Best Wine Store - 2009
Bon Vivant Wines
Yes, we really are suggesting that if you want the best wine-shopping experience in the St. Louis area, you're likely to find it in Columbia, Illinois, at Bon Vivant Wines. Not just because owner Andrew Traughber is a really nice guy and incredibly knowledgeable (though he is indeed both). Fact is, Bon Vivant offers one of the most interesting, eclectic, yet well-conceived wine selections in the nation, let alone the St. Louis area. Bon Vivant's stock rotates frequently, especially on the value end of the price spectrum, so there are always new treats to sample. Traughber is also unafraid to venture into regions less traveled by other merchants — he's got an excellent selection of wines from the Loire Valley and from Beaujolais, not to mention from up-and-coming producers from the states and elsewhere overseas. If you appreciate the diversity that the world of wine has to offer, Bon Vivant is your premier local outpost. And if you had no idea wine was more diverse than red, white or pink, or didn't know diversity was a good thing, you couldn't find a better guide than Andrew Traughber.
At last, RFT has discovered one of the treasures in our community and described it quite well I might add. Andrew's thoughtful consideration of each wine offered is unique in the marketplace. His knowledge and understanding extend to every bottle he stocks. Often people expect to pay a premium from an owner operated shop but this is not the case at Bon Vivante. With bottles from ten dollars and up Andrew will work with your price range and help you find just the right wine.... I might add that he carries an interesting assortment of unusual beers and ales as well.
I was Andrew's first customer in Nov., 2006! Little did I know that I would be reading about him and Bon Vivant in the RFT. I can only say that the article is correct, Andrew is not only "a really nice guy and incredibly knowledgable" but he offers many wine tastings on a regular basis. It is always fun to get friends together for a "tasting" and we have enjoyed many great bottles of wine from his store along with several different beers...You should check it out! CHEERS!