Lake, Topline on the east side seem to do a good job, as does Chris Meeske at Mission Wines in So. Pasadena.
                      Still not one place in the valley that is any better than any other - all are fairly dreadful, or so full of themselves, aka Woodland Hills Wine Co, that you should not venture near the front door.

                      1. re: carter
                        spoggly RE: carter Oct 25, 2008 09:34 AM

                        One thing that I do like about K&L though, is that if you order from their website, you can order bottles from any of their locations and they will ship them to Hollywood (no extra cost) where I can pick them up. I usually order a few bottles here and there, and then stop by about once every other month or so to pick them up.

                        I also disagree with you about Woodland Hills. I'm nothing on their bottom line, yet I've received excellent service and attention there each time. Great people, that really know wine.

                      2. re: RicRios
                        Adsvino RE: RicRios Oct 24, 2008 07:14 AM

                        Yep. I am in the wine biz, and will only give my business to K & L, Wine Expo, LA Wine co or Silverlake. The rest, no way.

                        1. re: RicRios
                          la tache burger RE: RicRios Oct 24, 2008 10:00 AM

                          not in west la

                        2. a
                          anons RE: GJWhite Oct 23, 2008 08:04 PM

                          Lincoln Wine Shop on Lincoln. Great place and great people to help you.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: anons
                            la tache burger RE: anons Oct 24, 2008 07:39 AM

                            Good call anons, agreed. Surprisingly good prices.

                            1. re: la tache burger
                              anons RE: la tache burger Oct 24, 2008 10:33 AM

                              yup. better prices than the wine house, and hard to find wines.

                              1. re: anons
                                hobomike RE: anons Oct 25, 2008 06:50 AM

                                +1 on LWS. They don't do case discounts b/c he says their markup is only 15%. I think they're a little nervous about the Whole Paycheck just opened on Rose but LWS prices and selection are waay much better. I hope Venetians support them.

                                1. re: hobomike
                                  hrhboo RE: hobomike Oct 25, 2008 11:49 AM

                                  I'm much more eager for Venetians to support newly reopened Venice Beach Wines on Rose. It's owned and run by a lovely couple and they now serve food too.


                                  1. re: hrhboo
                                    ElJeffe RE: hrhboo Oct 26, 2008 12:22 AM

                                    How is it? It's not a very inviting storefront and never appears to have anyone in it.

                                    I do like the 'Staff Pick's and In N' Out burger-like prozaked employees at Wally's....much more personal than Wine House. Just today I told Jeremiah I would be back for his head if his recommended Brunello doesn't work out:)

                                    I guess we should all feel fortunate to have 2 of the biggest wine distributors in the US within a few miles.

                                    1. re: ElJeffe
                                      hrhboo RE: ElJeffe Oct 26, 2008 12:31 PM

                                      It's been closed for several months while the patio was being renovated and a kitchen put in. It just reopened and has been getting busier.

                                      It's tiny but wonderful. The people who run it are super friendly and accommodating.

                                      1. re: hrhboo
                                        hobomike RE: hrhboo Oct 27, 2008 06:13 AM

                                        I went friday eve, as my friends literally live across the street, and it was bustling. The food was just a'ight and the staff, friendly but very slammed. But it was their first week... My only issue is the pricing on the wine, which I found to be high (400% on some glasses). Granted, they need to make $ in a very tiny space but it didn't really feel like Venice. In fact, it felt much more like the gentrified Lower East Side. It's not affordable enough for everyday, which I think they will need to be, to weather this coming storm.

                          2. m
                            mstringert RE: GJWhite Oct 24, 2008 11:27 AM

                            Jacques at K&L is very good: knowledgeable and helpful, especially with champagnes.

                            1. b
                              Biazarro RE: GJWhite Oct 25, 2008 09:38 AM

                              Wally's tends to have the most passionate and knowledgeable help in addition to the widest inventory. Although there prices tend to be a little higher I find the process easier there. They also have a decent online store. www.wallywine.com

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Biazarro
                                omotosando RE: Biazarro Oct 25, 2008 11:41 PM

                                Wally's has the widest inventory? I asked for a Gruner and they sniffed at me that they don't really carry Austrian wines. I guess they have a wide inventory of what they think you should drink.

                                1. re: omotosando
                                  hobomike RE: omotosando Oct 27, 2008 06:14 AM

                                  No Austrians? That's a crime!

                              2. j
                                jjlevine91411 RE: GJWhite Oct 25, 2008 04:31 PM

                                Even though it is a little bit of a drive (definitely not Westside) Woodland Hills Wine company is one of my favorite places to go. They ave tastings every weekend, send great email newsletters, have great prices and know their stuff. It's worth the drive.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jjlevine91411
                                  RicRios RE: jjlevine91411 Oct 25, 2008 04:54 PM

                                  Interesting what a difference a few inches make!

                                  See carter's comments a few inches up ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5669... ) :

                                  "Still not one place in the valley that is any better than any other - all are fairly dreadful, or so full of themselves, aka Woodland Hills Wine Co, that you should not venture near the front door."

                                  1. re: jjlevine91411
                                    brandygirl RE: jjlevine91411 Oct 25, 2008 08:18 PM

                                    I agree. Woodland Hills Wine is my favorite place for wines. I much prefer it over Wine House and Wally's. They have a huge selection. The staff knows their stuff, and they never try to sell me something over my budget--in fact, they usually come in a few dollars less! They take pride in finding great inexpensive wines, but they also have the expensive wines. So far, I've liked all the wines they've recommended.

                                    Wally's is too expensive. At the Wine House, no matter what maximum price I give them, they always show me something that costs more. For instance, the last time I was there, I wanted a ChDP between $50-75, and they showed me $85 bottles. Once they sold me a $50 bottle that tasted like chalk--no one at the dinner table would drink it.

                                  2. h
                                    hobomike RE: GJWhite Oct 27, 2008 06:25 AM

                                    Did anyone mention 20/20? Are they still around? I used to say that if the end of the world was coming, I'd spend my last minutes there: they had amazing verticals of most of the famous Bordeauxs, DRCs, etc. That said, I never gave them much business as the stuff was usually troppo caro. I heard the owner was a krabass too. Comments?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: hobomike
                                      RicRios RE: hobomike Oct 27, 2008 08:13 AM

                                      I will never be able to get the business concept underneath 20/20.
                                      All I know it's an excellent market gauge:
                                      I stopped buying at winebid.com when I noticed their auction starting prices were higher than 20/20's retail !

                                      1. re: RicRios
                                        carter RE: RicRios Oct 27, 2008 02:26 PM

                                        Bobby's selections to the rear of the current releases section are purchases from personal wine cellars,and thus have aging already in place, yet you have a caveat - how well was it stored, and of course is a bottle at or over the hill.
                                        Caveat Emptor.
                                        As to his new releases, he gets some things that are not often seen, yet other stuff you wonder why he carries it, which as Ric says, makes for an odd business concept, yet by now, he really must know his customers and their buying needs.

                                        Will not deny any comments regarding his personality though - needs improvement.

                                      2. re: hobomike
                                        Adsvino RE: hobomike Oct 27, 2008 08:26 AM

                                        Owner and prices suck. Selection great if you want to get ripped off. Avoid.

                                      3. a
                                        annapurna7 RE: GJWhite Oct 27, 2008 09:26 AM

                                        I shop at The Wine Country in Signal Hill, LA Wine and K&L

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: annapurna7
                                          annapurna7 RE: annapurna7 Oct 27, 2008 10:31 AM

                                          wine country info:

                                          Wine Country
                                          2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                                        2. w
                                          wasabica RE: GJWhite Oct 27, 2008 12:57 PM

                                          A relationship is very important but so is what you drink and where it is from. Are you looking for current vintages or older stuff? I don't drink a lot of new world stuff except CA, so please forgive the inherent bias in my comments:

                                          Bordeaux? Wally's is by far the best option. Wine Expo's forte is good italian, sparkling. LA Wine Co: Relationship place for sure. Not a place for labels. Great place for someone who is looking for that little "something special" for a good value. K&L: Great place to buy a case of whatever - their prices are good. Because of the SF headquarters, they have a huge inventory. I find their staff is much more helpful and friendly than Wine House. Great for Older Burgundy, Premium California, and other areas around the world. WHWC: non-champagne sparkling.
                                          I see no one has mentioned Wine Exchange. It is worth a trip to irvine just to see the place. It is HUGE, the cellar seems to go on for blocks. Great selections in white burgundy, rhone. Wine Country is closest to me logistically, but I really find their inventory superficial and their staff not as helpful/knowledgeable in comparison to other places on the list.

                                          Overall, if your priority is truly relationship-only, I would say LA Wine Co or Sepulveda Wine Co (in manhattan beach.) Don't expect much in older vintages, and they have very limited selection. It was handpicked with love, but is limited.

                                          Wine Exchange
                                          2368 N Orange Mall, Orange, CA 92865

                                          Sepulveda Wine Co
                                          917 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA

                                          1. b
                                            bcakers RE: GJWhite Nov 18, 2008 01:45 PM

                                            I've always had a great experience at The Wine House. Wally's is good too, but I find the selection and service and prices at the Wine House to be generally better. I have a relationship with two sales people there and find that they have come to know my palate and always recommend great stuff. The knowledge of the staff at the wine house is the best I've found in LA and the service they offer trumps Wally's and the rest.

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