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Once Upon a Vine

Not Rated.
Once Upon a VineOnce Upon a Vine
BA SCORE
100
world-class

75 Ratings
Ratings: 75
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

4009 MacArthur Ave
Richmond, Virginia, 23227-4050
United States
phone: (804) 726-9463

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: Darkale

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Ratings: 75 | Reviews: 58
Reviews by beer2day:
Photo of beer2day
3.8/5  rDev -16.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Located not too far from the intersection of 64W and 95. but a little tricky to find tucked into a residential neighborhood.

Big cooler selection. A little less in the way of room temp product. Always has one or two things the other shops in town don't. Got the, relatively new to me, Singel from Hardywood and didn't find that at my other three stops in town. Also a couple of CC selections that didn't show in other shops.

Service is ok, but not terribly great. You get what you need, though.

More User Reviews:
Photo of embass
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Great selection. I've been twice and both times I only meant to stay 10-15 mins at tops and got lost just looking around.

Photo of qchic
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Fave place to buy beer when in Richmond. Tucked away in a residential area, and the beer while occupying a smaller area than the wine is packed with goodies. I can always get my Michigan beer fix (when will they come to MD!?) and last time I also got some Hardywood Park and Cigar City. Bam! Folks are generally helpful and prices fair. The thing I always think of, though, is how someone once forgot to pull their e-brake and their car drifted across the parking lot while I was in there. Thank god my rental car was not in its path! We all had a good chuckle. Maybe you had to be there...

Photo of rwhite757
4.64/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Dropped by the store on the 16th. Had just about everything I was looking for and then some. Very helpful and actually remembered me from when I called and asked about the selection. Great selection. Even gave me a discount at checkout. Definitely worth checking out. You will not be disappointed. They had a boatload of 120 minute IPA and a great selection of beers that I can't find in NC. I have gone to a few stores around the area and they were fairly reasonable if not cheaper for the most part.

Photo of YumYumGumGum
4.72/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I live only a few Miles from the Once Upon a Vine Northside, and I routinely get my stuff here. They get the popular new stuff from DFH (120 min) and Founders (Blushing Monk), but they also have a nice selection of belgians and german beers if you stick more closely to style. Obviously, that have a massive wine selection, in which case (not to be sexist, but in my case), I can bring the girlfriend in there and she'll be entertained.

Usually pretty busy on the weekend, so the guys sometimes can't help every second that you might be in there, but its a great local beer store. World class selection, I have never gotten a old batch and I shop there once a week for two years.

Photo of Jimmys
4.11/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

visited here this past weekend while in richmond. saw some positive reviews so i figured it was worth checking out.

sort of a dumpy looking shop from the outside. when i pulled up i actually thought it was totally closed. inside is pretty busy. lots and lots of bottles in not a lot of space. pretty standard as far as most boutique craft bottle shops.

selection is where this place dominates. i actually took a few laps just in awe of some of the stuff there. most notably was some of the vintage bottles they had. my go-to bottle shop here in arlington is a local Total Wine, which if comparing has an enormous american craft selection (relatively common stuff) but is definitely lacking in desirable cellar/rare beers. this place was the exact opposite. boatloads of hard to find beers as well as some serious vintage bottles. i really enjoyed the european selection. downside to these rare beers is the price tag on them, but honestly i didnt think it was too expensive.

the gentleman working there at the time was helpful with the few questions i had and also had some comments for the bottles i was buying, which is always nice to hear.

overall, i would have to say this is one of the best bottle shops i have been to and is a must check-out if you are in richmond and looking for some quality scores.

Photo of jdb8507
4.88/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

After trying a few of the similar shops in Richmond, I am sold. This place may fly a bit under the radar, but has the best single-bottle selection I have seen. The staff are extremely nice and are willing to help out.

The layout is the only thing you can knock a few points off of, but only because they have so much stuff...which cancels out any negative thoughts. They have the most singles, except for maybe total wine, but it seems the selection is so much better.

I highly recommend this place over any of the other beer/wine shops in Richmond.

Photo of mwthomas
4.35/5  rDev -4.8%

I was introduced to this place a few months ago by a friend. Initially, I was skeptical about the establishment and the fact that about half of the shelf space was dedicated to wine, but was blown away by the selection that they provide. The selection of American microbrews is incredible--it rivals some larger places in the Richmond area and includes some offerings from some lesser known breweries--and, as I recall, they have a decent selection of Belgians (my favorite foreign beer). It is definitely a place I would visit, regardless of whether I was on that side of town.

Photo of jwjon1
3.65/5  rDev -20.1%

Visiting my folks for the holidays, and after reading reviews figured I'd swing by after a stop at Buzz and Ned's. Better selection than most stores I've been to in the area, with pricing generally on the higher end of still reasonable. FW14, for example, ran $23+tax. The fact that they had FW14 was impressive enough, but it's all relative: the overall selection was good but nothing terribly exciting versus other shops I've shopped at. There are a ton of high A's and A+'s listed; it's a good store, but based on selection alone, not world class as many of these scores indicate.

Photo of gopens44
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%

After I realized exactly where this place was, stopping in was a no brainer.

As soon as I walked through the door I was greeted by a fellow that let me know to ask him if I had any questions.

The store is sort of small, and the beer area is a little cramped, but a cozy enough setting in an old yet visually pleasant neighborhood.

Upon finding the beer on the right hand side of the store, I noticed that the selection was pretty darn nifty. Not a zillion bottles, but way far enough for me to get lost in a child like candy land moment! Good selection of several styles and several imports. Plenty of bombers as well.

I did ask the attendant about a specific release, which he was knowledgeable about. He was also incredibly polite, and even though I asked him while he was stocking product, he stopped what he was doing, and assisted me without any hint of being disturbed.

As soon as I made my selections and approached the counter, he pulled out a new release that I hadn't heard of before to show me since it was similar to another beer I asked about. His recommendation showed me that he not only paid attention to my previous questions, but took an interest in serving his customer.

The pricing seemed right in line with every other beer store in town. A few pennies more for a few beers, a few pennies less for others. Regardless, pricing wasn't an issue for me at all based on what I'd expect to spend most any day.

I would have returned to this store regardless of service, but after having the service that I did, which was extremely helpful, attentive and not in any way pushy, I will have to come here more often.

In a day and age where money is getting tight and repeat business is important to the success of your business - THIS is how you treat customers and make them come back! Excellent experience all the way around.

Photo of TJBAIHWL
4.35/5  rDev -4.8%

I found this place a few months ago when I was checking out all the Richmond area beer stores I hadn't yet visited, and I still don't see any reason to go any other place. The selection is pretty incredible for so small a place. Almost every significant craft brewery is represented, and not just with staples like DFH IPAs and Anchor Steam. You can also find a lot of the less common brews from some of the bigger craft breweries. There's an amazing selection of Belgians, a few racks of bombers, etc etc. The staff is always friendly and helpful with spot-on recs. Overall I love this store. Great environment, great selection, great everything.

Photo of claaark13
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%

Q: Good atmosphere. We arrived on a Friday night during a beer/wine tasting. There were tents off to the side of the building for the Oktoberfest that they were having the next day. Bob (the Owner) told us that the festival would be $7/person with German food and unlimited Paulner and Spaten refills. The store is a medium sized Wine/Beer store, with a selection also expanding to cheeses and candy (the store is child friendly, as the events that they hold are family friendly).

Svc: I had called ahead of time to have them put a few items on hold for me. These included a 2006 Aventinus and (2) 2008 Oerbier Reserve, (24) Old Chub. They were happy to help. The owner and Casey (son?) were also very helpful when I arrived, offering to help me find stuff and to answer any questions. It seemed that just about every person that walked into the store knew Bob by name and were greeted kindly. You don't see that too often.

S: This is difficult to judge because I was only in 2 Virginia stores. I would say that there seemed to be quite a good selection of the local fare from the East Coast. National distributions from Stone/Rogue were there, as well as the Oskar Blues I can't find in the Mid-West. Good selection of Belgians, all of which were reasonably priced. I didn't buy any, but they had a couple bottles of BFM beers too. I can say that Bob used to work in distribution, so he seemed to have a good idea of what to stock and where to find it. I was overall happy with what I found, and I would say that if the store were local to me I would return regularly for the selection. I am pretty sure that anything they are "missing" would be due to a sold-out situation. There is also a selection of glassware, most of which I don't see in the Mid-West. Kwak, 20cl Karmiliet, La Fin Du Monde were some. All glassware was reasonably priced (especially compared to what you'll find online). The only reason that this section isn't a 5 is because I've been to a couple stores in the US that are bigger and give me the feeling of being blown-away.

V: Overall, some prices were higher and some prices were lower that what I see at home. The higher prices were all below the "highest" range of what I find regularly, so considering that I would call them reasonable. I can't speak for the local beer, only for what I am used to. There were a few quality items of Dogfish Head, Avery and others that were lower than what I usually find, so props on that.

If you are driving through, I would stop by to see if you can find something. I would go as far as to say that a beer geek should put this on the list if they are in the area. I will stop by the next time I in the area, that's for sure.

Photo of bgildea
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Once Upon a Vine is the closest and best beer and wine store to my house. They are always stocked with a nice variety of domestic and international beers. The store also has a large wine selection that I regularly ignore when perusing the beer selections. Every time I visit, I'm able to find new beers that I haven't had before.

Quality - I've never bought a skunked beer from Once Upon a Vine... so let's not jinx it. They don't keep single beers cold, which is what I primarily purchase. Occasionally, bottom shelf beers can gather some dust, but nothing significant enough to dissuade me from purchasing.

Service - The service is always friendly. It's usually staffed by one or two individuals, who are more than willing to help you out. More often than not, you'll find a soccer match playing on the TV and a friendly cashier watching. However, on one or two occasions, I've been charged the wrong (read: too much) price for a beer. Usually it can be attributed to the price tags on the beer, which are all individually tagged.

Selection - I find the selection to be very diverse with something new every time I visit. I will usually make a run when my beer supplies are low, and I'll pick up 6-12 beers. As I've mentioned before, they have a great selection of domestic beers, but their international selection is what really sets them apart from other beer stores in the area. You'll have a hard time trying to find a better selection of beers in the Richmond area.

Value - The prices are very reasonable, especially considering the wide variety of international beers. As I've mentioned, I've had the occasional error in pricing, but generally I find it to be worth the trip.

Overall - Overall, Once Upon a Vine is a great local beer store. With their wide variety, reasonable prices, and friendly sales staff, it's definitely a great place to buy beer in the Richmond area. While I'm sure their wine selection is great, this is a beer website and I'm a beer drinker, so I won't comment further on that. You won't be disappointed if you visit, and they also have a resident gumbo chef who sells gumbo and other food from a trailer in their parking lot. I haven't eaten from it yet, but a lot of people do. Overall, I give Once Upon a Vine a sold A.

Photo of blackie
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

quick stop on my way out of town before Friday rush hour hits, the store is conveniently located just a short jump from 95

nice range of beers to be had to, whether imported or domestic micros, good local representation form Legend and B&G, a few random selections available in single form, nothing looked to be exceedingly rare but there are some gems here for sure

the guy running at the store was nice and helpful, and seemed to know his stuff - you can tell this is really a neighborhood store, as a good number of the people entering were greeted by name

a mix of cold and room temp storage is employed here, and the beer is treated well

if rolling by on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, be sure to check the gumbo truck in the parking lot, quality cajun food at a reasonable price from some really nice people

Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev -12.5%

I stopped into Once Upon a Vine based on the high rating here on BA. It's a moderate sized store (maybe even on the smaller side) but they pack a lot into it. The beer is concentrated on the right side of the store. There's a long refrigerated section on the back wall with lots of sixes (mostly American craft beer). The unrefrigerated shelves then contain a large selection of singles (a pretty varied mix of 750s, 22s, 12s, etc.). In addition to the extensive American selection, they have quite a few English and Belgian options. They also have a nice little section featuring a full range of Richmond and other VA beers. Overall, it's pretty disorganized but they have a lot of good stuff so I'm willing to overlook that. I picked up a SN 30th Anniversary, two Bell's 9000s and a Raging Bitch.

Once Upon a Vine is a solid store with a serious commitment to craft beer. It's well worth the stop if you're in the area.

Photo of apbarwood
4/5  rDev -12.5%

I'd been hearing about this place for a while and decided to check it out a few weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of beers, particularly American micros. They had a lot of stuff that I hadn't been able to find elsewhere and all at reasonable prices. Their import selection could have been bigger but they seemed to have all the big hitters and a few hard to find items. I guess with a limited amount of space you can't really complain about what they manage to cram in there. The store seemed a little cluttered but then again I didn't go there for a feng shui experience. They had a huge cooler space with tons of great 6 packs and a nice selection of bombers. I was pleased to see that they had a nice selection of Anderson Valley and Rogue that I had been unable to find elsewhere at larger retailers who you think would carry such things. Another nice perk was a decent selection of glassware from various breweries which was something I'd been looking for as well. It's hard to find decent beer glasses that aren't Guinness pints or something. A bit pricey since you pay by the glass but you only need one glass at a time anyway so it's a decent place to stop if you need any particular style of glass. I think I'll be making most of my beer purchases here from now on.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -12.5%

Pretty good place that is tucked away in the outskirts of Richmond. Prices were better than what I was finding in the city, and the selection is pretty good for American micros. The import section is your basic Belgians and Germans - no diamonds in the rough. Still, good quantity of both micros and Belgians left me having a hard time to choose. Service was quiet - in other words, I browsed for 10 minutes w/o anyone saying anything to me and I asked about a Saison and the guy at the counter had no idea if it was good or bad. This isn't a complaint; I am just stating there is a hand-off approach to the beer customers (which I prefer rather than browse and have someone jump my sh!t immediately).

Photo of Chinaski
5/5  rDev +9.4%

I was recommended this place by an employee at Total Wine. I live in Florida and was looking to get my hands on anything that we weren't able to get at home. I got there just as they were opening and even though they were busy setting up and such the owner walked me around the store and answered all the questions I had.

The selection was outstanding. They had all the staple beers that I am used to from South Florida as well as Beers from Southern Tier, Bear Republic, Bells (we get some Bells beers down here not all), New Holland, Victory and so on. They seemed to have a great deal of special releases and seasonals, I was particularly happy to get my hands on a bottle of Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, which I had in Michigan a year or so ago.

The owner, Bob, and his staff were very courteous and accommodating, making many recommendations and letting me try a beer that I was interested in.

I dropped about $120 bucks and felt it was well worth it for the haul. I highly recommend the place and only wish I had a place like this in my neighborhood.

Photo of suburbeer
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%

I have been meaning to go since i learned about the location a year ago. Small and kinda dindgy but i guess to keep the beer from skunking you can't light it like a mall. The only place to go with a real selection in the Richmond area. This guy really only carries the best where as Total Wine does pretty good but keeps the selection more mainstream. This place is a long way for me to go but worht it as long as I bring $100 with me. Impossible for me to escape for less.
Service could be better but I know what I was looking for so it all worked out ok.

Bought.
Avery Hog Heaven, Avery The Czar, Double Bastard, Southern Tier Hoppe,Dogfish Head, Chickory Stout, Avery 15,Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, Sierra Nevada Wet hop. Others.

Prices are even to other locations on some things but 20-30% higher on others. The guy needs to make a living. A buy 6 get 10% off or a punchcard for geeks like me would go along way,
Their website is really holding them back. Guys like me want to know the trip will be worth it. Make a little investment on technology, the internet isn't a fad.

Photo of avalon07
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%

Q: A definite high quality of beer to be found here. Some of the best beers you'll see anywhere.

S: OK service, not overly chatty or pushy. Good, though.

S: A wide variety of beers: Unibroue, Ommegang, Southern Tier, Bear Republic, Stone, lots of Belgians and beers from countries you wouldn't expect (e.g., the Ukraine and Armenia).

V: A good value, especially when considering the quality of the beers.

On the whole a good place for beer. A bit far flung from my perspective, but a great selection.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.65/5  rDev +1.8%

Had to check this out as highly recommended as it has been...

Excellent selection of beer - about 35-40% of the space dedicated. Lots in the coolers in back with several shelves of domestic craft and lots of Belgians and Germans. Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic is very well-represented. Quite a bit of Bell's in the house...great to bring back to Boston. Bob and his crew rule. Friendly as hell and knowledgeable. Max the Spaniel is an excellent store mascot, especially for those of us stopping in with young kids (place is a little small to contain them in shopping carts). Prices are solid - you may be able to get things a little cheaper at a Total Wine if they have them, but they are more reasonable than some Charlottesville outlets and as mentioned the service is stellar. A go-to place a little off the beaten path on the North Side. Good to be back home!

Photo of dino213aa
3.7/5  rDev -19%

For a small neighborhood store this place has the best selection anywhere. I walked in amazed at their selection. Since they're basically in an old 7-11, they were able to use the fridges to store beer in also. This equates to an excellent chilled beer section as well.

Two areas that needed improvement. 1) The service I received was mediocre. When I walked in I was not greeted by any of the staff. When I first tried to ask a staff member for help, I initially got the cold shoulder from both the owner and cashier. Slowly as I starting looking intently and talking loudly to my friend, the owner overheard us and started engaging me more and helping me with my questions. Basically the service just needs to be more consistent and welcoming.

2)Their price point is a bit high when compared to the rest of the Metro Richmond market. One beer I purchased there last week I found at another store for $3 dollars cheaper. In exchange for the prices is a much more convenient location. This place is about a mile from my house and 1/3 the distance of anywhere else.

It a nutshell: killer selection but know what you want and expect to pay for convenience.

Photo of Proteus93
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Update: June 09/'08

I feel the need to up the service on this one, as it's top notch. I've returned a couple of times since the first review, and Bob has been there both times. He's always quite enthusiastic about conversing about beers, and has been at it for a long time, so he knows his stuff (add to the fact that he's also got history as a distributor).

I've become quite fond of this location, and have started to make a point of trying to get up there at least once a month to pick up a couple things I can't find in Charlottesville. A nice bonus to this location is that he'll go out of his way to drive and pick up some things not readily available otherwise, and bring him back himself - thus, cutting out the middleman and offering some very competitive prices. He's all about providing the best to his customers. Fantastic place, and perhaps the best I've been to.

===

Orig Review: Apr. 19/'08

Just arrived back from here, so I'm going to go about the review with it still fresh in my head.

What a nice little store, nestled in a little neighbourhood area, and VERY close to the highways, both 64 and 95. It's a matter of a couple turns after exits for the out-of-towners.

A fair selection of the stock is similar to that available in Charlottesville with a couple exceptions... picked up some of the Smuttynose Imperial Stout, Stone IRS, Russian River Damnation, Fullers 2004 Vintage, Victory's Doppelbock, along with Southern Tier Unearthly & Hoppe. Of those, only the Stone is currently around C'ville, so it was pleasing.

Prices were comparable to other places I've gone - some higher, some lower... c'est la vie, and the differences were minor/ignorable. A nice little selection of Germans, English, Belgian all available, along with the nice American choice there and some other interesting nationalities. For those of us glassware fans, they have a little selection of brand glasses there as well, at typical prices.

The legendary Bob I read of in other posts wasn't there, but there was a nice guy named David that was in there, and was good to deal with, too. He actually found the Russian River for me after I overlooked it (even after scanning over the selection a good half dozen times!) Wine selection looked quite expansive from what I saw, for those who are fans.

All in all, a nice experience, and a place I look forward to returning to. It was well worth the praise it has received from my experience, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking around the Richmond area!

Photo of constabl
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Being somewhat of a beginner, I have to say I was a little intimidated with their selection. I am from Delaware and was returning from my vacation in South Carolina, I had to be quick inside since it took some storytelling to convince my wife that we needed to stop here. Well, from the time I walked in w/ my 3 year old until I walked out, (I'm guessing it was the owner that was there, I did not ask his name) Mr. Kocher was very kind, offering lollipops for my kids and helping me pick through their selection. 3 Rauchbiers, some sours, and 2 cases (which one was on sale for 14$, can't beat that with a stick) later I was through. The only comparison I can make of their selection is to Total Wine in Delaware which I thought was large. This place may not be big but the number of different beers has to be in the high hundreds. Most of their selection is shelved for purchase as singles. I will say that if I had an extra couple hundred bucks I wanted to spend and a lazy afternoon, I would make the trip back. The conversation was great and on Sundays, in the parking lot, there is a Gumbo Shop on wheels that has the best Grilled Garlic Bread and Gumbo to die for. This may actually convince my wife to make the trip back. She loved the Gumbo (mental note: Gumbo + 3 hour ride home do not mix). If I could do it over again I would let them know I was inexperienced because I bet would've learned a lot.

I picked up the following: Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen, Urbock, & Weizen, Meantime IPA, Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour, Thunderhead IPA (case $14), Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale (case), & Panil Barriquee.

Photo of JEdmund
4.35/5  rDev -4.8%

While driving to McLean, Va., from South Carolina, I took a quick detour off the interstate to check out One Upon a Vine. I was immediately greeted by a large selection of beers in both the cooler and on the shelves I had hoped to find. There was a number of American beers I was looking for, and they had many of them. I was even lucky enough to score a six-pack of Nugget Nectar. My only complaint and disappointment was there mix and match section. They had numerous bottles to choose from, however, many of the beers I wanted were not available for lone bottle sale (West Coast IPA, Bear Republic, Dogfish Head, Victory, and some others). The staff was friendly and helpful, and they even had a man offering samples of four Russian beers at a tasting table. I'm not sure how their prices compare to local competitors as I'm not from the area. I would definitely shop there again.

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Once Upon a Vine in Richmond, VA
100 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.