Knowing how to pick a great wine is a skill honed over many years and many bottles. While some amateur sommeliers have an inherently refined palate, for others, it takes a little coaching, and there's no place like your local wine shop to get you acclimated to a wide variety of wines. So where should Manhattanites in the know go to pick out a bottle?
Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits: If you're looking for a bottle that's bound to impress, look no further than Sherry-Lehmann. This Park Avenue institution has an astounding array of wine, from Australian Malbec to Slovenian Pinot Grigio. Even those who don't frequent the area can enjoy Sherry-Lehmann's superior selection — the store also offers a wine club and sends gorgeous gifts through the mail.
Astor Wines & Spirits: Many of the city's wine shops keep a relatively low profile, but Astor isn't one of them. This Union Square behemoth offers wall-to-wall wine as far as the eye can see, from every continent. While Astor's selection alone would be impressive, its commitment to education is staggering — each week, Astor hosts classes to educate its patrons on the fine art of fine wine.
Wine Therapy: Wine Therapy? Sign us up! This Nolita wine shop has the hipster ambiance of your favorite bar combined with the knowledgeable staff customers have come to expect from Manhattan's finer wine shops. Even if you're not a wine expert, you'll never feel out of place here: Wine Therapy makes it easy to select the bottle based on any criteria, even price, with signs that read "we may look posh, but we are not" for their inexpensive selections and entire tables dedicated to the pink perfection that is rosé.
Alphabet City Wine Co.: This unassuming wine shop on Alphabet City's Avenue C is among Manhattan's best, thanks to its wide selection of wines and homey atmosphere. Not only will the staff at this booze boutique help you choose the perfect wine to pair with any dish you can think of (or sip solo), you can try out their latest selections in the store's comfortable seating area while listening to an eclectic playlist on the shop's turntable.