Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Booze! A guide to wine shops in the Stuttgart area of Germany...

Hello folks.  Every once in awhile, I like to write posts that are comparative in nature.  Recently, I've had the opportunity to try out a few wine stores near us and I thought it might be interesting to write about the pros and cons of each.

Naturally, you can always buy wine on post (if you have access and/or purchasing privileges) or at your favorite grocery store like Edeka, Aldi, or Real.  Those locations are givens.  I wanted to highlight stores that specifically focus on wine.  I've written about each place before, so I will link to my first posts about them so those who are interested can read about my first impressions.


Vinum!  Our favorite wine store.

Probably my all time favorite wine store in the area is Vinum in Tübingen.  I will admit that I mostly like that store for sentimental reasons.  We used to shop there all the time when we lived in Germany the first time.  I still like to go there and will go out of my way to visit for several reasons.  First off, they have a great selection of wines.  It's not a huge store, but there are plenty of wines to choose from and quite a few are available for tasting.  They also have wine on tap and, as long as you have a bottle (you can buy one there if you want), you can load up on cheap, good quality wines.

Secondly, Vinum offers more than just wine.  They have a small selection of gourmet foods.  They also sell exotic beers and fine liquors and liqueurs, as well as nice booze related gifts.  Their staff is very helpful and speak English.  Sometimes they host events on the weekends for wines and spirits.  I also think their building is very cool.  It reminds me of a cave.  Bill and I have shopped there extensively, both times we've lived in Germany, so we're very familiar with the store.  In fact, it may be time to pay them another visit soon.


Inside the Alte Brennerei in Herrenberg.

In second place, I think I'd put Alte Brennerei, a wine store Bill and I discovered just a couple of weeks ago in Herrenberg.  Alte Brennerei is a fairly small store in comparison to Vinum, but the proprietor is very friendly, speaks great English, and offers a good variety of wines.  She also has a small selection of gourmet items, though not as many as Vinum does, and will offer to do tastings for small groups.  She doesn't have a wide range of liquors available or wines on tap, but she does have plenty of whiskys.  Since Bill and I like scotch, we like Alte Brennerei.  A bonus is that right across the street is a cheese shop and right next door is the adorable Lamm Gasthof, a great place for a bite to eat.


Jacques' Wein Depot in Ludwigsburg.

In third place, I'd choose Jacques' Wein Depot, a chain wine store that has locations all over Germany.  One advantage to visiting the Wein Depot is that there are a lot of convenient locations.  This store also allows patrons to try almost every wine they sell.

The reason I put Jacques Wein Depot in third place is because when we visited, the salespeople did not seem all that interested in helping us.  This is not such a big deal to us, since we pretty much know what we like.  It could be a problem for less experienced wine drinkers.  Also, I did not get the impression that the guys who were working at the Wein Depot spoke English.  Again, not a huge deal, but potentially less helpful for English speakers who don't know what they like.    

I also think the Wein Depot lacks the charm of of Vinum and Alte Brennerei, stores that have a personal touch.  Jacques' Wein Depot is a chain; as such, it lacks a certain mysticism.  However, I did think the wines were probably better priced at Wein Depot as opposed to the other two stores.  Generally speaking, that is the advantage of visiting a chain store over an individual location.


Vom Fass.

Likewise, Vom Fass, another chain wine store is kind of similar to Jacques' Wein Depot.  Although we visited one when we went to Ulm in August, I haven't yet really had a chance to write a review of one.  Vom Fass also has several locations near Stuttgart and elsewhere in Germany.  It seems to be more of an all purpose store, offering wines, vinegars, oils, and other gourmet items.  Jacques' Wein Depot, by contrast, appears to be all about the wine.


Wein Kreis in Stuttgart.

There are definitely other stores in the area we haven't tried yet.  For example, there's a wine store/ wine bar in Stuttgart we have yet to visit.  It's right next to the Markthalle, though, and we usually load up on wines when we visit the Markthalle.  Next time we visit Dr. Blair, which should be next week for a cleaning, we will have to stop by the Wein Kreis store in Stuttgart and try it out.  I will definitely update then.

The lovely thing about living in Germany is that there's always a place to buy great wine for not much money.  You don't have to visit a wine store to find something good, though it sure can be fun shopping in one!  This weekend, I hope to find a few more wines when we visit France!




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