Best Wine Shop: Pretentious clerks can apply elsewhere.
Year in and year out, Vino is hands-down the best wine shop in the East Bay for aficionados and novices alike. Why? It's the terrific selection and superfriendly staff. For the uninitiated, choosing the right wine can be downright scary, especially if the friend or relative you're buying it for is a wine snob. But Vino has the most unpretentious wine clerks around, who are just as happy showing you an expensive, exquisite Cabernet as to point out a cheap but tasty Chardonnay. And don't be afraid if you've never heard of the label; you can trust their recommendations. Hint: If you like champagne, but don't want to spend a lot of money, ask for Parxet Cuvée 21, a Spanish sparkling wine. It's crisp, light, and fruity. A bottle at Vino is only $8.95.