Most Welcoming Wine Shop

Vintage Berkeley

The wine world can be notoriously difficult to navigate for those who are a) young-ish, b) not rich, and/or c) not sommeliers. Which is why it's great to find a wine shop that caters graciously to anyone who walks through its doors. With locations in Elmwood and North Berkeley, Vintage Berkeley is about as welcoming and down-to-earth as a wine shop can get. Both shops giddily display champagne bottles in repurposed bathtubs at the front of the stores; walls are lined with simple but elegantly stacked boxes of wine; labels explain, in no-fuss terms and with a heavy smattering of exclamation points, what foods pair best with a vintage Argentine Malbec or the latest Grenache Noir from Berkeley-based Donkey & Goat; and, most importantly, the employees are friendly, knowledgeable, and unpretentious. You're likely to hear Joy Divison, the Dirty Projectors, or the Alabama Shakes playing over the speakers, and you'll probably be offered samples of wine. With its heavy emphasis on affordably priced bottles, all carefully selected by co-owner Peter Eastlake, Vintage Berkeley is the go-to wine shop for those who like to drink well, but may need a little help to do so.

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