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I Buy Good Wine at a Discount Liquor Store


The Sign Along Route 50

I have been visiting the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland since I was a little boy.  This has involved driving along Route 50 through the city of Easton.  I can recall always driving past Wishing Well Liquors but for the last several years I have been intrigued by their sign advertising the “Area’s Only Wine Cellar.”  Last year I featured a pair of posts about purchasing and drinking wine in Ocean City.  Having read a comment by Justin Bonner on Wine Berserkers about purchasing a bottle of wine from The Wishing Well Liquors, I just knew I had to stop by on our recent beach trip.  When my mom and I walked into the store we knew we were in for a treat.

Discount Liquor!

Wishing Well Liquors has been around since 1957.  Four and a half years ago it changed owners for the third time when it was purchased by Dave Douglas.  Wine was not part of the original strengths of the store so when Dave Douglas decided to cultivate a wine selection he brought on Philip Bernot.  Philip Bernot has been in the wine industry for decades.  Today he still recalls being a teenager working in his father’s San Diego store where he squirreled away bottles of 1968 Sebastiani, Pinot Noir, Limited Cask and 1969 Inglenook, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Together Dave and Philip designed an above-ground wine cellar expansion for the store, the layout, and custom racking.

The Last Place You Would Expect to Find a Wine Cellar, Image from Wishing Well Liquor

When you walk into the store you immediately pick up on the vintage look with the classic, sweet smell that takes a liquor store decades to acquire.  The front-center of the store features a check-out area stocked with smaller bottles of liquor.  The walls and shelves are filled with an extensive selection of budget and high-quality liquors, along with a selection of more affordable wines.  There is also a walk-in beer chiller filled with micro-brews.  As you continue to the back of the old store you will come to the new wine cellar room.  The blond wine-racks and spot-lighting put on a good vibe but once you focus in on the labels being stock you will be surprised.

Inside the Wine Cellar Room

Philip picks wines primarily based on taste so it is not surprising that his first recommendation was the 2007 Chelti Estate Vineyards, Chelti from Georgia.  You may check out my previous review of this wine here.  Take the time to browse through the store but make sure you ask Philip for some recommendations for he has immense enthusiasm.  This results in a diverse array of international selections at all price points.  On the day we visited he was pouring 2009 Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tierra de Castilla to taste.  I now know I shall always stop by Wishing Well Liquors on my way to the beach and highly recommend that you do as well.

Some Wine for Tasting

Here are the wines which we walked away with.  And yes, we bought liquor too.  After all the 75th running of the International Gold Cup is quickly approaching.

  • 2011 A.A. Badenhorst, Secateurs, Chenin Blanc, Swartland
  • 2010 Patrick Piuze, Val de Mer Chablis
  • 2011 La Grange Tiphaine, Ad Libitum, Touraine Amboise
  • 2009 Clos Sigeuier, Cahors
  • George Dickel, No 12, Tennessee Whiskey
  1. Justin Bonner
    November 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm | #1

    Glad you found your way to Wishing Well. I worked at Harrison’s in Easton many moons ago. Helped build the wine selection. Sad to see it fall so hard after the sale in the early 2000s. Great write up.

    • November 24, 2012 at 8:38 am | #2

      Justin, Thanks! After reading your Berserker post then visiting Wishing Well I was thrilled by Philip’s selection of wines.

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