We are wine lovers. We are easily impressed by great wine. All a wine store has to do to get our impression is build a special room for their great wine, preferably temperature controlled and glassed in, then fill it with First Growths and Grand Crus, and we get all weak-kneed. Don’t be so easily impressed. Wine does not make the wine store. The person at the store makes the wine store. A great wine store is built, not around the special room, but around the person who picks the wines for it. More important, though, is the person who picks the wine for you. Great wine retailers are interested in you. They will get to know you, what you like and what you want to spend. They won’t woo you with points. Instead, they will let you taste some wine (where it is legal), they will ask you what you enjoyed in the past, and when they pick a bottle for you they will really mean it when they say “tell me what you think of it.” You will really know you’ve found a great wine store when you walk in and the retailer pulls a bottle from under the counter and says, “I’ve been holding this for you. It only got 89 points, but you will love it. And it’s only $15.99.” So don’t judge a wine store by its wine. Judge a wine store by the man or woman behind the counter.

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About The Author

David Honig

David Honig, the Publisher, looked at what was happening in the world of wine journalism and realized there were a lot of great writers out there at the same time paying publications, from newspapers to websites, were dropping like flies. So he created Palate Press to find the best writers and create a new forum for them to sell their best work. He is a self-educated oenophile, and defers to the tremendous experience and wisdom of the amazing staff at PALATE PRESS: The Online Wine Magazine.

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5 Responses

  1. Richard Best

    Seems to me that this is exactly how you’d judge a wine store. When I worked at a local wine store, I was awesome, but the wines were not. Should I have advised people to visit my store if I knew the wines were mediocre at best, while knowing that I had no control over product quality?

  2. Dhonig

    Ah, but Richard. If you were a great wine guy while working there, you would have told the customers the wine was poor. Indeed, if you were truly great, you would have told people where to find another store, one with good wines and a great wine guy.

  3. Ian Griffith

    I’m not sure the selection and staff can be separated in evaluating a great wine store. A great store manager/owner will recognize talent in his staff and consult with them in making buying decisions, or give them buying responsibilities for sections of the store. Not only is this a wise strategy for keeping talented wine folk interested in a retail business it can boost sales as they spread their enthusiasm for selections they helped pick.