Local wine resource guide
Our region boasts a wealth of great wine shops, and they’ve taken notice of the increasing quality of the wines and growing customer interest. This is by no means a comprehensive list of every store in Western New York that carries even a single New York wine, but rather a list of stores whose staff seem to go the extra mile to promote local.
Shops supporting local wine
The Wine Room
5651 Main St., Williamsville
Classes? Call for details.
The Wine Room doesn’t use the slogan “Where to Buy New York State Wines” for naught; its selection spans every single New York region. “New York wines are the most food-friendly wines in the United States,” notes owner Neil Kratzer, explaining that New York wines are high in acid and low in tannins, making them excellent choices for food pairing. “When a New York wine is purchased, ninety percent of that purchase stays in New York. When a California wine is purchased, only twenty percent of that purchase stays in New York. It’s just good local business to support local agriculture.”
Premier Wine & Spirits (The Premier Group)
3410 Amelia Dr., Orchard Park; 7980 Transit Rd., Williamsville;
3900 Maple Rd., Amherst
Tastings? Yes. Check each store’s website for a schedule.
Classes? Yes. Check each store’s website for a schedule.
Premier may be one of the largest wine retailers in the country, but a considerable portion of its resources goes to supporting local wine. “I’d have to say the most exciting region capturing our attention is the Niagara Escarpment and the Greater Niagara area,” says Bill Mahoney, wine manager at the Transit Road store. “The close proximity to these progressive wineries—along with many others that are just a quick day trip away—gives our staff easy access to all the latest tastes and trends occurring regionally and locally. We regularly offer wine classes and in-store tastings so that customers can benefit from our knowledge and discover the beauty of these wines for themselves.”
City Wine Merchant
715 Main St., Buffalo
City Wine Merchant’s Niagara and Finger Lakes bottles number substantially for the store’s size and are nestled among some of the world’s finest wines rather than sequestered to a special section. The store’s focus on highly rated wines and personal service have given it a cult following in the city, and it is a testament to the increasing quality of local wines that they have a place on CWM’s shelves.
The Global Group
4990 Harlem Rd., Amherst; 3820 McKinley Pkwy., Blasdell; 3211 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park
Tastings? Each store offers tastings, usually on weekends; call for details.
Classes? Global offers classes approximately once a month.
The stores in the Global Group offer a good selection of New York wine, from the Finger Lakes, Niagara, and Lake Erie; the Colonial store in Orchard Park, in particular, offers over 500 options. But self-described “booze slinger” Bridget O’Malley, manager at the Sheridan-Harlem Global store, is reason enough to pay a visit. Her classes are the best way to experience her knowledge, passion, trademark sass, and frequently unconventional snacks based on her favorite pairings. Twizzlers and sparkling rosé? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Salut Wine & Spirits
658 Main St., East Aurora
East Aurora’s outstanding wine shop is relatively new on the wine scene, but already making a name for itself thanks to partnerships with local businesses and charities for events such as classes and fundraisers. Local wineries are no exception. “We’re a small store, so we don’t have the capacity to offer every local wine we’d like. The way I’ve decided to overcome this challenge is to choose one local winery at a time and work closely with it,” explains owner Kelly Ashford Landwehr. “Whichever winery we’re working with at any given time is well represented throughout the store. We don’t have a ‘New York’ section. The local wines I choose deserve a place next to the best wines from across the country and around the world.”
Passport Wine & Spirits
8855 Main St., Clarence
Classes? Private classes and events; call for details.
With an entire wall of local wine, Passport’s no slouch—the Finger Lakes, Niagara, and Lake Erie are well represented. A wide range of price points and producers makes shopping local easy at this attractive store.
1430 Delaware Ave., Buffalo
Great service at Gates Circle makes shopping a treat, and the selection of Niagara and Finger Lakes wine is substantial.
Note: Chateau Buffalo, once the only wine shop in the area selling exclusively New York wine, is in the process of moving from its Hertel location to the Niagara Frontier Food Terminal at 1500 Clinton Street and refocusing on house-made wines and ciders. “We have closed the store, although our wines are available at area markets including the North Tonawanda farmer’s market,” says owner Carl Schmitter, who makes Chateau Buffalo wines and Dancing Buffalo ciders. “At our new location, we will be doing something a little different, focusing on distributing Chateau Buffalo wines and ciders as well as hosting special events with music and maybe visits from food trucks. It will be more of a party atmosphere, with wines and ciders by the glass.” Schmitter adds that when the new location opens, he is still planning to carry “a few local wines, where there might be an empty space in our portfolio.”
Restaurants and wine bars offering local wines
d’Vine Wine Bar
80 Main St., Lockport
D’Vine leads the way in great wine lists with a local focus. Some of the best Ontario producers grace the well-written and thoughtful list, along with plenty of Niagara County dry, sweet, still, and bubbly wines. A diverse food menu with an emphasis on seafood complements the wine.
425 Center St., Lewiston
Niagara wines by the glass and bottle with dynamite farm-to-table cuisine? It doesn’t get more local than that. There’s a reason this is where local winemakers eat and drink; the sight of local pinot noir, riesling, and cabernet franc sprinkled in unapologetically amid Italian stallions on Carmelo’s wine list brings joy to any local wine lover’s heart.
Dick and Jenny’s Bake and Brew
1270 Baseline Rd., Grand Island
Dick and Jenny’s has always been strong in the dining department, but with the addition of beer and wine, the Grand Island restaurant has seriously upped its game. Local wines, particularly from Niagara country and the Finger Lakes, make up a substantial part of the outstanding wine list; special tasting menus help newbies explore pairing options.
JoJo Wine Bar
5493 Sheridan Dr., Williamsville
JoJo offers several interesting local wines from Niagara County, the Finger Lakes, and the Hudson Valley, and Monday nights are BYOB nights with no corkage fee. Bring something special straight from your favorite winery and try it with a few of their appetizers, cheeses, and charcuterie.
846 Main St., Buffalo
Hands-down, this is the best selection of wines by the glass in the city, with several local examples from Niagara, the Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley. Pair that with great service, tasty wine snacks, and build-your-own flights and this wine bar’s a winner. The selection changes all the time, so there’s always something new to try.
The Village Eatery
429 Davison Rd., Lockport
Located just minutes from most of the Niagara county wineries, the Village Eatery has embraced the local wine scene with a “Niagara County” section on its wine list. The dry reds of the escarpment are ideal partners for the restaurant’s Italian fare.
Wilson Boat House
57 Harbor St., Wilson
The Boat House has been long a dining staple in the lakeside town of Wilson, and it’s been a source for Niagara country wine almost as long as the region has been around. Less widely known producers such as Victorianbourg and Black Willow get their due here, and the view of Wilson Harbor is an unbeatable backdrop.
408 Main St., Medina
Zambistro consistently makes a point to feature Niagara region and Finger Lakes wines. Leonard Oakes, Arrowhead Spring, and Schulze are regulars on the menu, and the rotating list always offers lesser-known treats, such as Vignoles, as well as staples like riesling and chardonnay.