When we think about armchair travel, wine is a key component. After all, what better way to explore a country than its vinous offerings? These stores all specialize in a specific region or country, so you can dive deep and explore locally.
Acme Fine Wines
St. Helena, CA
This woman-owned and -operated shop seeks out inaugural releases and emerging Napa Valley winemakers (yes, those still exist). Wines are showcased in a gallerylike space with comfortable seating that invites shoppers to linger and learn.
As its name suggests, this shop and importer is driven by a passion for South Africa’s Western Cape and the wines produced there. You’ll see bottles under $20, as well as rare finds, and on nearly every page, information about the appellations, grapes, history and producers. Wines from Australia and New Zealand are also available.
Of countries from which wine is imported, Italy leads the U.S. market.
With outposts in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, this seller focuses not only on Italian wine, but Italian life. Education and regional wine and food pairings from all over the boot help shoppers not only find a great bottle, but also bring a piece of that culture home.
Founded by Pedro J. Rodríguez, who grew up in Puerto Rico, and Julio R. Robledo, from Chile, this is a “Latino wine company,” as the tagline states, in more ways than one. The pair met while doing nonprofit work and decided to open a store that would celebrate their heritage. It highlights wines and spirits from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as food to accompany and give a sense of place.
New York City
While not limited to France, this store does focus on rare and exclusive wines from the country. There’s Bordeaux and Champagne aplenty, but you’ll also find top-tier bottles from Alsace, the Rhône Valley and Provence. Look for large formats, library selections and, of course, excellent advice.