I just heard a radio ad for a big box liquor store that included the line, “Can’t you just get your wine from the grocery store?” Their opinion being that they offer a better shopping experience than a grocery store. However, our answer to this question would be “it depends.” We are big advocates of shopping local and supporting the local Santa Cruz Mountains wineries. We also feel that it is important to shop from a merchant who has tasted the wines they are selling and can recommend wines based on customer’s likes and dislikes.
When winemaker Neil was first learning about wine many years ago, he had a wine merchant in the North Bay, Bliss, who became his trusted advisor for wine purchases. She introduced him to Jordan Cabernet, Hanzell Chardonnay, and several reputable Bordeaux wines. She taught him about different varietals, the importance of terroir, and the different AVAs in California.
It’s important to have someone like Bliss who can guide you to an appropriate wine for your palate and for your wine drinking occasion. Locally, we recommend Summit Store in Los Gatos as a wine “grocery store” and Vino Cruz in Santa Cruz as a wine bar/wine merchant. Both places have staff that can help you make a nice wine selection, regardless of whether you are looking for a wine for dinner with friends, a special celebration, or just a quiet evening at home.