I mean, look. If all you want is a decent bottle of [fill in the grape], it's not hard to get. Just go into a liquor store and buy one that costs more than $12. Easy. But if you really want to learn about wine, to look at it the way the real wine geeks do, you need to go to a store run by one of them. And there are quite a few, it turns out.
The cutting edge "tasting machines" turn off some customers, but it's generally agreed that this wine store is one of the best to be found anywhere, particularly in terms of service and overall selection.
If there is a better liquor store in the world, I want to go there sober. With an immense wine and spirit selection, and supremely knowledgeable staff, Astor makes it easy to learn and easier to get bombed.
Owned by Mario Batali's restaurant group, this very big store is the final word in Italian wine, as its name suggests.
A mecca for fans of small-production wines, this midtown store is an oenophile's dream; bring your iPad, though, because there is a lot to look up.
Jean Luc Le Du, the former sommelier at Daniel, oversees this downtown wine store, which carries an amazingly well-curated selection of wines -- especially French ones.
The go-to spot for all serious students of Spanish wine.
A beloved neighborhood wine store small enough to really help you. You can learn more about wine here in a few hours than you would in a week at Sherry Lehman.
Set on in a remote East Village area where tourists rarely go, this low-key shop has chairs to hang out in and a funky, eclectic selection of good, affordable bottles.
The rise in global wine production can be baffling even to true "cork dorks," which is one reason this expertly run shop is so helpful.