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Aug 11, 2009 07:42 AM

NYC Wine Shoppes

I'm in search of the best local wine shoppes in Manhattan. Preferably midtown to downtown. Best variety, best deals, best staff...etc. Please share your favorites!!
(i searched the boards and didn't really find too there a thread i missed?)

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  1. My favorite is Bottlerocket on 19th St. They only stock what they like and the staff is extremely helpful. They organize the store by pairing - i.e. Pizza, Takeout, Poultry. Whenever I can't make it to the store I call and ask them to get together a nice box for me based on my previous purchases and they do a great job and don't try to gouge me with pricey bottles.

    1. Astor Wine and Spirits is very good. right by the Astor place stop on the 6 train. they have a good website too.

      I am also a huge fan of Trader Joe's by Union Square. Very cheap but also very good wine.

      1. Check out September Wines on the LES. They have an amazing and very interesting selection at all different price points. Their staff is awesome- so nice and very knowledgeable. Definitely my favorite wine shop downtown. Crush on 57th is great too, if you're looking for midtown.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AimeeD821

          We went to September Wines several times before dinner at Elyssa Dido (now sadly closed) and had good experiences. Selection is small.

          No one mentioned Warehouse Wines or Chelsea Wine Vault. Not a fan of Pasanella, already mentioned. Not a huge fan of Trader Joe's Wine Shop but have found one of our favorite riojas there at a good price.

          1. re: kathryn

            My favorites:

            1) Crush Wine: Some great wine tastings. Fine dining wine served in fine dining setting with great stemware, though the space is often taken over by people processing internet orders. When you buy here, there’s little fear of bringing the same bottle to a party as your buddy from across town (Prom Night nightmare for the wine fan set). Search for these wines, and they’ll only come up on Crush’s site. Strong for small producers and values on collector quality wine. Best for French, German, interesting California. Not much Pacific Northwest (a lot of those wineries work with direct sales). Organization of store by grape is a bold and valid choice. As a bonus, staff look and act like something out of “High Fidelity.” Grand Cru wine geeks.

            2) Le Dû’s Wines: Owner has best palate in the Village. No duds, no Yellow Tail. Wonderfully deep in French. Great price range. Surprisingly strong bargain Italian wines are a plus.

            3) Sherry-Lehmann: Greatest depth and breadth in fine wine, especially Grand and Premier Cru French. Where to go for Margaux, futures, big names and to run into really rich people. If you happen to need a bottle of white Port for ten bucks, they have that too.

            4) PJ’s Wine: Some exceptional values and rarities. Once found an obscure Muller Thurgau here at a steep discount over one other place in town that carried it. Same wine served in Alto. Delivery at 100 dollar mark (versus 150 most places), so remote location isn’t a problem. Wonderful selection of Spanish wine that surpasses the expensive East Siders. Go to place for Sherry.

            5) Union Square Wines: USQ has a pretty amazing marketing device in its tasting machines plus some blowout festive tasting events. Good for the under 15 dollar never offensive wine purchase. Also pretty cool that you can get much of their stuff from Fresh Direct. I prefer to order directly, however, since the selection and pricing work out a bit better.

            6. Chambers Street Wines: Lyle Fass has been in and out there, but he was certainly the best thing about Crush, and I think he's also the best think about Chambers Street Wines. Their mixed cases are almost always a good deal and guaranteed to contain some rarities. I'm a big fan of their Loire Valley selections, an area they seem to know better than any other New York player.

            1. re: Fat and Happy Food Slut

              I believe Lyle has moved on from CSW, but the store remains a great source for wines made in a more traditional style, especially from the Loire, Germany, Burgundy and the Rhone, and they also have an excellent, interesting sparkling section. They also have a terrific, well priced range of older Piedmont wines, and a knowledgeable, very down-to-earth staff.

              Beyond that, Crush has a great staff and selection, as does Park Ave. Liquor, which also has one of the best Scotch inventories in the US.

              1. re: craig_g

                i'll add another vote for Chambers St -- they always have really interesting, off the beaten track wines and very friendly staff. It's worth the trek down there!

              2. re: Fat and Happy Food Slut

                Agree with "Fat and Happy Food S...":
                I just want to add: PJ Wine´s delivery trucks seem to be chilled, since our wine has always arrived cooled, even on hot summer days. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Sherry-Lehmann: once the (fine French) wines they delivered were not only warm, they were very, very warm. We did not accept those wines, and have not had a summer delivery from them since. We do like Sherry-Lehman a lot though, especially for those great French wines.

                PS. Crush Wine's url has probably changed: it now seems to be: (someone already mentioned it above


                PPS Chambers Street Wines:

                1. re: FoodWine

                  Be careful about pricing at PJ Wine. On two different orders when got bill with delivery, prices on some items were different than listed online. They would not make right eventhough they saw the difference. l do not use them anymore.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Wow, so sorry to hear that.
                    I am especially sorry to hear that, since we love PJ's. We use them a lot and have never had a bad experience. There was once a mistake (not a pricing mistake) and they corrected it.

                    1. re: FoodWine

                      Had used them for a few years, actually in a doorman building, a treat, then these problems happened twice in a four month period within 4-5 orders, sorry but l am through.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        I understand very well that it leaves a really bad taste in your mouth if a store charges you more than what was stated on their web site - and on
                        the(ir) Internet order receipt (that you hopefully copied or printed and saved).

                        By the way, you had the right to reject that shipment. When you dealt with the store and they refused to honor the price they had posted on their web site, you had the right to say that you had relied on the posted prices and based on that reliance you had ordered a wine at a price of x amount of dollars, not at xx amount - and therefore they will have to come get their wine back.

                        Sorry about your experience.

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          I just had two bad experiences with PJ's (since my glowing review a few months ago)!. On one order they did not give me the case discount. Not the end of the world but when I tried to fix it, it took several days of 'We'll look into it and call you back' before someone actually took care of it.

                          Now, I have a certificate for half a case of at-cost wines which they give to frequent customers. I am thinking of getting a few very nice bottles and I know that at-cost wines there are discounted between 10 and 30 %. But when I called to get specific prices, I was told that they don't give prices on the phone and that I would just have to see the price after it was charged. That seems crazy to me. Especially on a $150 bottle.
                          The manager has agreed to quote some prices so I can order my 6 bottles but getting a price quote before you buy doesn't seem to warrant a call to a manager.

                    2. re: FoodWine

                      Didn't PJ's up their free delivery minimum to $150? We have had great experiences with them and even bought the wines for our wedding from them (and I dove them up to NH!). A couple times they have been out of a bottle that I had ordered but they have always called to ask whether we wanted to sub in something else or just get one less bottle.

                    3. re: Fat and Happy Food Slut

                      USQ has possibly the worst pricing in Manhattan. With so many wine stores out there, no reason to go here. Maybe... MAYBE I would go to USQ for German wines though since they tend to have a good selection.

                      The truth of the matter is that most wine stores in Manhattan are priced poorly. Many stores improperly store their wine because of space constraints. The combination of the two leaves you very few that you could consider a good deal.

                      My top picks in Manhattan:
                      1. Astor Wines - generally a very good selection and pricing that is usually at least competitive. Free delivery is good too.

                      2. PJ Wines - only buy in person, do not have wine delivered from them. A good number of their wines are not stored properpy. Stick to more recent vintages, but the prices are great. If you spend enough at the store during the year, you get access to their annual clearance sale, where prices are unbeatable.

                      3. Zachys - not in manhattan, but great selection, great customer service. That said, only buy when they have sales, because when they do the prices are often hard to beat, especially within the boundaries of Manhattan.

                      1. re: Farfalle

                        Is that true about the storage problems at PJ's? I've had a few older bottles there that seemed to have held up fine but most of what I buy are younger vintages. Do you think buying 2001's is not a good idea there?

                  2. Moore Brothers on 33 East 20th is one of my favorites. They source directly from small vineyards, have a great range of prices and the staff is accessible and helpful.