Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Wine Stores - NYC Wine Notes

Below is a very small selection of New York City wine shops with addresses along with my own observations. I’ve been to all the shops listed below and will only post reviews of stores from my own personal experience. This list is not meant to be all inclusive and I recognize that are probably scores of other excellent wine shops in the city that I just haven’t been to yet. I will continue to add to this list as experience warrants. Also note that not all stores mentioned in the Wine Notes, Musing, etc. sections of this website are reviewed below. If I don't have a feel for a store, I'd rather wait until I've visted a couple times before writing about it.

Wine Stores

67 Wine
179 Columbus Ave. (67th St.)
New York, NY 10023
212-724-6767 or 888-671-6767
This store on the Upper West Side has a nice selection of wines in all price ranges. Look for the most affordable deals on the ground floor while most of the higher end French, Italian, and California wines are located on the 2nd Floor. They also have a very comprehensive selection of German wines and a staff than can help explain them.

Astor Wines & Spirits
399 Lafayette St. (4th St.)
New York, NY 10003
One of the biggest wine stores in the city just got bigger by moving into its new space on Lafayette St. The store offers selections from all around the world, has very competitive prices, and tastings once or twice a week where all featured wines are 10% off. Very helpful staff.

Cellar 72
1355 2nd Ave. (72nd St.)
New York, NY 10021
A new store on the Upper East Side specializing in rare and hard to find wines, especially back vintage Bordeaux. Prices seem fair for they type of wines they carry but don’t expect to find any Yellow Tail or Two Buck Chuck types. They just don’t do that. Very knowledgeable staff.

Chelsea Wine Vault at Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave. (16th St.)
New York, NY 10011
Being in Chelsea Market, this store if perfectly located if you’re already there picking up ingredients for that night’s dinner. The store has a solid selection of old and new world wines, including many small production selections. They also have a great “Top 10 Wines of the Month” program where these selections are all 10% off and there are three opportunities to taste them each month. Prices are average. They also offer off-site storage for collections.

Crush Wine & Spirits
153 East 57th St. (Lexington Ave.)
New York, NY 10022
212-980-9463 or 877-980-9463
Wine shop opened by restaurateur Drew Nieporent and partners Josh Guberman and Robert Schagrin. The store specializes in small production and artisanal wines which can make for a fun shopping. The also have a nice selection of fine wines which they kept in “The Cube.” They always have at least two bottles open for sampling and host broader tastings at least once a week where at times they even pour some more expensive $50+ wines. Prices always seem to be fair although some “Cube” wines can be slightly more expensive than elsewhere. Extremely knowledgeable staff who are always fun to talk to.

D. Sokolin Co.
12 Foster Ave.
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
D. Sokolin on Long Island specializes in back vintage French, Italian, and California wines and often have hard to find wines and vintages. In addition to their own inventory, they are also a brokerage firm, selling other collections. Prices are not cheap and they typically do not deal in bargain wines. This store seems more for the connoisseur with a cellar. They have a knowledgably phone staff and deliver to the city.

Garnet Wine and Liquors
929 Lexington Ave (68th St.)
New York, NY 10021
Typically offer some of the best prices in New York and they carry wines from most regions, including a solid array of red and white Burgundies. Certainly a place to consider if buying a case of wine that you like that they carry. Staff could be more helpful.

GCP Discount Liquors & Wines
1020 Center Street
Horseheads, New York 14845
GCP is a discount wine store located in Horseheads and near the Finger Lake wine region. It’s has the most comprehensive stock of Finger Lake wines at the lowest prices possible. It might not be worth a drive to save a few dollars off a wine you might be able to purchase at Vintage in the city but it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

225 East 5th Street (Bowery)
New York, NY 10003
This small and charming shop in the East Village specializes in small production and over looked old and new world wines. In their own words they deal in “honest wines--no brand names or wines rated by the magazine gurus.” They purposely seek wines prices at very reasonable levels and are big proponents on food and wine pairings. Their Saturday afternoon tastings from 4P-7P offer an opportunity to try before you buy.

Morrell Wine
One Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020
212 688-9370 or 800-969-4637
Morrell’s offers wines in all styles and price ranges but are probably best know for their adjoining Wine Bar and Restaurant where they have a large selection of wines by the glass. You can also take one of the many classes they offer from Wine 101 to regional focuses.

Northside Wine and Spirits
Ithaca Shopping Plaza (Elmira Road)
Ithaca N.Y. 14850
Another comprehensive store for Finger Lake wines. It’s also located in Ithaca, NY which is ideally situated for visiting the area’s wineries. The store also stocks wines from all over and has one of the best Bordeaux collections in all of upstate. Prices are very competitive and Finger Lake wines would be the cheapest here if it werren’t for GCP’s amazing deals in the neighboring town of Horseheads.

PJ Wine
4898 Broadway (bet. 204th and 207th Sts)
New York, NY 10034
Huge wine shop all the way at the end of the A train. Excellent prices and worth a visit to browse the store. They tend not to tend to carry back-vintages so look for mostly recent releases. Quick delivery to the city. Look for their Grand Tasting each fall which benefits City Harvest.

Red, White & Bubbly
211 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Located in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this shop has fair prices with a healthy stock of wines in the $10 to $15 range and a wide and well thought out selection from around the world. There are some bargains to be had but overall, it’s a fair priced wine shop and really, what more can you ask for in the city. The shop does stand out on two fronts. First is that they have a decent selection of New York State wines which, surprisingly, not may other wine shops do. They have also started bottling their own branded label called Brooklyn Wine Company with grapes sourced from “around the world.” No one expects grapes to be grown in Brooklyn but with a name like that, I’d figured they would at last be local but there are future plans to procure some from the North Fork of Long Island. Staff is friendly enough but I didn’t find them overly helpful during my first two visits.

Sherry Lehmann
679 Madison Avenue (Between 61st & 62nd St.)
New York, NY 10021
An excellent selection of French wines, especially Bordeaux and Champagne although they carry wines from all regions. They carry a good variety of Italian and German. New world wines are less represented but what they do carry is typically solid, including very good price per quality South African and New Zealand wines. Wines always seemed to be priced fair and they have excellent customer service.

Union Square Wine & Spirits
33 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
This store has one of the best free weekend tasting programs in the city as they pour as many as 15 wines on most Saturday afternoons beginning at 2pm, providing an excellent opportunity to buy after tasting. They also discount the wines each tasting. Typical prices are average to slightly above average for some of the premium wines. However they have a great selection and a sizable number of half-bottles to choose from.

Vintage New York
482 Broome Street (Wooster) or 2492 Broadway (93rd St.)
New York, NY 10013 New York, NY 10025
212-226-9463 212-721-9999
The only wine store in the city (and possibly the state) to deal solely in New York State wines. In addition, each of their two locations has a wine bar where you can sample from just about everything in stock along with hors d’oeuvres and cheeses produced in the region. They also offer classes and free tastings with the winemakers which they call “Meet Your Winemaker.” Prices are hard to judge as most stores don’t carry these wines but they get tons of credit for filling a definite market need in my opinion.

16 East Parkway
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Although I’ve never been to the store itself, Zachy has a huge selection of wines in any and all price ranges and from all over the globe. Their website is easy to use and they have next day delivery into the city. There are many bargains to be had, especially in the $20 and below range. I have found some of their more expensive $40+ wines for less elsewhere, but not so much that I’d shop elsewhere. Overall, this is a great store. I just wish I had a car so I could visit.

Online Sources:

Useful tool for searching specific wines by name and vintage and who currently has them in stock. You can also search for wines by region, type, price, food and wine parings, and ratings.

Similar to winezap.com but also provides links to partner wines stores, offers features wines of the day, and ratings provided by Stephen Tanzar of The International Wine Cellar. It also has a wine portfolio feature and access to various newsletters.

Auction website based in Napa. It offers auctions on a weekly basis for literally thousands of wines. Benefit of this site is that all wines are inspected by Wine Bid and condition is clearly labeled along with pictures. They also offer futures.

The “e-bay” of wines where individuals can put their wines up for sale. Auctions revolve around the clock in an e-bay like fashion.


Anonymous said...

...what did you guys do? open a phone book and copy all listings under wine stores, NY? These are not creative stores but overpriced, dollor greedy pits with little regard to go out on a limb and find great wines for under $10.00.. you will not find that in any of these CEO driven companys pretending they are 'neighborhood' wine stores.

Schliecker said...

To Anonymous from NYC Wine Notes - These are just the stores that we've bought from before. Feel free to offer up other suggestions. We're always in the market for $10 bargins with a good QPR and are open to anything. Especially with the price of wines going up.

Anonymous said...

In Bordeaux corks cost $1. Bottles cost 70 cents. Capsules cost 30 cents. Freight and duty are another dollar. That makes $3 FOB the pier in the Port of NY for an empty bottle. The vineyard takes huge risks, the wholesalers and retailers have costs, and everyone should get some return for their capital and effort.
A great wine under $10? Better get used to Ripple.