Choosing A Wine Store

What To Look For Before Shopping

Wine stores can be extremely daunting places for those who are not trained in the art of choosing wine. Wine shops may be intimating at first glance, with their vast selection and unfamiliar labels, but you needn’t be worried.

Here are some tips and tricks of what to look for in a wine store, as well as how to leverage your wine shop so you get the most out of every shopping trip.

Easy to read signs

Wine stores can be very large buildings with thousands of different wines. For a person not familiar with wine stores, having easy to read signs is a must. These signs will notify you about what types of wines are located within the general vicinity and also if there are any sales going on. These signs should be clearly noticeable from the front door, so you know exactly which direction you need to head. This will help you keep from getting overwhelmed in those first few minutes you walk in the door.

Helpful and Knowledgeable Staff

Consider the wine shop owner, manager, or worker your personal shopper with a wealth of information about wine. Most every wine shop worker I’ve run into will just about do cartwheels trying to get you to listen to their knowledge of wine.  All you have to do is ask, and sit back and be dazzled!

Staffing a wine store is an important aspect of the business, and every shop owner knows that. A good wine store will have a helpful and caring staff of people who are knowledgeable about the products they sell. It is also extremely important to get to know the staff at a wine store as they are generally the ones with the insider knowledge about new wines hitting the market, as well as the deals going on in the store. The staff should be able to translate what you’re saying into the wine you are seeking, and then point you in the direction you need to go and step in to offer more help when needed.


Having a large number of bottles on the floor doesn’t always equate to a good selection. Some wine distributors focus on the labels, which move the biggest volume, or are sold to them at the lowest price. These wine stores are focused more on their bottom line than on the overall happiness of their customers. Do your research before you walk into a wine store and print out a list of wines you would like to look for. Take this list with you and see how many of them are stocked at the store.

You would be better off picking a wine store that has a few hundred wines, personally tasted by the knowledgeable staff, than a massive amount that were just drop shipped into the warehouse. The store should give you a sense of comfort with a wide variety of styles and prices. A good wine store should have a well-balanced mix of price ranges for their wines.


Wine should always be kept below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Wines stored above this temperature begin to age quickly and can oxidize, turning them into undrinkable bottles of wine. Are you a bit chilly inside the store? That’s good. That means the the wine is most likely stored properly.

Events and email lists

One of the more fun aspects of finding a decent wine store is to look for a place that schedules events, such as tasting and seminars. These are meant to educate the customers and are generally a lot of fun to attend. You will find out more about wines at these events than you will ever learn from other research.

An email list is another way to figure out if a wine store is a good bet. Stores with email lists keep up with their customers, which also keeps them in tune with their stock as they’re emailing you on a regular basis about new product and specials.
By following these simple tips you will be on your way to picking out a great wine store in no time. After that, the fun begins – picking out a great wine!

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