If you’re new to wines, or if you’re buying for a wine enthusiast when you don’t drink it yourself, then it can seem quite intimidating to try to choose a decent bottle. Don’t worry, though it can be done, you just need to head to the right places. Here’s the five best places to look.

Your local, independent wine seller

If you have one nearby, you’re in luck, because this is the #1 place to head to. These types of shop tend to have a good selection in all price ranges and staff members are usually enthusiastic and shouldn’t be patronising or dismissive. They live for wine, so stop and chat.

A big chain wine seller

You might think you’ll get the same range as the local independent here, but for a better price. However, you’re only half right. The prices are lower, but the selection is smaller – these shops make their profits by buying in wine in bulk, which limits the range somewhat. Having said that, the staff are usually just as helpful as the local indies and you can get a decent bottle of something for $10.00. What’s not to like? Apart from the lack of small-production labels…

Whole Foods

Not cheap, but if you’re planning to spend a reasonable amount, you’ll find some interesting, small-production bottles here, usually for more than $20.00. Helpful staff, too, which makes all the difference.


Yup – Costco! You’ll find the best prices here if you’re looking at decent-but-popular wines. It’s pretty good for those, but don’t expect any fancy or eccentric styles there. One downside is that staff aren’t very knowledgeable. Oh, and you’ll have to become a member to enter the shop at all.


Buying wine online has a number of advantages – you have an almost unlimited range to choose from, you can compare prices easily and you can browse to your heart’s content without leaving your chair. The only problem is that you won’t have the same level of personal help. It’s also more expensive to buy online as bottles are heavy! It’s a good option, though and you may, if you’re learning about wines, turn more and more to the internet.


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