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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Water to Wine (Gig Harbor, WA) – Another nice shop with a decent selection of Washington wines.
- 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:
- Avalon Wine (Corvallis, OR) – In the ultra-premium Washington wines category, they probably have the best selection and/or access to the best selection.
- 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