Wine Tripping in San Francisco

Wine Tripping in San Francisco

Wine Tripping in San Francisco

Wine Tripping in San Francisco

Friday, thankfully a day of rain, I went wine tripping in San Francisco with a couple of my Vintage Wine Tasters buddies. We managed to shop at five different wine shops and squeeze in lunch in the Presidio. We picked up Vintage Wine Taster Jim at his house in the outer Richmond District and headed down Geary Street. First stop was actually not a wine shop, but a grocery store where often one can find good wines at stunningly low prices.

Grocery Outlet

6333 Geary Boulevard (between 27th and 28th Avenues)

This is my old stomping ground. I used to shop at this supermarket with my parents when I was growing up nearby on Anza Street. I think is was an independent store back in the day and later became Cala Foods and then others. The Grocery Outlet opened about a year ago. This store is the cleanest and best looking Grocery Outlet I have ever been in. The wine section is extensive and we found several bargains. I found a Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from Rock Wall Winery selling for half price. I also found the Hill Wine Company Chardonnay for $9. This is wine from a company that just went belly up in the Napa Valley, and the original price was $18.  A favorite white wine of mine is the Luna Pinot Grigio that I thought was a steal for $9.90 at the Safeway.  At the Grocery Outlet, it’s a jaw dropping $3.99. Vintage Wine Taster Jim purchased the Myka Cellars 2013 Mitzi Chardonnay for $8.99. Later we spotted the same wine for $9.99 at Wine Club and $10.99 at K&L.

Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits

5620 Geary Boulevard (between 20th and 21st Avenues)

This was a first-time visit for me, but Blackwell’s has been open for ten years at this location. It is a relatively small wine shop, with a varied inventory of wines, and stocked well with beer and spirits. The wine shop has a nice but small selection of wines from throughout the world, with a mix of prices ranging from bargain to very expensive. Among our purchases, these looked like some value and bargain wines: Domaine Julie Bernau Piquel de Pinat (France) $12,  Giave Soave (Italy) $10, and the Hubert Meyer Pinot Gris (Alsace) $15.  My impression here was that they had sought out some interesting wines that are not found at the bigger wine retailers like K&L Wines.

The Wine Club

953 Harrison Street
It has been a while since I have been to The Wine Club store is San Francisco. Parking is tight but once inside the place has more a comfortable atmosphere. I like the vibes here much more than at The Wine Club’s competitor, K&L Wines down on 4th street. Like each of these big wine shops, you find wine prices to be very competitive. I think each has a wine that they price at rock bottom to get folks in. I did find some cool bargains. I picked up a J. Rickards Brown Barn Red for $12 that I had previously tasted at the winery, where it sells for $18. They also have plenty of the 2011 Black Slate Red from Priorat that remains one of my all-time favorite wine bargains. I thought the wine had been sold out. Vintage Wine Taster Mike liked this wine as well.

K&L Wines

638 4th Street
I usually shop at the K&L Wines store in Redwood City. This SF store was very busy and their parking lot full. Perhaps the nearby high tech folks are finding this wine shop to their liking. I did not buy any wine here, as I had been to the Redwood City store a couple of weeks before and purchased plenty. I recommend two favorites at the K&L store:  The Andrew Murray Tour les Jours that I raved about a week ago and  the Vina Zaco Tempranillo for $9.99. Vintage Taster Mike liked the 2013 Charles and Charles Columbia Chardonnay for $10 and the 2010 Chalone Pinot Noir for $15.

The Wine House

828 26th Street, Dogpatch
The Wine House just moved to this larger and more friendly location in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. This is a great move, because the Dogpatch is hot with new businesses and residential developments in the works. The Wine House has had a long tenure in the City and the focus is mainly on French wines, particularly Bordeaux wines. They do, however, have small displays of wines from California and other parts of the world. Last October I was in Burgundy, so I was delighted to find so many White Burgundy and Burgundy wines. Unfortunately, the prices of these high-end wines are out of my price range,  but it is fun to browse. I did buy a 2011 Bourgogne Burgundy made by Pernot Belicard for $15.95. The clerk there told me I would be quite happy with this crisp and minerally white Burgundy.  If French wine is your fancy, The Wine House is great spot for finding French wines.

We had a successful and fun outing, and we will report back on any wine we taste from our treasure hunt that is a terrific wine value and bargain. We plan to do this again very soon.  Wine Tripping in Berkeley looks like fun. Kermit Lynch, Odd Lots, and the Spanish Table, here we come!

Wine Tripping in San Francisco Map


  1. What a great way to spend a day with friends. Each person gets to view the selection of wines a retailer has and choose the section or type of wine they are most interested in. Years ago a Saturday morning was a visit to a few wine shops and getting in on the newest arrivals. As you become known to the people at the stores they fill you in on what they have coming and often give you access to limited or allocated wines. The Presidio is a great spot for casual dining especially in the spring and summer. I am all for places which encourage people to enjoy wine and their food. Very enjoyable afternoon and a chance to get some hard to find wines.

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