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Where to buy Wine?

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Gail Sep 3, 2011 07:14 PM

We are spending a month in Laguna Beach and can only bring, via the car, so much wine. I'm wondering where the best place within reasonable driving distance, we might find a good selection of wine at fair prices. I seem to remember someone here mentioning a wherehouse kind of wine store south of Laguna. Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. omotosando RE: Gail Sep 4, 2011 04:35 PM

    I'm in Los Angeles and I order a lot of wine from Wine Exchange in Orange (Northern Orange County). http://www.winex.com/ They consistently have the lowest prices in the entire United States on a lot of the wines I'm interested in.

    You could definitely drive there from Laguna -- probably about 30 minutes or so, but you could also have it delivered (which is what I do, since there is no way I would drive 50 minutes from L.A. to shop there). Delivery is not outrageous and it reliably comes the next day (without extra expedited delivery). I've had no problems with heat damage either -- unless you are buying a very pricey bottle of aged wine, I can't imagine that one day on a truck could ruin it.

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    Wine Exchange
    2368 N Orange Mall, Orange, CA 92865

    1 Reply
    1. re: omotosando
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      Gail RE: omotosando Sep 4, 2011 04:46 PM

      We have transported a few bottles on a yearly basis, so no problem there. We stay on the coast and have covered parking and are there in 1 1/2 days.
      omotosando, you are right. I'm sure that's the place. I know it was a warehouse kind of place with wine cases stacked here and there. We will make a run there. Hubby loves to wine shop so he will be delighted!
      Thanks so much!

    2. f
      foodiemahoodie RE: Gail Sep 4, 2011 07:11 PM

      The Wine Club in Santa Ana is a warehouse store in Santa Ana. (Orange adjacent) is what you're looking for. Great wine and very good prices.

      http://www.thewineclub.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: foodiemahoodie
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        Gail RE: foodiemahoodie Sep 4, 2011 07:25 PM

        Wonderful, a bonanza!
        Thanks

      2. ocshooter RE: Gail Sep 5, 2011 11:34 AM

        Wine Club in Santa Ana is good.

        The best liquor store in OC is Hi Times Liquor not too far north in Costa Mesa.

        There is a Total Wine off the 5 at Jamboree. If you sign up via email, you get regular coupons.

        Lastly, there are several Costcos in the area if you are a member. The one at the 5 and Crown Valley is probably the closest. Either that one or the one in Irvine near the Irvine Spectrum.

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        Hi-Time Wine Cellars
        250 Ogle St, Costa Mesa, CA

        6 Replies
        1. re: ocshooter
          perk RE: ocshooter Sep 5, 2011 12:00 PM

          Yea, I was going to mention Costco, too. You mentioned specific kinds of wines....so I'm not sure you'll find everything you need there. But it really does cover a lot of bases at very competitive price points.

          1. re: perk
            ocshooter RE: perk Sep 6, 2011 02:16 PM

            I like value, and I can always find a good bottle in the $15 range there. I wish they had a better selection of Zins, especially Ridge, one of my favorite wineries. If you like what they have, you are probably not going to get a better deal, but you are stuck with only the few that they have.

          2. re: ocshooter
            omotosando RE: ocshooter Sep 5, 2011 02:59 PM

            Is Hi Times Liquor a small shop? I checked online and they seem a little weak in Italian and French wines.

            1. re: omotosando
              ocshooter RE: omotosando Sep 6, 2011 02:12 PM

              I tend to stay with the California wines, but Hi Times should have a fair selection. Much more so than Wine Exchange. Total Wine has a good selection of French wines, including some well out of my price range.

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              Wine Exchange
              1500 E Village Way # 2368, Orange, CA

              Total Wine
              394 N Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

              1. re: omotosando
                Porthos RE: omotosando Sep 10, 2011 04:26 PM

                Just stopped by Hi Time for the first time. Very impressive champagne selection. The Billecart Salmon Rose was on sale and actually $10 cheaper than KL.

                Snagged the last 3 bottles of Egly Ouriet Rose.

                I'd definitely come back here for champagne.

                1. re: Porthos
                  j
                  josephnl RE: Porthos Sep 14, 2011 03:57 PM

                  Hi Time has some extremely knowledgable people working in their wine department. Their recommendations ar usually very dependable. They probably have the best selection in the area, although Total Wine at Jamboree and I-5 is not bad. I snagged some wonderful Chateauneuf-de-Pape there a few months back that was a steal!

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                  Total Wine
                  394 N Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

            2. Porthos RE: Gail Sep 5, 2011 03:04 PM

              I live in OC and I make the drive to Hollywood to KL because I like their selection of Burgundy and Bordeaux and their prices. I usually swing by towards the end of the day and pick up the past month or two's purchases and transfer in bulk. If it's only a case or two, I put it in the front with the AC on. Check out their website. It is dangerously easy to search and purchase. Anything from their northern Cal stores and warehouse can be transferred for pick up at the Hollywood branch for free.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Porthos
                vickib RE: Porthos Sep 5, 2011 07:52 PM

                Porthos, ever been to The Wine Country in Signal Hill? Very strong French department. I'm a Burgundy/Champagne freak, and lucky enough to live about a mile away from it. It's right off the 405, and MUCH closer than H'wood.

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                Wine Country
                2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                1. re: vickib
                  omotosando RE: vickib Sep 6, 2011 04:55 PM

                  The Wine Country has a small, but interesting selection of wines from the Loire Valley. Their shipping rates are not competitive though, so I left my last selection in my online shopping basket. However, I definitely plan to stop there on the way the next time I drive to Orange County from L.A., since apparently the store is only a few minutes off the 405.

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                  Wine Country
                  2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

              2. r
                rainey RE: Gail Sep 5, 2011 03:20 PM

                Not convenient to Laguna but for anyone in the West Valley area of Los Angeles The Duke of Bourbon at Rosco & DeSoto is terrific. They carry or can get some really excellent wines. Their service is very personal. Their recommendations are always spot on.

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                Duke of Bourbon
                20908 Roscoe Blvd, Canoga Park, CA

                West Valley Cafe
                5353 Balboa Blvd Ste 101, Encino, CA 91316

                8 Replies
                1. re: rainey
                  westsidegal RE: rainey Sep 6, 2011 02:30 PM

                  as far as the west valley goes, my friends who live there swear by Woodland Hills Wine Co.

                  1. re: westsidegal
                    omotosando RE: westsidegal Sep 6, 2011 04:45 PM

                    Love Woodland Hills Wine Co. Have gotten a lot of interesting bottles from them (and one or two clunkers). They have fair prices and a good selection of what I'm interested in. And at least if you are in L.A., if you put in an order by the afternoon, the wine will reliably be delivered the very next day without expedited delivery charges.

                    1. re: westsidegal
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                      rainey RE: westsidegal Sep 7, 2011 05:06 PM

                      Yes, it's great too but not so personal and I've had a few recs that really didn't work for us including a very expensive bottle of scotch. OTOH, I've requested hard to get scotches and they come through with them every time.

                      I suppose it's as much about particular palates as the friendliness of the staff but we've become converts to the Duke. ...especially since they rec'd one bottle my husband loved so I went back and bought him 6 bottles. The price from the winery had gone up considerably but they sold it to me at the price they originally rec'd. They didn't have to do that 'cause I should have confirmed the price before placing the order. I won't make that mistake again but I also won't forget that kindness!

                    2. re: rainey
                      c
                      carter RE: rainey Sep 7, 2011 09:59 PM

                      You can keep the Puke of Bourbon. G/U, poor personnel issues, etc.
                      In west valley, woodland Hills and green jug might suffice.
                      east valley, head for Topline in Glendale off the I-5 near Chevy Chase, or Mission Wine & Spirits in Sherman Oaks on Burbank @ Woodman, next to the Robin Hood Pub.
                      As to K&L, always found the staff so snooty, the selection at least strange, meaning way too varied, and the prices not all that competitive.

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                      Mission Wine & Spirits
                      13645 Burbank Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91401

                      1. re: carter
                        omotosando RE: carter Sep 7, 2011 10:49 PM

                        Have to disagree about K&L. If you use Wine Searcher, you will see that K&L's prices are consistently among the lowest in the country on a given wine. For instance, on the 2005 La Gomerie, St-Emilion (a wine I am thinking of buying) K & L has the second lowest price in the country -- $99, versus a vendor in New Jersey who is offering the wine for $96.48. The next lowest price in California is $120 and other vendors in the U.S. are selling it as high as $170. Wine Searcher is your friend! (I may have just talked myself into buying the wine).

                        Always found the staff there very helpful as well.

                        1. re: omotosando
                          Porthos RE: omotosando Sep 8, 2011 06:42 AM

                          Omotosando, your example could be used for pretty much any bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy on their website. I recently purchased the 2004 Pichon Baron for $59.99 at KL. BevMo's had the next lowest price (all with seepage btw) and after that you're talking about $79-$100 per bottle.

                          KL prices are consistently 10-20% lower than Wally's or Wine House. When Wally's advertises 15% off "x" wine it's usually still more expensive than KL's regular list price. Obviously there are exceptions but they are very rare.

                          Even more important is that I've opened bottles of wine 15-20 years old from them and the corks have all been pristine.

                          The only place I've found cheaper is on certain mailing lists. But for retail in the LA area, their prices can't be beat.

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                          Wine House
                          2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                          1. re: Porthos
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                            carter RE: Porthos Sep 9, 2011 10:19 PM

                            Since I don't drink Bordeaux or Burgundy, my need to know about those wines is zero.
                            I really drink more south american, south african, Portuguese, and southern French, and these areas are my frames of reference.
                            Have not purchased a bottle from Wine House in recent times, Wallys ever, and seldom any place west of La Cienega for that matter.
                            but all this conversation really does not matter to the OP in Laguna Beach, but the Wine Exchange and Wine Club and Hi-Time(full price) are three good selections that have good proximity.

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                            Wine Exchange
                            1500 E Village Way # 2368, Orange, CA

                        2. re: carter
                          c
                          cjla RE: carter Sep 8, 2011 03:34 PM

                          I'm a regular at Topline, due to proximity and this board. But for the OP, it's no where near Laguna Beach. I don't think many things in life are worth that drive...

                      2. Senzinina RE: Gail Sep 5, 2011 08:52 PM

                        Everything south of LAX is a mystery and frankly it all happens in LA anyway.

                        The Wine House and the incredible 20/20 on Cotner next to the 405 in West LA are the quinessential wine stops. 20/20 is great, wood shelving, like a giant wine libary from ceiling to floor. Talk to owner Bob. He's got some amazing gems. And, you can find interesting 375's from incredible producers in the back right corner. If you venture to the valley, there's an incredible place called Liquid Party Spirits on Topanga Canyon near the 118 freeway. It's the strangest, out of the way place, but put it this way - the wine retailer in Malibu has been known to buy some of his stuff there and resells it in Malibu. So great, iconoclastic selection and killer prices. Owner is Peter. There's also a fabu place in the valley called the Woodland Hills Wine company. Very knowledable staff. Fantastic French, excellent CA, good selection of Spanish, and great Italians. I can spend a whole Saturday there.

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                        Wine House
                        2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Senzinina
                          omotosando RE: Senzinina Sep 5, 2011 09:02 PM

                          Went to the Wine House this weekend and would never go back. Poorly organized; ignorant staff. One of the worst wine stores I've ever been to. Not the kind of place I want to support.

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                          Wine House
                          2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                          1. re: omotosando
                            Senzinina RE: omotosando Sep 6, 2011 09:31 AM

                            Wow...............

                            1. re: Senzinina
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                              foodiemahoodie RE: Senzinina Sep 9, 2011 01:24 AM

                              Double wow. I've never had a bad experience there.

                              I find everyplace has their strength and weakness. And often don't carry the same thing. A lot of vendors dropped Dom Perignon because Costco sells it for cheaper than they can buy it (or so they tell me).

                          2. re: Senzinina
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                            rjw_lgb_ca RE: Senzinina Sep 7, 2011 04:25 PM

                            My goodness, don't we have an inflated sense of self-worth tied to living north of LAX...!!

                            The reco is welcome (I do like the Wine House, but find the Wine Country staff MUCH friendlier-- must be due to all of us south LA County types being such hicks), but the snotty dismissal of all points south of Westchester (and, presumably, east of La Brea) is NOT.

                            I would see if the same sense of entitlement afflicts all of your posts, but I'm afraid I would click on your user ID and turn to gold....

                            -----
                            Wine House
                            2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                            Wine Country
                            2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                            1. re: rjw_lgb_ca
                              omotosando RE: rjw_lgb_ca Sep 7, 2011 04:40 PM

                              The employees at the Wine House are not only not friendly, they are ignorant. I was searching for a Lirac that I knew they had thanks to Wine Searcher (good luck trying to find anything in that haphazard 99 cent style store). The first indifferent employee ignored me. The second one I managed to find asked me what region a Lirac was from. (After much searching, the wine was finally located)

                              Another employee, in response to my inquiry, said she thought they might have some Vermintino, but had no idea where they might be. (I'm not even convinced she knew what Vermintino is).

                              Another employee was not familiar with the concept of an in bottle filter to filter sediment.

                              The place is downright scary. The only way I would ever set foot in there again would be to pick up a bottle of a rare wine unavailable elsewhere if Wine Searcher showed they had it, although I'm not even sure I could trust that they had stored an old wine well or sourced it carefully.

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                              Wine House
                              2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                              1. re: omotosando
                                f
                                foodiemahoodie RE: omotosando Sep 9, 2011 01:26 AM

                                Are you dealing with the right people there? They have a lot of employees for a variety of functions there - but not all know wine. It's a big place.

                                1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                  omotosando RE: foodiemahoodie Sep 9, 2011 02:45 AM

                                  Maybe I just got lucky - getting three employees in one visit who work in a wine store, but know nothing about wine.

                                  And for a "big" store, they have a pretty small and unimaginative selection of French wines. Very little from the Loire, a whopping 3 white Bordeauxs. They seem to have a sprinkling of French big name "usual suspects", some "cheapies" and very little of interest in between.

                                  The only way I would willingly set foot in that store again is if they were the only vendor in Southern California that had a bottle of something that I wanted. They do happen to have a bottle of a 1990 red Bordeaux that I am coveting and it's currently the only bottle available in Southern California, but based on what I have seen, I don't have a lot of confidence that it has been properly stored and sourced.

                              2. re: rjw_lgb_ca
                                Senzinina RE: rjw_lgb_ca Sep 8, 2011 08:50 PM

                                I know, I know, I can sound like a snark sometimes; my apologies. The truth is - I do'nt know squat about anything south of LAX and have strong opinions about what I know up here. So Cal is so incredibly massive. I was actually born here, and still, discover new places, freeways, I've never knew existed (and I am not a hermit). If you clicked on my user ID, you'd find that my favorite food is mac n' cheese and I have an uncanny talented to being able to recite every In N Out Burger on most major So Cal freeways - so you might turn to cheese instead of gold. Anyway, sorry for my tone. :)

                            2. Senzinina RE: Gail Sep 5, 2011 08:55 PM

                              And, if you want something special, call James Yobski at the Old & Rare Wine Company, 310.829.5390. He's in Santa Monica and you need to make an appointment.

                              1. r
                                Ringo Gato RE: Gail Sep 8, 2011 07:17 AM

                                If you are in the area for a month, consider visiting a quirky wine merchant in Newport Beach, JGrady Select. Jerry Grady opens his tiny warehouse only once per week (Saturdays, 1-5PM usually) for sales and wine tasting. For $5.00 he pours several wines (six this week) and always has one additional wine from his private collection that is not for sale but is just to share. This week's newsletter says he is sharing an 1856 Barbeito Boal Madeira. To be honest, he usually pours something far less exotic than a wine from 1856, maybe 1995...

                                He loves emerging regions and unusual grapes so don't expect too many ordinary bottles in stock. He apparently sells most of his wine by internet only. Wines are moderately priced.

                                His website- www.jgradyselect.com

                                If you don't mind a longer drive, I certainly think Wine County in Signal Hill (Long Beach) is worth the effort as others have suggested.
                                .

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ringo Gato
                                  g
                                  Gail RE: Ringo Gato Sep 8, 2011 09:34 AM

                                  Ringo, that sounds like a fun Sat. afternoon and close too. We will for sure spend some time with Jerry Grady. Thanks so much for the tip!

                                2. s
                                  skjax RE: Gail Sep 8, 2011 01:16 PM

                                  About a 20 minute drive from Laguna Beach you have Hi Times located in Costa Mesa. Wine Exchange is not bad but a bit of a drive from Hi Times. Some of these other places people are mention are almost 2 hours away.

                                  In Laguna Hills, you also have Envoyer. It's not really a wine store, it is located at a off-site wine storage facility. Sign up for a free account at http://www.envoyerfinewines.com/ I get a few emails from him everyday. A lot of good deals from Envoyer. Hope this helps.

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                                  Wine Exchange
                                  1500 E Village Way # 2368, Orange, CA

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: skjax
                                    g
                                    Gail RE: skjax Sep 8, 2011 03:49 PM

                                    Yes, skjax, I'm a native CA person so I've been ignoring some of the posts as they are way too far for us. But, I must say, it's been interesting anyway.
                                    Costa Mesa sounds fine. These wine journeys all sound fun...we may have to stay longer.
                                    Thanks

                                    1. re: skjax
                                      Porthos RE: skjax Sep 9, 2011 12:47 AM

                                      Envoyer was one of the rare mailing lists I was referring to that beats KL in terms or price and they have some pretty interesting and sometimes rare offerings of Burgundy.

                                    2. r
                                      Robert Thornton RE: Gail Sep 8, 2011 04:49 PM

                                      Hi Time is great, close to Laguna, and is strong in French (Champagne, Burgundy, Loire, Rhone, maybe not Bordeaux as much though) and Italian. Big store, nice that most of the wine is in a huge temperature controlled rooms below the store. Also one of the most serious liquor stores in SoCal, all kinds of hard to find stuff.

                                      Wine Exchange is 10-15 minutes further up the 55, but is great too, slightly stronger in French (except Champagne where Hi Time really rules), much stronger in Bordeaux (one of the biggest Bordeaux retailers in the country). More Tuscans than Hi Times if that's your thing Italian-wise. I think Wine Club Santa Ana has gone downhill over the past 5-10 years, would definitely choose Wine Exchange or Hi Time over it; two of the best wine stores in SoCal. Wine Country in Long Beach is good too.

                                      But if you're in Laguna, Hi Time is the clear choice and Wine Exchange is worth the drive if interested.
                                      Again, two of the strongest wine stores in the area or even the country for that matter.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Robert Thornton
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                                        Gail RE: Robert Thornton Sep 8, 2011 07:25 PM

                                        >>> Hi Time is the clear choice and Wine Exchange is worth the drive if interested.
                                        Again, two of the strongest wine stores in the area or even the country for that matter.<<<

                                        Wow, a *very* high recommendation! Looking forward to both.
                                        Thanks for posting. Husband taking notes. He has ordered from the Wine Exchange but hasn't been to the store to caress the bottles.

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                                        Wine Exchange
                                        1500 E Village Way # 2368, Orange, CA

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