Sure, you can walk into any Trader Joe’s and get a decent bottle of wine. But nothing compares to the depth of selection and knowledge of the staff at a local wine shop, where you can tell an employee, “Hm, I don’t know, I like steak?” and they’ll present you with the perfect bottle of beaujolais, like they’re some mystical wine matchmaker. So we put together this list of a dozen Los Angeles wine shops - and a couple restaurants that act like wine shops - where you can get a bottle of red, a bottle of white, perhaps a bottle of rosé, or, you know, a bottle of orange (sorry, Billy Joel).
A Glendale Blvd. institution for nearly 20 years, Silverlake Wine has been selling natural wines long before every restaurant in town had a gewürztraminer on their bottle list. And they’re still ahead of the curve - chances are, whatever new bottles you see at Silverlake Wine will show up at your favorite restaurant in the near future. Whether you call with a question or just stop in, their staff is extremely helpful, and they’re doing curbside pick-up and free local delivery. All the same goes for their Highland Park and Pasadena locations, as well.
Owner Jill Bernheimer opened up Domaine in 2009, specializing in Italian and French natural wines. She’s basically an encyclopedia of natural wines, having tasted each of the thousands of bottles in her store, so whether you’re talking to her, or another of the wine super-fans who work at Domaine, you can be sure you’ll walk out with something exciting at a reasonable price. Order online or call (323) 932-0280 for pick-up.
Lou Wine Shop
Lou Wine in Los Feliz specializes in “unusual wines,” and a quick look at their website makes that abundantly clear - you’ll find options like medieval grape varieties, traditional Basque whites, and German wines aged in clay pots. The wine is sorted rather simply - i.e. Crisp Whites, Big Reds, Orange & Weird - but owner Lou Amdur is just as likely to answer your question about a bottle with a reference to Kant as he is to actually tell you about your wine. And somehow, it’s still one of the least-stuffy wine shops in town - a large proportion of bottles hover in the $15-$30 range. Available for curbside pick-up via their website, or by calling (323) 305-7004.
If a massive selection is what you’re after, Wally’s is your answer. The walls are lined with floor-to-ceiling bottles, like you’re in the bougiest Costco of all time, and the entire place is chilled to cellar temperature. They’ve got locations in both Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, each with thousands of bottles of the highest-rated wines in the world, and a section of 95+-scoring wines for under $100. Order online or delivery, or call (310) 475-3540 (Beverly Hills) or (424) 293-5500 (Santa Monica) for pick-up
Vinovore is a Virgil Village wine shop that exclusively features bottles from women winemakers. There are varietals from across the world, and every bottle comes with a card that’ll tell you about the wine you’re drinking - whether it’s a note about Chenoa Ashton-Lewis’ Ashanta Wines, or a chillable red wine that’s “showy and explosive, like your crazy BF from college.” Most bottles are under $75. Order online for curbside pick-up, local delivery, or FedEx shipping, or stop by their pick-up window.
Culver City’s Stanley’s Wet Goods might just be the all-around MVP of LA wine-shopping. They stock every varietal you could possibly want, from gamays and cabernets to chenin blancs and pet-nats, as well as some excellent value finds from lesser-known wine regions like Baja, Uruguay, and Eastern Europe. Open for contact-free shopping in-store, or call (424) 341-2870 or visit their website for pick-up and local delivery.
Helen's Wines - Fairfax
As a part of the ubiquitous Jon & Vinny’s group of restaurants, there’s a good chance you know about Helen’s. And though it’s one of the more expensive options in town, you’ll still find some great wines at their Fairfax shop (or their other spot in Brentwood). Their website is great, too - alongside standard categories like biodynamic or traditional wines, you can sort by pairings, from spicy foods and pizza to the best bottles for brunch or taking a bath. Order online for pick-up, delivery, and shipping.
Though Fellow Traveler is new, owner and sommelier Rick Arline has been around the scene for a long time - most recently, running on the excellent wine program at the now-closed Auburn. At his new restaurant (with an impressive retail wine list), he’s showcasing a lot of fun, lesser-known bottles, like non-bubbly wines from Champagne, Lebanese wines from the Beqaa Valley, and a whole bunch of bottles from Black winemakers. The food here is also excellent - order whatever looks good, especially if “what looks good” is the cheeseburger, featuring smoked paprika aioli. Order pick-up or delivery online.
We’ll stop you right there - whatever you need, Esters has it. They’ve got an ingenious ordering system online, where you pick your category - Chardonnay & Friends, Chillable Reds, Fruit Comes First - and then you can choose to upgrade to different tiers, like “To Celebrate!” (+$20) or “To Impress The In-Laws” (+$35). They’ve also got three-bottle bundles, and you can even text them at (310) 598-5650 with any questions you have about wines, and they’ll answer it (and recommend a bottle of two). Order online or call (310) 899-6900 for pick-up or delivery.
Good Luck Wine Shop
Not many wine shops in town have an in-house brand, but that’s just one of the ways Good Luck Wine Shop in Pasadena separates itself from other spots. Their Vin de California winery is in the back of the shop, and they sell the bottles out front. They’ve also got a bunch of other bottles of natural and small-production wines from all over the world - all handpicked by the couple that run both the shop and the winery. Order online for pick-up or free local delivery. In-store shopping also available.
If what you’re really after here is a bargain, then look no further than Tabula Rasa. This East Hollywood wine bar has a ton of tremendous table wines in the $12-$22 range, but if you’re looking for something for a special occasion, they’ve also got an impressive selection of vintage wines, too. During business hours, they’ve got a chat function on their site to answer any wine-related questions you might have. Order online for pick-up - in-store shopping also available.
Eve Bottle Shop
Eve is an Echo Park bottle shop with a tremendously diverse bottle list, from the super-funky to the very traditional. There are some high-end grand cru options from France (and many other French bottles), along with plenty of Californian, Chilean, Italian, and Northern and Eastern European options. They’ve also got an extensive list of sub-$20 bottles. In-store shopping available, or order online for pick-up and delivery.