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Best of (Greater) Manchester Wine Shops

Neil Sowerby gets stuck in

Published on August 16th 2012.

Best of (Greater) Manchester Wine Shops

LET’S get things into perspective first. Tesco sells more than 320 million bottles of wine in Britain each year in Britain alone – a quarter of the market.

Factor in the other supermarkets and their burgeoning online influence and your independent retailer is a mere mote in the vastness of the wine trade. 
Well, I say Vive les Motes!

For proper advice, interesting, eclectic lists and the chance to  to get hog-whimpering blotto at a Shiraz tasting with some generous visiting Aussie producer the indie specialists can’t be beat.

And we are blessed with a fine bunch in Manchester and surrounds. I’d love to recommend the legendary Byrne’s cellars in Clitheroe or Latitude in Leeds or even Cork’s Out and a clutch of other Cheshire specialists, but they are outside our remit.

Still, try the following local faves and you won’t regret it. They're in no particular order although maybe sub-consciously....
Reserve, Burton Road, West Didsbury 
LET me toast Kate Goodman with a glass of Grosset Polish Hill Riesling. A rare find in these parts, like much at Reserve. OK, this lime-laden Oz classic will cost you £25.50 a bottle, but if you’d prefer the likes of discounted industrial Pinot Grigio, look away now. The stock is as attractive as co-owner Kate at this award-winning destination along the Gastro Rodeo Drive of Burton Road. Don’t miss Reserve’s popular summer wine fair, usually held at Didsbury Tennis Club. Click here for the website.

Kate GoodmanKate Goodman

Winos, 63 George Street  Oldham
IF Kate is the Beauty of the local wine trade, then Phil Garrett is the ebullient Beast – in the nicest possible sense. The bearded connoisseur of motorbikes, traditional bitter and Himalayan trekking next year celebrates 30 years’ championing fine wine from his base camp in darkest Oldham. He leaves a lot of the day-to-day running to his son Julian but is invariably to be found in his Aladdin’s cave of a shop during the Saturday open house where his loyal customers get to sample some of the 3,000 wines in stock. Click here for the website.

Winos, OldhamWinos, Oldham 

Superstore, Smithfield Building, Tib Street, Manchester
IN complete contrast to these wine buff meccas, I give you an unassuming one-stop servicing Northern Quarter denizens with basic grocery essentials. But this is the spot if you get a sudden Saturday night craving for Passion Has Red Lips – the Aussie Cabernet Shiraz not a random coupling in the queue to get into Black Dog Ballroom. The basement has a splendid, well-priced wine selection sourced mainly from Gatley-based wine importers Boutinot. The fruity Passion from Some Young Punks will cost you around a tenner. For more details of the Boutinot range visit here. 
Gaucho Grill, 2a St Mary’s Street, Manchester
IT’S a former Manchester Restaurant Of The Year, but the cowhide banquettes and sizzling of red-blooded Pampas protein on the grills yells Argentina. Just like the wine list which, champagne apart, is exclusively from the homeland and designed to match the food – Torrontes for the ceviches, Malbecs for the steaks. Wine buyer Phil Crozier is very hands on, crafting house wines himself over in Mendoza. The toothsome Vina Patricia Malbec from 80 year old vines is named after the owner’s wife. I like the Patagonian Pinot Noirs, which like most of the wines can be ordered online or in the restaurant. For more details click here. 


Hangingditch, 42 Victoria Street, Manchester
BEN and Mark, who run this bijou 'vinoteca' in the shadow of the Cathedral, risk life and limb ascending ladders to pluck rare and cannily chosen bottles from the cloud-capped upper shelves. Current awards include Decanter Magazine Innovative Wine Merchant of the Year, IWSC Independent Wine Merchant of the Year and Decanter Regional Wine Merchant of the Year, but they are happy for you just to order a coffee and sit on their terrace. That would be a wasted opportunity, though. Wines by the glass are available from a rotating selection or by the bottle for the retail price plus a fixed £6 corkage. Like Reserve, a great organiser of masterclass tastings. For more details click here.

Ben Stephenson and Mark Dent at HangingditchBen Stephenson and Mark Dent at Hangingditch 

Turton Wines, 270 Darwen Road, Bromley Cross, Bolton
A SURPRISE contender (it’s so out in the sticks, darling) for the MFDF Wine retailer of the Year, this tiny shop specialises in Georgian and Lebanese wines with Bulgaria and Moldova as more high profile sidelines. Very good prices for the rest of the world, too. If you go Georgian, try the Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi Living Black Wine 2007 (£17.95). It was aged in underground clay vessels, lined with organic beeswax, and is organic. Gaumarjos! as they say in Odessa. For more details click here.

Georgian Wine at TurtonGeorgian Wine at Turton

Bakerie/Tasting Store, The Hive, Northern Quarter
MY favourite newcomer under the inspired stewardship of ex-Oddbins honcho Dale Meakin. Offshoot of the Bakerie eaterie, it sells bread baked on site and a large range of wines to take away. The temptation, though, is to sit down with a small plate of food and sample from an eclectic range of bottles from a serving system unique in Manchester. 'By The Glass' preserves opened bottles for at least two weeks in perfect condition. Try the Sula Indian Sauvignon Blanc or the biodynamic Argentine Malbecs from Jean Bousquet. Click here for more information.
Smithfield Wine, 3 Longacre Street, Manchester
GEORGE and Lynn Wrobleski run one of the most adventurous wine operations around from an unprepossessing warehouse site at the back of Piccadilly Station (if the Satnav fails they are strong online!). Vegan, vegetarian, kosher, allergen-free, Fairtrade – they tick lots of boxes here. If the flavours are what count most for you, try the Tindall Vineyard Estates Sauvignon Blanc  and Pinot Noir (£12.35 and £17.30), classic stuff from New Zealand’s Marlbororough. Click here for more information or here for their wine column.

Lynn Wroblewski of Smithfield WineLynn Wroblewski of Smithfield Wine

Evuna, 277-279 Deansgate, Manchester
JANE Dowler is a Renaissance woman, balancing being a new mum, a yoga teacher and proprietor of this Spanish wine merchant/eaterie, which holds some of the best fun tastings in town. Elle magazine’s new Manchester guide (in truth, a poor substitute for ManCon’s Best Of - of course) is effusive in its praise of Evuna’s 'classy atmosphere, smiley service and a soundtrack of deep, sexy salsa'. I’d settle for carrying out one one of the fruity Portillejo reds from La Mancha or the house Albarino. Click here for more information.

Evuna - manager, Eva, boss, Jane Dowler and her mum FrancesEvuna - manager, Eva, boss, Jane Dowler and her mum Frances 

Harvey Nichols Wine Shop, 2nd Floor, Cateaton Street, Manchester
DO not be afeard. The wine prices here trail well behind the couture. For the price of the  Alexander McQueen ivy print wool jumper just in (£550) I could purchase three, possibly four, cases of some sumptuous bottles. Wine Shop supervisor Rick Fenn is a font of advice about some of the more outre bottles. His current hot tip is Element 20, a bacchus and Chardonnay blend from Surrey’s chalky soils. The 2010 vintage costs £19.50 and is a rare treat. Click here for more information.
The Vineyard, 12 Square Street, Ramsbottom
OUR farthest flung contender is not a parcel of vines (Rammie has the slopes, just not the Med micro-climate) but a small stone terrace shop of keenly sourced treasures. As an introduction try their 'Vineyard Selection' packs, consisting of between six and 12  handpicked bottles, supplied quarterly with full tasting notes. Owner Stuart Rothwell is keen on The Secret, a  chocolate-infused red wine that is a perfect match for the town’s annual chocolate festival. I’m less of a fan but admire the panache. Click here for more information.

Vineyard, RamsbottomVineyard, Ramsbottom

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27 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

paulAugust 16th 2012.

Winos is a brill shop and very helpful but the website is shite

1 Response: Reply To This...
Steve5839October 29th 2012.

Phil has normally had too much wine and beer to worry about his web site - but it does not stop him finding and putting on great wines at reasonable prices.

Edward CrossAugust 16th 2012.

Also The Bottlestop in Bramhall

AnonymousAugust 16th 2012.

Love the sneaky Superstore on Tib Street, got a great selection of Spirits too. Got my fella the Basil and Cucumber Square Vodka's from here and they are brilliantly priced.

David BishopAugust 16th 2012.

The Smokehouse has a great selection

Peter JohnstonAugust 16th 2012.

Try 'Corks Out' in Alderley Edge.....and you can sit outside and sample a few delights.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomAugust 30th 2012.

Corks Out in Stockton Heath in Warrington as well.

Mr.HydeAugust 16th 2012.

The guy with the long hair in carringtons in chorlton, knows what the fuck he is talking about and has sorted me out with several bottles of awesome, I now go there on the regular

1 Response: Reply To This...
Richard HJAugust 17th 2012.

He is indeed excellent. Always on point.

SmittyAugust 16th 2012.

Also Bargain Booze in Middleton

Helen Ramsbottom shared this on Facebook on August 16th 2012.
Pauline JohnstonAugust 16th 2012.

I concur wholeheartedly with Mr Hyde above. I think the guy with the long hair's name is John at Carringtons in Chorlton.He is wordly wise beyond his years and is so willing to help you find a nice bottle for any occasion.

Prince_HarmingAugust 16th 2012.

Can I assume from the fact that you dwell on Kate Goodman's (irrelevant and subjective) attractiveness and the fact that her photo was taken in a pub that you're friends with her?

That might go some way to explaining why you fail to warn anyone about the terrifyingly wobbly floor in Reserve that has seen bottles cascading to the ground on a number of occasions.

Neil SowerbyAugust 16th 2012.

Dear Prince, are you sure you are not inflicting your own innate wobbliness upon the Reserve? I've always found it a steady ship. Yes, I do know Kate, but Winos' Phil Garrett would be considered a much closer pal. With both's shops I am being totally OBJECTIVE. The only reason I omitted Carringtons, where John is a top guy for advice and I really like the beer selection too, is because it is rarely open when I drop by.

CobbydalerAugust 16th 2012.

No mention of Spirited Wines on Deansgate?

Richard AthertonAugust 17th 2012.

Or Carringtons of Chorlton...

AnonymousAugust 17th 2012.

The Carringtons in Didsbury is decent as well - apart from the one spectacularly unfriendly staff member with a face like a perpetually smacked arse.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
UrbanefoxAugust 17th 2012.

This Carringtons is my local too, it's a great shop but I know exactly who you're talking about...

Richard HJAugust 17th 2012.

i am now going to start a band called Perpetually Smacked Arse. Thank you.

AnonymousAugust 26th 2012.

Big fan of this place. Always interesting selections and helpful staff. Which one is the 'face like a perpetually smacked arse'? There's at least two!

DaisyAugust 17th 2012.

Why does "best of manchester street art" appear at the top left on all "best of" pages (and has done so for over a month now) yet it doesn't have any content? #justasking

Anne-Marie KilgourAugust 17th 2012.

There's a great relatively new wine shop & deli, selling wines not sold in the supermarket and italian deli food such as buffalo saussage, an amazing pate and unusual cheeses. Its called Endoeli Medeus, opposite the leisure centre. Sergio the Sardinian owner is great.

Anne-Marie KilgourAugust 17th 2012.

Haha would help if I mentioned which town! That would be Bolton Street, Bury.

Peter BrockwellSeptember 12th 2012.

It's Ross with the long hair in Carrington's Chorlton. Mssrs Carrington are awesome if you catch them when theyre manning the counter. I'd say the Chorlton branch shades it slightly, for choice at least. More beers and spirits as well, i'd reckon. really want the 'money cant buy' martin miller gin behind the counter!

Maggie MilnerOctober 18th 2012.

Come on Mancon - found Gordo's Mughli review but struggling to find anything on Portuguese wines - despite the heading about Church conversions, veggie surprises and Portuguese wines? - where the hell is this little nugget hidden??

GordoOctober 19th 2012.

Good point Maggie...

Nathalie RobinsNovember 22nd 2012.

rude ignorant comments about carringtons staff. you should be commentingon their skills as independent wine merchants rather than bitching about their medical skin conditions. Shame on you all!

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