Nielsen recently reported that wine sales are up nearly 70%, a jump which begs the question: What’s your plan when you need to re-stock? In normal times, you might walk up and down the aisle of your neighborhood wine shop, see what’s on the shelf, and ask the team what they’re currently drinking. But unfortunately that’s not a luxury we have right now. Thankfully some of our favorite shops in the city are still delivering (or shipping) wine. All of them are run by just a handful of people, which means the selection is well-curated and that quality is consistent across the board. It’s the kind of assurance we need right now.
Drink history at Chambers Street Wines
If anyone can say, “We liked it before it was cool,” it’s David Lillie and Jamie Wolff, who opened their Tribeca store in 2001 and have championed small, artisanal producers from the very beginning. Their selection leans Old World, though New World producers like Clos Saron and Matthiasson are well represented. Hone in on the Italian section for old, dusty bottles of Barolo, Barbaresco, and Chianti dating back to the 1950s at unusually fair prices. Try the 1967 Fontanafredda Barolo ($99) or the 1982 Gaja Barbaresco ($275). Ask for decanting advice. 148 Chambers St. A, Manhattan; 212-227-1434; www.chambersstwines.com.
Buy everything at Dandelion Wine
You’ll never risk next month’s rent at Lily Peachin’s Greenpoint boutique, which rarely stocks crown jewels from Burgundy or blue chip cabernets from Napa. Rather, the diverse selection averages a friendly $30 and favors small producers, many of them organic and biodynamic. Try the 2019 Old Westminster Winery, Skin Contact Piquette ($20) or the 2018 Frank Cornelissen, Susucaru Terre Siciliane Rosso ($32). 153 Franklin St., Brooklyn; 347-689-4563; www.dandelionwinenyc.com.
Explore new frontiers at Discovery Wines
This East Village wine shop has built a global reputation for carrying some of the world’s best and hardest-to-find natural wine producers. It’s a store you can walk into and recognize nothing on the shelf. Gabrio Bini, Les Dolomies, Domaine de la Tournelle, Ruth Lewandowski – if you know, you know. And if you don’t, then the team will gladly show you the way. 16 Avenue B, Manhattan; 212-674-7833; www.discoverywines.com.
Go for quality, not quantity, at Parcelle Wine
If you suffer from choice paralysis and only want the good stuff, here’s your answer. Rivaling the square footage of a studio apartment in Manhattan, this Hudson Yards boutique from the team behind Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and next-door’s Legacy Records has a bottle for every budget, from a 1988 Armand Rousseau, Chambertin Clos de Beze ($3800) to a 2017 Keller, Grüner Silvaner Trocken ($20). There are no bad choices because there’s barely enough shelf space for all of the great ones. 511 W. 38th St., Manhattan; 212-258-0722; www.parcellewine.com.
Trust Dustin Wilson at Verve Wine
The 2013 documentary Somm followed four wine professionals studying for their Master Sommelier certification. Wilson, the former wine director at the Three-MICHELIN-Starred Eleven Madison Park and now Master Sommelier, has successfully pivoted to retail with shops in Manhattan and San Francisco. If there’s anyone who has his fingers (and nose) on the pulse of what’s up-and-coming and what’s hot, it’s Wilson. The website’s list of “Dustin’s Recs” makes choosing easy: Try the 2017 Arnot-Roberts, Chardonnay ‘Sanford & Benedict’ ($68) or the 2018 Terrassen, Blaufränkisch Rose ($20). 24 Hubert St., Manhattan; 212-810-2899; www.vervewine.com.