Austin >The Austin Wine Merchant
Arguably more a wine retailer than a wine bar proper, Austin Wine Merchant nevertheless makes for a fantastic date night, if you sign up for one of their tastings. Teaming up with local restaurants and caterers, AWM does themed food and wine nights (South American, Tapas & Sherry, etc.) for reasonable prices, usually in the range $40 or $45 per person.
Wine tastings. The free wine tastings on Saturdays are a great way to interact with the staff and ask wine-related questions, which is great for people like me who aren't quite wine connoisseurs.
Approachable, Friendly Service, Not a Specs.
As a long time customer, I have seen The Austin Wine Merchant, under go several evolutions as a local, small, yet fast growing business. New wines, different employees, and massive construction. I have always entered the store to be greeted with a smile and atleast two or three people who will say hello and ask if I need help-usually I just browse-but the staff is eager and honest about there level of wine knowledge that they have, each seems to have their niche.
Its very Austin and has a more elagant appeal without being too up-ity! I know they do wine tastings on Saturdays, I have only attended one, it was very low key and educational-I look forward to a chance to return-
Recommend but with observations.
Since the recent expansion I have visited the Wine Merchant on 3 ocassions. Prices are fair. Selection is good. They have expanded to carrying additional liquor and an adequate offering of beers and chilled wines in the cooler. Certainly there is no harm in attracting the local residents seeking carryout. It appears though that the expansion has done mothing to improve the service and staff knowledge. Yes, John knows enough about french wines but this isn't what most of us care about. Variety and trying new grape should be encourage. Why the bias to french when there are some many other great wines including the best Nebbiolo available.
Request-stop the over the top interest in french and your suppliers glut.
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