I enjoy shopping, pouring and talking about wine. White wines, red wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines...you name it and I'll be happy to sit, sip and discuss.
In fact, wine shopping is something of a passion of mine, where I become this meticulous nut who reads all labels, mutters ideas and pairings to myself, walking up and down the aisles countless times and after spending WAY too much time in the section, select one wine. And that's just for a gift. I won't get into the torture of finding something for myself.
So as you can probably tell, I not only have a passion, but should likely seek professional help. Recommending therapists aside, this story in the "Los Angeles Times" tell the tale of two sommeliers who've left the restaurant biz behind and moved into purely retail sales.
Both guys give an interesting insight into the differences between selling wine in a restaurant setting versus a retail store.
For me, the major difference is price point. I know that I will likely spend a lot more money buying wine in a restaurant than if I went to a store and got a bottle to take home.
When I was wine director at Blue Fin Asian Grill in Phoenix, we had our price scale set at two glasses sold to customers would cover what we paid for the bottle wholesale. Anything beyond that was pure profit. Anyone who paid close attention would know it made more sense to buy the bottle, if there were two or more customers at a table drinking the wine.
Each restaurant has their own system, but the point is that those who want to enjoy great wine for the cheapest rate, go to the retailer. Especially ones like these guys in Southern California who definitely know their Viogniers from their Gewurztraminers.
Both have knowledgeable staff and a great selection. I'd also like to hear other suggestions for places for folks looking for a great bottle of wine.