>I'm going out to Pasadena for a wedding, and will only have 1 day to
>myself, probably Friday. I'd like to visit at least 1 good wine shop
>while I'm there, one that is easily accessible to me, as I won't have a
>car, only public transportation. I might be able to convince someone
>to drive me to a wine shop if its within 20 minutes or so of my
>friend's house, but that's all.
I am a Pasadena resident. You are in luck, because there are some good
wine shops (although perhaps not the best in the LA area) right here.
In no particular order:
1. The Chronicle Wine Cellar
No frills wine shop famous for bargains. You won't find Turley here,
but the staff is very knowledgeable and the bargains are great. Last
week, they had Phelps Insignia for under $60. More emphasis on cheap
French producers, though.
2. Le Petit Vendome
Formerly Pasadena Wine Merchants, this is part of a chain. If they do
not have it then they can get it. This is walking distance from The
Chronicle Wine Cellar. It's fun to hit both. The manager is very
personable and will not steer you wrong.
3. Heritage Wine Company
Lots of emphasis on mid-priced California wines here. Nothing too
exciting, but you will find staples like Alban and the staff is
4. Gerlach's Drive-in Liquors
Not much to look at from the outside, but inside they have some
stunners like Screaming Eagle. Selection is small, but sometimes
surprising. Go here if you think you might want to find a Marcassin
5. Mission Wines
This is in South Pasadena, but that's just a few minutes from Pasadena.
Owner Chris used to be sommelier at Patina. Lots of great selections
here with more at the top end. Probably the best destination for what
you want, although Le Petit Vendome is similar.
6. Bristol Farms
This is an upscale grocery store, but the wine selection is very good.
It has the added benefit of being on the way to/from Mission Wines.
I have found some rare wines here, although the focus is on quality
wines from big producers like Stag's Leap, Heitz, and such. You will
find that pretty much every grocery store here stocks a good selection
of wine compared to most places I have been. The more upscale chains
(Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Gelson's - all with nearby locations)
have more upscale wines.
7. Mission Liquors
Not to be confused with Mission Wines (above), this place is probably
only worth stopping in if it is close for you. You don't say where in
Pasadena you will be, but it's worth it to go if you are in walking
distance. Otherwise, I wouldn't.
Distributor of wines from Italy and Germany. They have an office on
Walnut that is open occasionally. You will find German and Italian
wines from small producers. Call them if you decide you don't want to
focus exclusively on California. You will definitely find wine here you
will not get anywhere else.
9. Red Carpet Wine
This store is in Glendale, the next city over from Pasadena. You
definitely need a car. It is the closest place I can guarantee you will
find Turley wines, however. Decent selection of wines on par with
Le Petit Vendome.
These are the local stores to check out. There are many, many more
including in nearby Monrovia, Sierra Madre, and La Canada. The biggest and
best are going to be a bit of a drive - Wally's, Woodland Hills Wine,
HiTime, 2020 Wines, Wine Club, and Wine House. However, just in Pasadena
you can have a lot of fun.
There is also a good wine bar called Halie (
Right now they are pouring over 20 pinots by the glass. I always have a
good time there. Ambience is great, food is good, and the wines are not
typically those you find poured by the glass.