Shrewsbury-based Tanners, which was named Independent Merchant of the Year at the 2015 International Wine Challenge, has built up its business by opening stores in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Wales.
Now owner James Tanner aims to boost trade in Cheshire and expand northwards.
He said: “With our Shropshire base, Tanners is often called the ‘wine merchant of the Welsh Marches’, so Chester was the next logical step, bringing the number of branches up to seven.
“I have had my eye on this particular site for many years and, being old auction rooms, it has plenty of space to create a great retail experience to serve the many private and trade customers Tanners already enjoys in Cheshire, as well as expanding our reach northwards.”
That puts it in closer competition with Corks Out, which has a store in Chester and five more nearby.
The new branch of Tanners has filled an imposing art deco building created as a cinema that was never used for that purpose due to the outbreak of war.
In recent years it has been occupied by a variety of businesses including Phillips auctioneers, Blockbuster video and Bonhams’ Chester saleroom.
It will carry 800 lines of wine and spirits, and feature a tasting room and a wine dispensing machine offering tasting samples to shoppers, while wine lovers can also benefit from a local delivery service.