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Where and How Do You Buy Wine


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I'm just wondering how people who are interested in buying wine get their wines.

 

I read threads on the wine boards of parties people have with really cool things that if I saw in a wine store I would totally buy. I am pretty sure I'm rolling through most of the better wine stores in town on a regular basis. My assumption for older things is that people get them through winebid and places like that - or am I mistaken about that? But what about current or recent releases. For example I saw in one post a guy was pouring magnums of COS Cerasuolo and one of the Belleviere Chenin's. I would love to buy those if I saw them.

 

Or is that I'm not spending enough money so I just don't see stuff like that? I mean I think I spend a not unreasonable amount - but maybe what my spend in really is pretty small time (let's say it averages out to probably 500/month)

 

Or is there some magic wine store I'm totally missing that's stocked with a library of old rieslings and large formats? What do you guys do? Or is the answer lugging back cases from 'Yurp?

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I usually cycle through Gary's Wines in Wayne NJ every two weeks or so. They're always pouring interesting stuff.

 

Wine Library (Springfield NJ) has a huge variety of wines, and they're usually pouring in the afternoons. In particular, Jim Gorman (their Beaujolais and Burgundy guy) always has some interesting recs. Second label stuff, staff selections, etc.

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I buy almost all my wine on the internet, from local places when I can and places farther afield when I can't.

 

Often, I'll read about something and try to find who carries it. (Once, the last findable bottles in North America of a wine I was interested in -- from the last vintage it was ever made -- turned out to be in the shop up the street from my apartment.)

 

Less often, I'll respond to an email ad or notice of new acquisitions.

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You mean you don't know about the private wine shop run out of a basement in Bushwick that sells mags of Graillot and Allemand Sans Soufre?

 

In my experience, a lot of the stuff like that (mags of COS) never hits the shelves. If you spend enough, you get the call.

 

For older vintages, Chambers is great. I haven't hit Winebid in yrs but had mixed luck. It helps to have a contact at some of the auction houses around town who can vouch for specific lots. You can find some interesting stuff from time to time. Wines that wouldn't normally make the book but perhaps they'll make an exception for a big consignor who bought some Chenin Blanc on a lark a decade ago and who now wants to package it in with a bunch of Burgundy.

 

I'm sure there are some good grey market sources these days, though the ones I once used have pretty much dried up.

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It's pretty random these days.

 

WineBid is usually not very useful, prices (after you add in their outrageous fees) are usually on par with retail and if there are special bottles they're priced quite high, but occasionally someone needs cash and you get good stuff. I bought a bottle there for $280 in 2008, that was later shown to me by a local dealer for $450, and then again a few months ago for $799. Or, more modestly, I had a nice Rioja Alta at Aldea recently ($120 on the menu) that was going for $60+ retail, and $30 on WineBid.

 

tcwc.com is only good for the obscure, otherwise hammer prices are just too high.

 

Sokolin will ping you with prices they see on wines you told them you like. When they're good they go within minutes.

 

In a couple of years that wtso.com and cinderellawine.com have been around I got a few bottles there - San Roman 2005 was going for a 30% discount, and I forget the others. Their discounts can be very deep but the odds that what they're selling is what you're buying are slim. wine.Woot seems to usually sell sparkling raspberry wine.

 

Manhattan Wine Company is also worth developing a relationship with. Again - expect a slow stream of random stuff, but once a year something nice.

 

Vinfolio seems interesting in theory but I haven't spent time looking into it.

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You folks are a lot more serious than I am. I have a local wine shop that I like very much. They carry plenty of high-end, high-dollar wines but the owner really goes out of his way to find interesting wines at value prices. I'd say more than half of the store is devoted to wines under $25 a bottle, many of those in my magic $12-$15 spot. We have wine with dinner every night and I have a glass or two while I'm cooking, so I'm in the shop every Saturday replenishing our stock. We go through about a case of wine a week, meaning that there aren't a lot of premiere cru labels in there. On the other hand the guys at the shop know my tastes so they usually have something old school and rustic set aside for me, they'll buy oddball, closeout and orphan wines from their distributors if they think I might like them, and they always have several wines open to taste. That's why I don't really shop around. When I walk in on Saturday afternoon it's like Norm coming into Cheers. That's hard to beat.

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You folks are a lot more serious than I am. I have a local wine shop that I like very much. They carry plenty of high-end, high-dollar wines but the owner really goes out of his way to find interesting wines at value prices. I'd say more than half of the store is devoted to wines under $25 a bottle, many of those in my magic $12-$15 spot. We have wine with dinner every night and I have a glass or two while I'm cooking, so I'm in the shop every Saturday replenishing our stock. We go through about a case of wine a week, meaning that there aren't a lot of premiere cru labels in there. On the other hand the guys at the shop know my tastes so they usually have something old school and rustic set aside for me, they'll buy oddball, closeout and orphan wines from their distributors if they think I might like them, and they always have several wines open to taste. That's why I don't really shop around. When I walk in on Saturday afternoon it's like Norm coming into Cheers. That's hard to beat.

Chaaaaaad!

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  • 4 weeks later...

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