Some wine shops go crazy with the signage, as with this European vineyard vehicle parked in front of the Seaport’s Pasanella & Son. But will it make our top 10?
What does Fork in the Road look for in a wine store? A broad selection of wines, from France, Italy, Spain, and California; smaller selections from such further-flung locales as Oregon, South Africa, Chile, Austria, and Australia; quirky, surprising choices from places like Hungary, Morocco, Canada, and even Mexico; and vintages from the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, and Long Island, making it possible to savor our own terroir; a vigorous $10 and under section, loaded with wines that you might expect to pay twice as much for elsewhere; knowledgeable salespeople who don’t try to upsell you, and have as much enthusiasm for cheaper wines as for more expensive ones; easy availability of wine reference materials to examine on the premises; and, finally, a computer system that allows counterpeople to recall the bottles you’ve glugged in the past.
Some stores specialize in the wines of a single country, including Tinto Fino in the East Village.
These same principals apply to wine stores that specialize in one or two countries, or even a few regions within those countries. Above all, we desire reasonable prices–and wine store owners should realize that it’s easy today to check Internet prices and make comparisons.
We haunt the wines stores daily, looking for good deals and interesting bottles, but we’re sure there are places that we’ve missed. Accordingly, we’ll compile a list of your suggestions, and feature it on the last page of this post. So, pour yourself a glass of chardonnay, slouch in your computer chair, and enjoy our list.
Runners-up To Our 10 Best Wine Shops
67 Wines, 179 Columbus Avenue, 212-724-6767; Tinto Fino, 85 First Avenue, 212-254-0850*; Enoteca DiPalo, 200 Grand Street, 212- 226-1033-**; Sparrow Wine & Liquor, 126 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ, 201-659-1500; Greene Grape, 765 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-797-9463; Le Du, 600 Washington Street, 212-924-6999; Appellation Wine & Spirits, 156 Tenth Avenue, 212-741-9474; Casa Oliveira, 98 Seventh Avenue South, 212-929-0760-***
*-Spanish wines exclusively
**-Italian wines exclusively
***-Good collection of Portuguese wines
Next, Numbers 6 through 10
Required for a great wine store is a choice selection of lower-priced wines.
Our 10 Best Wine Shops, 6 through 10
10. De-Vino Wines, 30 Clinton Street, 212-228-0073-*
9. Lowery Liquor and Wine Company, 40-14 Queens Blvd, Queens, 718-784-2334-**
8. Central Avenue Wines, 210 Central Avenue, Jersey City, NJ, 201-792-1500
7. Burgundy Wine Company, 143 West 26th Street, 212-691-9092-***
6. Pasanella and Son, 115 South Street, 212-233-8383
*-Italian wines exclusively
**-Especially good for Eastern European and Caucasus wines
***-French and Oregonian wines only
Next, the top 5
And the winner is…
Our 10 Best Wine Shops, Top 5
5. Crossroads Wine & Liquor, 55 West 14th Street, 212-924-3060
4. Olivino Wines, 905 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-857-7952
3. Mt. Carmel Wine, 609 East 187th Street, Bronx, 718-367-7833-*
2. Garnet Wines and Liquors, 929 Lexington Avenue, 212-772-3211
1. Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette Street, 212-674-7500
*-Amazing Italian wines including vertical Brunello collections, some selections from other countries.
Next: your suggestions
Readers’ Wine Shop Suggestions
Trader Joe’s Wines, 138 East 14th Street, 212-529-6326-*
Thirst Wine Merchants, 187 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-596-7643
Wine Therapy, 171 Elizabeth Street, 212-625-2999
Chambers Street Wines, 148 Chambers Street, 212-227-1434-**
September Wines & Spirits, 100 Stanton Street, 212-388-0770
Uva Wines, 199 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-963-3939
Dandelion Wine, 153 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, 347-689-4563
**-Especially good for French wines
In Umbria, wines are cellared in crumbly tufa caves; here we simply use refrigerators.