Most wine fans have heard of Wine.com — the largest online wine retailer (by total revenue). But not everyone knows that thy have a local retail outlet in Berkeley. I stopped by a few weeks ago, and was happily surprised to find not only a friendly and knowledgeable staff, but also an interesting and well-laid out selection of wines. [Photo album here].
The best thing about the store is that it provides extensive tasting notes for each wine on display, including the ratings received from Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Robert Parker, and Steven Tanzer. As a consumer, this makes you feel in control of your purchase decision (i.e., you now can pick wines based on actual information, instead of relying on the prettiest label).
The prices were reasonable, and in fact, a lot of higher-end wines were extensively marked down. And you can check the prices before going to the store by simply logging onto Wine.com. [HINT – Wine.com actually allows you to sort their wines by the %-saved compared to suggested retail price]. And if you trust wine ratings, Wine.com’s store has a section dedicated to 90+ point wines for under $20.
So if you live in the Bay Area, and have been shying away from ordering online fearing the cost or problems that may arise from shipping, stop by the Berkeley store. You’ll be glad you did.
Wine.com Berkeley Retail Store
2220 4th Street, Berkeley, CA
Below are a few of the under-$20 bottles I picked up.