Whether you're toasting a special occasion or a quiet night in, there's often no time to study the myriad of wine labels at the grocery store or leave it to the stock guy to suggest the right bottle. Instead, try a wine store for a change, where you'll find not only a great selection of labels but also stellar customer service and plenty of tasting options. Picking something up for a supper club or birthday party? Looking for a blend you tried at your favorite wine bar last week? Head to one of these wine stores to score a killer bottle. Cheers!
Wine stores in L.A.
Don’t have a private cellar? Domaine LA has you covered. The center of the store is designed for lounging—spill-proof chairs literally stand in the middle of the room—because you'll want to brood over the facts and facets of each bottle of vino. There's a focus on small-production wines that emphasize what happens on the vineyard more than in the barrels. Italian, French, California, Oregon and Washington dominate the selections, with a "Wall of Affordable Deliciousness" of top picks under $15.The Sunday tastings (2pm-5pm) feature lite bites ($10-$20) from restaurants like Sotto and Night + Market paired with lesser-known, small-production wines.
Now with two locations—one in Silver Lake and one in Downtown's Arts District—Silver Lake Wine is the quintessential neighborhood wine hub. You might call it "the people's wine store," as the staff here take pride in defining themselves by their customers. Every visitor gets the same treatment from an enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff who maintain their role to merely navigate the customer. You'll always discover something new as the selection—smartly chosen and constantly changing—is mostly small-production domestic and French with a smattering of natural European wines. In-store tastings are featured Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays; the popular weekend tasting requires reservations in advance.
Opened by Lou Amdur in 2014, Lou Wine Shop is a friendly neighborhood store focusing on natural and unique wines. You'll often find Amdur roaming the sleek, modern space, offering advice to unsure customers or encouraging people to partake in one of the shop's weekly themed tastings (held Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). Love what you find? Inquisitive palates can join Lou's wine club, which gets you two bottles along with food-pairing ideas and recipes.
Serious oenophiles and big time collectors count on this West LA staple to stock their cellars and wine fridges with the best of the best. Those looking for coveted Bordeaux can land first-rate bottles at reasonable prices. Customer service is the core of Wally’s, so while some come in knowing what they want, many drop in seeking a staff recommendation—the perfect wine to impress the in-laws or what to pop open after a romantic hike through the Hills. And with a fabulous lineup of craft beers and Wally’s Cheese Box next door, you’re one stop closer to that beachside house party. Tastings are held on Saturdays at 2-4pm.
Snuggled directly beside Cassia on Santa Monica’s 7th Street, this wine-centric retailer and watering hole boasts a sleek, modern interior and an airy patio space. Some 250 wines are for sale by the bottle, and about 20 by the glass in the bar, with France, Italy, Spain and the U.S. all represented through the thoughtful selection of wine director Kathryn Weil Coker. It's an ideal spot for wine aficionados looking to splurge, schmooze and be seen while they sip; or for newbies who want to try before they buy. Stop by for Esters' weekly Sunday wine tastings when you can sample varietals at your own pace.
K&L Wine Merchants is an L.A. staple with a long-standing reputation in the industry for its spot-on expertise. The second storefront—the flagship store is in Redwood, CA—is seriously stocked, serving Hollywood's wine collectors and winos alike. While vast, the store's layout is approachable—wines are organized by country and region and the friendly staff is always ready to help pick a bottle based on price point and style. Tastings take place on Thursdays (5:30-7pm) and Saturdays (3-5:30pm), but be sure to keep an eye out for the annual on-site Champagne tent sale in October, when customers can try 75+ Champagnes and partake in private winemaker dinners.
"'All things to all people' is the motto here," says general manager JB Severin. Whether you’re looking to spend $8 or $800, Wine House has options. Start off in its Enomatic Room to sample before you buy, then head out and peruse every wine-producing region of the world throughout the store. There are also two private rooms housing old and hard-to-find wines (gift alert!) and a selection of craft bottled and canned beers, all chilled.Experience a complete wine and food sit down at Upstairs 2, the store's upper-level restaurant serving small plates paired with 45+ wines available for tasting. Bonus: Wine House also offers an array of classes and the prestigious WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) certification courses.
The counter-culture destination for wines from small and obscure producers, this DTLA shop is known for an impressive, rotating stock of new and exciting craft beers from malts to beers aged in bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels. The result: the store stocks its shelves with wines that are "real" (think terroir-focused funk and the like). The wino-punk attitude attracts a young, diverse clientele, eager to try something new; check out their Thursday Flight Night tastings ($10-$15) to expand your palate.
Nestled inside Santa Monica Place's The Market, Venokado is a wino’s gift shop dreamscape (its name is a mix of vino, meaning wine, and cadeau, meaning gift). Featuring an outdoor rooftop patio, visitors can stop by to try a daily flight of three wines for around $15, each pour consisting of half a glass. The wines are owner-tested and range from Italian, French, Spanish, German and Californian reds and whites. The curious and adventurous can choose a Croatian, Slovenian or Morroccan.