Photo courtesy Stranger Wines
We often turn to our favorite bars and restaurants to help us discover new wines. Being able to shop bottles chosen by the people behind those businesses offers the best of both worlds: hand-picked selection from voices we trust, plus the convenience of enjoying something new from the comfort of our couches.
Matt Stamp, MS, and Ryan Stetins own the wine bar of the same name where they host events like Sunday blind tastings. The shop offers plenty of local bottlings, of course, but it also has a wide variety of Old World bottles for under $50. Large-format and fortified wines round out the thoughtful selection.
Ivy Mix, Wine Enthusiast’s 2016 Wine Star Award winner for Mixologist of the Year, and the co-owner and head bartender of Leyenda, found herself in a common situation in 2020: She was looking for a way to continue connecting people with great drinks when in-house drinking at the bar wasn’t an option. Enter Fiasco, which emphasizes bottles produced by women, Black and Indigenous people, POC and members the LGBTQ community.
When LA restaurateurs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo opened Jon & Vinny’s in 2015, Helen Johannesen also turned on the lights at Helen’s. A partner in and the beverage director for Shook and Dotolo’s Joint Ventures hospitality group focuses on natural wines, with a rotating selection of allocated bottles.
James Beard Award-winning Chef Linton Hopkins and his wife, Gina Hopkins, are the force behind the Atlanta restaurants Holeman & Finch Public House and The Buttery ATL, as well as Holeman & Finch Asheville in North Carolina. Gina, the restaurant group’s sommelier, makes sure the shop offers bottles that are not just interesting, but also affordable, including a hard-to-beat “Six for $60” deal that lets shoppers select their own mixed cases from a set of bins.
In 1998, when Andrew Tarlow opened Diner in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, he unwittingly set a new course for the area. In 2020, after several other successful ventures in the neighborhood, he launched Stranger Wines, billed as a “neighborhood wine shop celebrating farmers and friends.” Indeed, farming takes center stage, with bottles sorted by markers such as “sustainable” and “biodynamic.” The shop is also undeniably friendly, with plenty of under-$20 bottles and servings of bread from Tarlow’s She Wolf Bakery to accompany in-shop tastings.