Champion owner Emile Ninaud possesses Seattle's very first wine license: He opened in 1969 and works there to this day. Though he's French by birth, he's made Champion a snobbery-free zone, with wine novices welcome and an emphasis on good value for whatever your budget may be. His Saturday drop-in wine tastings—from the more than 1,500 bottles in stock, with tons from France—are all about "obscure wines from obscure regions," he says. FREE.
DeLaurenti in Pike Place Market offers free wine tastings upstairs in their wine department every Saturday, and—bonus!—the nice people there pair the selections with some of their more than 250 kinds of cheese, samples from their wall of olive oils, and other assorted tastinesses. Past tastings have included ports paired with Stilton cheese and (separately) Veuve Cliquot champagne (!). Check their website to find out which wines they'll be uncorking. Free.
Behemoth SODO wine emporium Esquin offers free wine tastings every Thursday and Saturday, with themes like "92 Points and Above," "Viva Argentina," and "Under $10 Specials." Sometimes winemakers join in, and snacks are not unheard of. Check their website to find out which wines they're uncorking. Free.
McCarthy & Schiering claims to be the oldest wine shop in Seattle; it is not. But they were recognized as retailer of the year by Food & Wine in 1998 and as one of the "top 10 small specialty shops featuring wines from Piedmont and Tuscany” by GQ in 2004. They offer free wine tastings at both their Ravenna and Queen Anne stores every Saturday, with winemakers often there for discussion purposes. Free.
Civilized but not-too-schmancy wine shop Portalis offers free tastings on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of regulars show up, particularly Ballard-farmers-market shoppers on Sundays. Those people sound smart. Free.