Wine buyer and professional sommelier Stephen Ansley takes a lot of pride in what goes into those bins. Chatting with him revealed his careful practices for proper wine storage and lessons learned working at BevMo for several years.
Most local winemaking operations set up shop on the rural outskirts while tasting rooms spring up in well-trafficked areas. San Diego Cellars (2215 Kettner Blvd.) balances both at a quaint spot in Little Italy where wines are both made and served.
Most wine bars serve up a trendy atmosphere and carefully crafted food alongside their selections from the vines; The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar (741 W. Washington St. in Mission Hills) does so in spades.
After trying a few Malbecs that fell short of my expectations, I found a well-priced favorite in a California version—Red Rock Winery's 2009 Reserve Malbec, which is full of fruit flavors and balanced by a light acidity.