Best Wine Shop - 2009
Chelsea Wine Vault
"Fabulous," says the cashier as he takes your selection. "Wonderful," he breathes as he accepts your credit card. "Lovely," he crows as he hands back a receipt. And yet somehow, it doesn't annoy the hell out of us. Chelsea Wine Vault really is the happiest place on earth, a cheerful and airy oasis amid the industrial-chic Chelsea Markets. Sommelier/manager David Hunter revolves a thorough and fairly priced worldwide selection, from Washington to New Zealand, and the staffers are inexhaustibly knowledgeable. Drop by on weekends to partake in the generous free tastings, or bring a notebook full of the inane wine questions you've always wanted answers to (we've seen this happen on three separate occasions). Personally, we recommend the Vouvray, and lots of it.