No matter how much you know about wine, the best way to avoid purchasing a bad bottle is to taste it first. Fortunately, many shops, bars, and restaurants around the city offer chances to try it before committing to a purchase. Don’t feel obligated to buy the bottle if you don’t care for it (or even if you do), and make sure to ask a few questions while you’re there. You’ll get a and drink and an education. And half of the time it will be totally free.Read More
Where To Try Wine in NYC
The best shops, restaurants, and bars that pour tastes
Sherry-Lehmann has a wide selection of bottles and several options for wine tasting. For casual tasters, the store pours samples on weeknights from 5 to 7 p.m. For more serious wine lovers, Sherry-Lehmann also hosts classes on a variety of niche subjects. Each class costs $150 for an hour and a half of tasting and instruction.
Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit
The tastings at Bottlerocket bring a little something extra. Sometimes it’s a surprise celebrity guest (they recently hosted a tasting and bottle signing with Tituss Burgess); sometimes it’s a fun pairing (wine and candy? Yes, thank you). The events calendar is available online, and it includes lots of spirits tastings, too.
Corkbuzz is a wine-centric restaurant owned and run by master sommelier Laura Maniec. The store offers classes, but if you’re already pretty confident in your knowledge, try your hand at the blind-tasting challenge at the Chelsea Market location. The staff will pour you three glasses (choose from red or white) and provide you with a tasting grid. The floor is staffed with sommeliers who can help you out and provide some fun facts about the wines being poured. During happy hour, the whole experience will run you only $15.
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Astor Wines & Spirits
Astor is an expansive wine and spirits super store with a knowledgeable staff. New Yorkers will appreciate the novelty of being able to pass by fellow shoppers in the aisles without accidentally smashing a few bottles of riesling. It offers They offer free tastings in store at the in-store bar that are, usually hosted by brand representatives from the brand, but occasionally winemakers will swing by occasionally, too. Additionally, the store often playsthey’ll often host to more elaborate tastings at the Astor Center upstairs (although those typically cost between $30 and -$100). Pro tip: If you want to taste a spirit, just ask. There’s a good chance they have it open in the back.
Le Du's Wines
Le Du’s offers in-store tastings, as well as a Coravin tasting series for fanatics that uses the technology to open up some rare and expensive bottles for tasting. Each session features tastings of eight wines, some of which are very high end. A recent event let patrons try a $475 bottle of Bordeaux. The tastings list is easy to find online, and you can call to reserve a spot in a series.
Union Square Wines & Spirits
The website for this shop leaves something to be desired, but rest assured that on Saturdays there are bottles open to taste at Union Square Wines and Spirits. This modern store also boasts Enomatic wine machines, which enable the staff to offer small tasting portions of more expensive bottles without the risk of the wine spoiling before it’s all been consumed.
Verve Wine is brought to you by master sommelier (and icy-blue-eyed star of the movie Somm) Dustin Wilson. This sweet little West Village wine store offers “take the tour tastings” every Thursday that focus on a different region each month, and they’re open to the public. Expect to try a few wines and pick up some interesting anecdotes from the former sommelier of Eleven Madison Park.
Chambers Street Wines
Chambers Street Wines boasts a nice selection of tastings almost every night. The events are right on the homepage, and they always mention when a winemaker of other special guest is in town. Tastings are from 5 to 7 p.m., so making them could be a challenge for the long-hours crowd.
At Brooklyn Winery, $25 will get you a winery tour and a tasting. The operation is small, but it’s pretty novel to get to take the L train to a functioning winery. The winery makes small batches, and the bottles aren’t widely distributed, so it’s difficult to taste these wines elsewhere. They also offer 10 percent off if you Instagram the tour, which feels a little thirsty, but maybe that’s appropriate. Tours and tastings are 30 minutes each.
Brooklyn Wine Exchange
The Brooklyn Wine Exchange in Cobble Hill has a learning center built right into the shop. It offers classes most Wednesdays, and sometimes on the weekend (you can view the full schedule online). Weekday classes start at 7 p.m. and are about an hour long. On average, you’ll get to taste through about six wines, and a winemaker, brand representative, or general booze nerd will provide some insight about what you’re drinking. Topics range across the globe, from wines of Spain to California cabs. Classes are completely free, but after a few tastes the chances you’ll buy something inevitably increase.
The Greene Grape Wine & Spirits
For a very gourmet, curated tasting experience, head to the Greene Grape in Fort Greene. Tastings range from wine to bitters to salsa, so it’s easy to educate yourself on a variety of topics. You can even buy an ostrich egg at the grocery store next door if that’s your thing.