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Wine Shop

I'm going to be visiting Chicago in August, and will probably need to buy wine for at least one dinner. I'm very much into traditional/natural wines, mainly from France. I'm hoping to find a shop that would have good choices from the Loire, Beaujolais, Alsace and perhaps Germany or Austria. Can anyone give me a recommendation?

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  1. Sam's Wines and Spirits. Huge selection; knowledgeable staff.

    Sam's Wines and Spirits
    1720 N Marcey St, Chicago, IL

    1. Also try Howard's on Belmont. Not as huge as Sam's, but a very good selection - fewer misses, more hits, as it were :)

      Howards Wine Cellar
      1244 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL

      1. Not sure where you'll be staying, but if it's Gold Coast (Michigan Avenue area) then Binny's downtown location is also very good (Sam's is better, but Binny's is more of a downtown location).

        1. Sam's and Binny's are both large places with great selections. If you don't need advice they are great. The quality of the advice though varies from person to person, and sometimes just isn't that great. If I wasn't sure what I wanted, I would go to a smaller store like Howard's, Perman's, Randolph Wine Cellars. If I wanted something in between with good advice and good prices (about 10% lower on average) I would go to Wine Discount Center.

          1. All good recs. Sam's has a large selection but isn't anywhere near what it used to be as far as unique wines or quality, IMHO. Binny's downtown is good. Randolph St. would probably be my choice but it is a small, well chosen, shop. I'd recommend checking the web sites and getting an idea of what they are all about. And, just b/c its on their site doesn't mean that they have it so if you find something call and make sure they've got it.

            1. If you go to Binny's on Grand ask for Steve. Whole Foods in Lincoln Park on Kingsbury ask for Keith. Both are very well versed in the wines you're seeking. Enjoy!

              1. I will second Randolph Wine Cellars. Very personal, great mix of varieties, and wonderfully personal and attentive service. Every time I am in there, an employee walks around with me, makes recommendations, and makes it a very easy and welcome experience. (And that means a lot, since I know very little about wine.)

                2 Replies
                1. re: bourj

                  try House of Glunz or the Tasting Room on Randolph... Or... the Binny's on Grand will do too if you do BYOB to a restaurant.

                  House of Glunz
                  1206 N Wells St, Chicago, IL

                  The Tasting Room
                  1415 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL

                  Binny's Beverage Depot
                  213 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL

                  1. re: viafaenza37

                    Just FYI the Tasting Room and Randolph Wine Cellars are the same establishment. RWC is the retail store, the Tasting Room is the wine bar.

                    Binnys and Sams are fine if you need a lot of choice, and have a good idea of what you want, but to echo other comments, the service can range from non-existent to hit or miss. there are a few good salespeople at those stores but they seem to be more the exception than the rule. Also the quality control at the buying level seems spotty, whereas at the good indie stores I feel like they are more discriminating about the product they bring in.

                    For me I have found the best combination of knowledge, service, selection and pricing at RWC and Wine Discount Center. I have also had good experiences at Lush, Gentiles, Cellar Rat and Perman, but they are smaller and more limited.

                2. Sounds like you know what you like, definitely Binny's or Sam's. The selection of wines will blow away what you'll find at the smaller shops reccomended.

                  1. I like smaller, more intimate stores with helpful staff and not the giant warehouses. Try Just Grapes or The Wine Consortium. If you call ahead, they can give you an idea of what they stock and some suggestions as well.

                    Just Grapes
                    560 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL

                    Wine Consortium
                    2255 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL