Talk about a cool town... South Pasadena has more than one great wine shop on Mission Street!
Wine Styles is dedicated to offering unique labels and hard to find wines at low prices. (Most bottle here are under $25.) Although Wine Styles feels like a one-of-a-kind boutique, it's actually part of a chain. The first Wine Styles opened in Coral Springs, Florida back in 2002, founded on the idea that wine shouldn't be the sole domain of snooty Frazier types -- that it should be brought down to earth and made more affordable and more fun. The company evolved into a network of 150 individually owned stores in 24 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico. I put this in the category of Whole Foods or Trader Joes -- all started out as neighborhood shops whose products and services were so good they ended up going nationwide.
In addition to the impressive number of unusual blends and classic varietals, Wine Styles also specializes in wine-related goodies and gadgets as well as fully customizable gift baskets. Shopping is easy for those of us who don't pour over copies of Wine Spectator -- here, taste "styles" are clearly marked -- are you feeling fruity or mellow? Bold or silky? Wine tasting and wine classes are also available.
(Here's a date night made easy: after you select your bottle, pick up a great movie at Videotheque -- it's right next door!)