While the occasional shot of alcohol or pint of beer might satisfy your wilder side, there is nothing quite like a glass of fine wine. From red to white, Orange County has plenty of wine stores to meet your winery cravings, offering a fairly wide variety. Since wine is a such a personal and social experience, finding a wine store with the correct staff that can complement your food with the correct blend is beyond valuable.
OC Wine Mart
2272 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
The best kind of wine store is one that will allow you to taste before you buy, which is what makes OC Wine Mart such a catch. This shop will walk you through its dozens of wines along with its choice of various snacks, including bread and cheese, giving you a chance to sample what you will eventually bring home. A sense of intelligence and class is in the air during this session and custom baskets can be arranged to give as a gift or kept for your own pleasure. If you forgot anything during your trip, you can always order more on the website after you get home and realize your mistake.
Hi-Time Wine Cellars
250 Ogle St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
The winner of many “Best Of” awards in the past few years, Hi-Time Wine Cellars is the gold standard for the industry in Orange County. The customer service is unparalleled and the expertise in just about every region of the creation of wine is the key to its success. The place is owned and operated by one family and its more than 50 years of experience in a single location makes for one historic wine store. Be sure to join the wine club.
Total Wine & More
2952 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92782
Total Wine in Tustin is going to give you the best bang for your buck, something worthwhile when you’re trying to dine finely in this economy. The selection here is ginormous and it sells a wide variety of craft beers as well, allowing you to create your own custom six-pack. It claims to have the most options and offers more than 2,000 bottles under $10, so anyone can find something to bring home. Swing by Total Wine before any gathering to make sure all of your taste buds’ bases are covered.
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WineWorks for Everyone
26342 Oso Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
WineWorks is built for romance and does so with the modern design and its excellent wine and food choices. Whether you want to stay inside and have a meal or just want to buy something to take home and match with your perfect dish, it matches light, medium and full wines with its complementary food pairing. The couple that runs the place infuses its personal flair into the well-stocked retail wine space, making for a charming place to buy wine instead of the overly common musty cellar motif. Located right off the freeway, WineWorks is easy to get to and get lost in while perusing the wide selection.
Bacchus’ Secret Cellar
6735 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92603
The name is quite mysterious but Bacchus’ Secret Cellar lives up to the anticipation with an excellent wine tasting and the occasional live music. The god of wine would smile upon this establishment as its on-site food is fitting for its awesome catalog of vino, offering some killer burgers for those with a penchant for meat. The wine club also offers two bottles a month for the low price of about $50. A special argon gas system gives its wine the ability to be preserved for a longer time than most wines, and its nearly 50 on-tap selections provide wine fans with plenty to choose from.
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Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at Examiner.com.