With the world famous California Wine Country less than a two-hour drive away, it’s not surprising to discover many independently owned wine stores in San Francisco. Although chain stores sell a good portion of the city’s wines, the added benefit to visiting a specialty store is the generally higher degree of knowledge of viticulture and greater quality of wines to satisfy most anyone’s palate. In addition to a larger selection of labels and prices, a local wine merchant may also offer the services of a sommelier for wine and food pairing methodology and enography. The following are five of the best wine stores in San Francisco.
1415 Green St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Located right off busy Van Ness Avenue in the Russian Hill neighborhood, Biondivino specializes in fine Italian wines and is well known for its knowledgeable staff and superior service. The boutique store has an impressive collection from more than 50 types of grapes in 20 different Italian regions, in addition to a large collection of French champagnes and other European wines. Among the popular labels found at Biondivino are a Buri Friulano from Milani Winery in the Friuli Venezia-Giulia region, a Paolo Bea Montefalco Sagrantino from Umbria and Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino from Toscana. In addition to purchases at the store, Biondivino Wine Boutique also accepts orders by phone and email.
638 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
In business for more than 35 years, K&L Wine Merchants is one of the top-rated independent wine stores in San Francisco with an outstanding staff of wine experts. Just a few blocks from the San Francisco Caltrain Station, the store carries a huge selection of wine and spirits from all over the world, with prices from as little as $4.99 for a pink Moscato to $7,000 for an Armand de Brignac Brut Champagne or a 2004 Lafite Rothchild Paulliac. K&L also conducts ongoing online auctions with selections that have been carefully inspected for authenticity. Wine club memberships are also available, in addition to an exclusive personal sommelier service. K&L also has another store in Redwood City, El Camino Road, about one mile south of Woodside Road.
1541 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Little Vine not only sells 300 labels of wine primarily from the California Wine Country, it also sells local artisan foods, including more than 75 selections of cheese. The highly praised, family-run business also sells pasture-raised poultry and eggs, organic beef, some of the country’s best salami and a daily sandwich, with a meat and cheese option. Little Vine has an excellent North Beach location, just minutes from Coit Tower and the always popular Chinatown neighborhood. On Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Little Vine hosts free wine tastings from two or three selected labels.
2425A California St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Vino! San Francisco is consistently praised for great service and good valued wines from all over the world. Founded in Oakland nearly 20 years ago, the San Francisco location is in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood, within walking distance of many of the best jazz clubs along the city’s historic Fillmore Street.
Vino! San Francisco has a weekly Wine for the Week sale consisting of seven quality wine selections like a Li Veli primonero and Kings Ridge pinot gris for just $69.99. Regularly advertised specials can be found directly on its Facebook page.
953 Harrison St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
Despite its name, the Wine Club is not a large national chain and no membership is required. Instead there are just three California stores and an enormous selection of wines and spirits available for purchase online. The Wine Club is one of the largest wine and spirits merchants on the West Coast and in 2001, sold $16 million in Bordeaux wines, reportedly the most sold from a wine shop in the world. The San Francisco store is located on Harrison Street, in the South of Market district, a few blocks from the San Francisco Caltrain Station, AT&T Park and Civic Center BART Station on Market Street. The Wine Club has a regular wine tasting schedule at its San Francisco location, as well as its South Bay location in Santa Clara.
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