The wine department at Whole Foods, Kensington - brilliant

A couple of days ago I popped into the Whole Foods store in Kensington (see website here), and browsed their wine department. It’s simply brilliant: a great list of wines, with a good spattering of natural wines, too. This is one of the best places in London for buying wines by the bottle I reckon, and while their prices aren’t the keenest, they’ve got stuff that it’s hard to find elsewhere.

There’s also a bar section where you can buy wines at cost price and drink them with a selection of small plates. I really would like to organize a small lunch there one day – there’s just so many good wines that I’d like to drink on their list.

8 comments to The wine department at Whole Foods, Kensington – brilliant

  • Daniel

    They are *almost* an unsung hero on the London wine retail scene. The range is impressive in its breadth, if not its maturity (better off visiting the Sampler for fully mature bottles). The prices are crazy though. I can only understand it if they are buying their stock non-wholesale, and adding 20%. 2004 Beaucastel at £69 a bottle? I’ll pass.

    The one aspect of irreplaceable expertise that they that DO offer in in their range of North American wine. You might expect this given Whole Foods provenance, but their range is the best I’ve seen anywhere in the UK. If you are in the mood for Oregon Pinot, there is nowhere else to go.

  • Victoria

    And in my last job, that bar was literally downstairs from my desk. Those were the days….

  • James Mital

    Hi Jamie,

    I agree they’ve a keen selection of wines from all over the world, and of course quite a nice selection of American wines too.

    But I don’t agree on their prices.

    They are far far far too overpriced – probably because they made the stupid mistake of moving to such a large store expecting to turn a profit, but now can’t so pass on these losses onto their ever increasing prices.

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-business/article-23856803-were-too-big-says-stricken-whole-foods-organic-store-pound-64m-in-red.do

    There are far too many brilliant, individual small producers offering many varied and brilliant wines at prices less than theirs. Whole foods sells Hochar 2003 @ £15 a bottle – that is a crime.

    I really don’t understand how you can recommend them Jamie. It’s almost like saying “Bank with Enron”.

  • Tom Bexton

    As long as your paying!

  • Alex Lake

    Hochar 2003 @ £15, an interesting one. I think it’s still great value at that price. Even though one can buy it online for £10, I’d expect to pay more in a real shop that allows one to buy an odd bottle. Is there a case discount available?

  • Ben

    Jamie, got to agree with James above – way too expensive. It’s like saying – this place is perfect, if money is no object!

  • J Mac

    Must agree with Jamie.

    I picked up a four year old NZ Gisborne Malbec from them for £12 a while back – loved it. I would have paid less elsewhere but not for that age so I paid a premium for complexity. That said, I looked over a hundred other wines before finding that little gem.

    Where they have over-bought and then not sold a wine, Whole Foods offers good value because of the age of the bottle you can then buy (at their admittedly high prices). Their staff are also very good, especially if you get one of their American staff who know the US range well. I’m intrigued by their strong Virginian range but have yet to try any!

  • Jamie, i happily agree – a fascinating wine selection and i’m only halfway through the piemontese wall. full of delights, the only shop where i’m happy to grab a bottle with nothing recognisable on the label (which helps with italians)

    most of the prices aren’t that bad – a roagna dolcetto which is €10 in a smart part of rome for £13 in kensington? spend that in tesco and weep

    ben

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