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Best of Tacoma 2016: Tacoma Boys

Best Wine Selection

The selection will drive you to drink at Tacoma Boys. Photo credit: Jackson Hogan

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Tacoma Boys has been a South Sound staple since 1985, known for their fresh produce, wide organic selection and quirky atmosphere. Essentially, they were Trader Joe's before Trader Joe's came, and the fact that they're still thriving despite TJ and Whole Foods' arrival is a testament to their quality and Tacomans' loyalty. Or perhaps it's because they have a mind-boggling wine selection.

Although they may have began by selling fruit and vegetables, Tacoma Boys has perhaps become equally known for their fantastic assortment of wines. On their website, the store claims to feature over 4,000 varieties of wines, both local and imported. That's so much wine, it would take years to sample every brand they offered! Walking through Tacoma Boys, it certainly seems like there's 4,000 different options, with racks on racks of bottles, stacked as high as a hardware store aisle. It's enough to make any wine lover tremble with excitement.

Of course, you don't become an adult beverage powerhouse overnight: Donna Harren, who is in charge of not only selecting the wines for sale at Tacoma Boys, but also their extensive craft beer selection, says that it was a slow process that brought them to where they are today.

"Well, we started really small; we had just a handful of wines, and they were doing really well for us, so we built up a little bit, and got bigger and bigger, until we ended up with this," Harren said.

Harren also says that they achieved their lofty status simply by using the opposite method as everyone else.

"We try to be different than a lot of the other stores," Harren said. "We do a lot of sampling, a lot of trying new things. We have a lot more boutique-type wines that you don't see in a lot of places."

Harren also mentions that perhaps one chief reason why Tacoma Boys always seems to find top-notch wine is that they literally go out and try each variety they sell to ensure it's up to their standards.

"Mostly, we meet with sales reps and sample through different wines, meet with importers, meet with wine makers. Occasionally, we'll take the drive down to the vineyards ourselves," Harren said.

Tacoma Boys might be skilled in a few different categories; their craft beer choices are excellent, and of course, they did get famous from their fresh produce. Still, their nearly infinite wine selection is what truly puts them over the top. They are proof that you don't have to sacrifice quality in pursuit of quantity.

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