Wine Secrets Revealed

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“Where do you shop for wine?”  Easily the most-asked question I get–sometimes several times per day.  “Where do you find these wines I have never seen before in my life?!?”  The beauty part is: most of them right here under your nose.  At local shops.  Owned by real people–not national corporations.  When I turn the question around, it becomes apparent most wine-consumer’s eyes are narrowly focused–guided and glazed over–by the selection allowed (and carefully controlled) on one aisle of a huge supermarket.  No one can figure out where all these *weird* wines I post on Soif come from.  THEY’RE NOT WEIRD!  They are just local, interesting, often small-production wines, Napa and Sonoma items not heavily distributed, or beautiful, carefully-selected European imports.

One of the biggest excuses I get for not buying wine at a wine-shop is an assumption they are expensive.  Like shopping at a wine-shop will somehow bust your budget.  WRONG.  Just like supermarkets, wineshops have wide ranges of price-points and always an educated–and un-snobby–way of fitting you with a wine your palate–and pocketbook–will like.  Granted, these shops are not going to have 5-6-7-dollar wines, but if you are used to drinking wines at that level, you probably shouldn’t be following Soif or Soifeats.  So look around the corner, down the street, get out of the supermarket and expand your horizons.  Here is a list of shops here on the Central Coast where I regularly buy wine.  I’m sharing my secret sources with you!  How many of these have you visited in your wine-quest?

This list is by no means in any order of preference.  It is literally typed out as quickly as I thought of them.  Perhaps I should alphabetize it for fairness.  Maybe I’ll add links to them at some point for out-of-towners and there might be some additions I have forgotten.  The one thing they all have in common: You are not going to see a lot of overlap with brands you are used to seeing in the supermarket.  You are GOING to see fresh labels, I promise!  So go shopping!

And this list is not just for locals.  All savvy wine-consumers have shops they visit when touring wine-country.  I may go to wineries wine-tasting in Napa or Sonoma, but there are retail shops I ALWAYS visit when up that way and you should be the same way when visiting Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Ynez or Santa Barbara wine country.  Just like in Napa or Calistoga or Healdsburg or Santa Rosa, some of these shops have fabulous local winery selections at great prices–sometimes literally across the street.

Tastes of the Valleys Pismo Beach

Taste in the Alley Paso Robles
De Palo & Son’s Shell Beach

Stax Wine Bar Morro Bay
Comfort Market Arroyo Grande
Trilogy Market Nipomo

Willow Nipomo
Woodstone Marketplace Avila Beach

Foremost Wine Co.  SLO

Avila Wine Co. Avila Beach

The Station SLO
Dino’s Deli Santa Maria
Grape Encounters Atascadero

15°C  Templeton
Grande Foods Arroyo Grande
El Rancho Marketplace Santa Ynez
Madelline’s Cambria

Old Town Market Orcutt

Los Olivos Cafe

Liquor Emporium  Lompoc

Winehound  Santa Barbara

Renegade Wines  Santa Barbara

Les Marchands Santa Barbara

Talevi’s Wines Santa Barbara

Lincoln Fine Wines  Venice Beach

Winehouse LA West LA

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