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Markets & Stores 32

Two great East Bay Wine Shops–Solano Cellars (Albany)/The Cellar (El Sobrante)

Krys | Feb 22, 200511:23 PM

The East Bay Express voted Solano Cellars the best of 2004 calling it the “crème de la crème of East Bay wine stores.” The El Sobrante location is pretty impressive as well. Link to review at end.

These shops have a nice selection of wines that are priced well. There are wine, vodka and beer tastings. They also host private events and an enthusiastic Chowhound post about a private party is at the end as well.

The Albany shop serves food Wednesday through Saturday. (5pm — 9pm) Menus change on Wednesday. Last week’s menu included:

Gougeres: Gruyere cheese puffs

House marinated olives

Soup of the day: potato and leek with blue cheese croutons

Winter Salad: Arugula, endive, Satsuma mandarins and shaved fennel

Plate of three artisanal cheeses

White bean tartine with bacon and sage

Cornmeal flatbread with winter squash, bacon, roasted red peppers & gruyere cheese

Roasted Portobello mushroom with crab, meyer lemon aioli and herb salad


Cookie Plate: spiced madeleine, Scharffen Berger brownie & blackberry jam cookies

Blood orange and mascarpone tart with raspberry-Muscat glaze

Both stores are owned by Raj Ghuman who, along with his staff, is extremely helpful. He said he notes customer’s tastes and will make recommendations based on that.

The El Sobrante store on San Pablo Dam Road, has a selection of over 3500 wines, beers and spirits. Even though it is a large store about the physical size of K & L, the better wines are not on display and the staff will assist you with those if you are interested.

I like Champagne and Sparkling wines and was really impressed the variety and quality of those wines. I haven’t been to the Solano Cellars location yet, but Raj says if I like the El Sobrante store, I will love the Solano store.

There haven’t been many mentions of Solano Cellars on Chowhound, the last I could find was in 2003, but these have been the positive comments

“A great staff, great selection of wines, especially good with more-bang-for-your-buck value wines”

“ … a selection of good wines for under (some well under) $10. They don't turn their noses up at bargain hunters.

In a May 08, 2003 post, foodfirst said

“I once attended a private party at Solano Cellars in Albany, and it was relaxed and lovely. The layout of the level around the bar is perfect for mingling before dinner, service was personal and attentive (but not too), the setting is not too formal and not overly casual. Needless to say the before-dinner wines were lovely (they also have a great selection of hard-to-find beers). A choice of two entrees and two desserts was offered (all same appetizers), all matched with wines (and ports etc for desserts). I think they are doing "small plates" now but if you speak with Craig the owner they might be willing to do a regular dinner for a large group.

As for price, they fall in the medium range, and you'll have fun choosing wines --- tasting required of course!”

The Cellar
3550 G San Pablo Dam Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803
Phone: 510-243-6600
Fax: 510-243-6700

Solano Cellars
1580 Solano Avenue (between Ordway Street and Peralta Avenue)
Albany, California.

800-WINE (9463)-411
510-525-WINE (9463)

Fax: 510-525-4251

Monday & Tuesday: 11am — 7pm
Wednesday — Saturday: 11am — 9pm
Sunday: 12pm — 6pm

Below is the link to the East Bay Express Review with a link to the Sonoma Cellars website.


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