Best Wine Shops for Washington Wine

By John ~ September 12th, 2008.

It has been disappointing to me that so many wine shops in the State of Washington carry such a poor selection of Washington wines, especially given the very good quality of Washington wines. However, in our ongoing search for good sources of the wines that we like, we have found several vendors that you might want to consider for your purchases.

First, the bricks and mortar stores:

  1. Pete’s Wine Shop – Eastside (Bellevue, WA) – They have the best combination of selection and price of any Seattle area store. Pete’s also has a Seattle proper location on the east side of Lake Union, but it occupies just a portion of a neighborhood convenience store/deli and the aisles are so narrow and crowded that it’s a difficult place to shop.
  2. Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, WA) – They may have even a bigger selection of Washington wines, but generally their prices are not as good as Pete’s.
  3. McCarthy & Schiering (Seattle, WA) – They carry some good Washington wines, but neither their selection nor their prices are as good as Pete’s or Esquin.
  4. Pike & Western Wine Shop (Seattle, WA) – Much like McCarthy & Schiering, they carry some good Washington wines, but neither their selection nor their prices are as good as Pete’s or Esquin.
  5. Compass Wines (Anacortes, WA) – They often have the harder-to-find ultra-premium cult wines, but don’t expect many bargains here. Compass Wines also has an online store.
  6. Water to Wine (Gig Harbor, WA) – Another nice shop with a decent selection of Washington wines.
  7. Big box stores like Fred Meyer, Costco, and Sam’s Club – If they have the wine you are looking for, they’ll probably have it at a better price than any of the others, but it’s usually hit or miss on their inventory.

Now for the online vendors, where I do not believe that there is a clear number one as with the bricks and mortar stores:

  1. Avalon Wine (Corvallis, OR) – In the ultra-premium Washington wines category, they probably have the best selection and/or access to the best selection.
  2. MadWine (Seattle, WA) – They have an excellent selection of the mainstream Washington wines. If they have the wine, it will be at a very competitive price, but they won’t have the wines in the ultra-premium category that Avalon will have.

Keep in mind that it won’t make sense to just buy one or two bottles online because shipping costs will be too high. As a general rule, I believe you need to be thinking in terms of at least six bottles, preferably a case, to justify buying online.

There are certainly a number of good vendors I haven’t mentioned, but these are my favorites. Also, keep in mind that my vendor selections are somewhat biased because of their proximity to where I live in Seattle. If you know of any other great sources of Washington wines with good selection and value pricing, please let us know.

Filed under: General Wine Information, Washington State Wine

Reader's Comments

  1. Andrew | September 12th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    I’d also throw out that some of the local grocery stores are great options for WA Wines. In particular, I’ve been impressed by Ballard Market, which has a lot on hand and their Wine Steward Gail Pethe is really helpful if you want to order something else. Also, Metropolitan Market on upper and lower Queen Anne have solid Northwest selections.

  2. John | September 12th, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the grocery store suggestions. I’ve been to Ballard Market, but not to Metropolitan Market. I’ll have to check it out

  3. Lia Johnson | November 14th, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Hi Peeps! Wondering if you have gotten a chance to check out the new food and wine shop on Greenwood Ave N called Picnic. Cute shop that has wine tastings every Thursday and so far, Phinney Ridge is loving it. I would love to hear what you think!

  4. John | November 14th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for the comment on the new wine shop, Picnic, in Seattle. I’ll have to check it out.

  5. Dr. Debs | January 29th, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks for these great resources! I’m about to place orders with both Avalon and Mad Wine for my Washington Wine Adventure this year and knowing that you recommended both really helped me to make my decisions. Thanks!

  6. John | January 30th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Glad to see that you are embarking on your Washington Wine Adventure. I’m anxious to see how these wines strike your fancy. Be sure to let me know if you get less than exceptional service from Avalon and Madwine. My experience with them has been very good.

  7. Jason | March 2nd, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for this list! Great help.

  8. John | March 4th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Glad the list was helpful to you. Be sure to let me know if you get anything other than exceptional service from these vendors.