The first time I ventured to a real wine retail mecca was in North Berkeley, California in 2003. Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant was founded in 1972 with a $5,000 loan from his girlfriend and 32 cases of Californian wine. Soon after he ventured to France and Italy and became a passionate evangelist of small family winemakers and importer of very local limited quantity wines. His elevation of the Rhône wine region, especially Châteauneuf-du-Pape, created a new focus on the terroir characteristics of the wine in addition to the varietal. He has since created a reputation so noteworthy that if you see the KLWM logo on the back of a bottle of wine, you can guarantee it is outstanding. If you are a wine novice, don’t miss picking up one of their seasonal Wine Samplers at a discount. It’s a great way to get a variety of the best the region has to offer. Cheers!