Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant (San Francisco) & Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant, Napa

These two are under the same ownership and the head of the wine selections is Peter Granoff.  He was one of the early star sommeliers and uses his experience to come up with excellent selections.

All wines are offered online and you can visit either shop to taste many of the wines in person at the Wine Bars. These folks are full-service offering wine classes and special selections to wine club members. Which location to check out to taste a few wines is a tough choice: the scenic Ferry Plaza is San Francisco or wine country Oxbow Market in downtown Napa.

The website is easy to use with all of the standard search and filter possibilities available. Other headings include New Arrivals, Merchant Picks with Staff Favorites, Wine Club Selections, and “Wines under $20.” It is worth the time to check out each category.

Recent favorites demonstrate they have high standards and are sensitive to price.

If you dont have time to shop and check each category, like you work and have kids to keep an eye on, you should check out this Wine Club.  I have a family member falling into that category and she has been a Wine Club Member for two years and has never been disappointed by the selections. Members enjoy a 15% discount whenever they reorder a wine from the club.

What further sets this online merchant apart from others is the refreshing lack of references to point scores from Parker, the Spectator and others.

Pros: Strong in California wines. Free shipping in San Francisco.