By Kate Harvie
New York City has no shortage of places to go at night. Drinking, eating, learning, and hearing live music are possible all over the boroughs. And City Winery is the place where you will experience all of those things. Manhattan’s only winery with a blend-your-own-barrel winemaker and education program was founded on New Year’s Eve 2008 by Michael Dorf, known to many as the creator of the Knitting Factory and a veteran concert promoter.
The jury is still out on whether multi-tasking is a viable thing, but there is no question that the vintages, concierge winemaking service, terrific gourmet food, and some of the finest musicians blend beautifully here. At City Winery, you can drink a rich Bordeaux with grapes sourced from Oregon, California, or New York while seeing singer Bebel Gilberto, whom I checked out last year. You can also eat a spectacular salmon crudo with avocado, yellow tomato, and tamarindo vinaigrette in the Barrel Room while waiting to collect the bottles you selected after learning about the blends’ flavors and notes. Either way, you will love what’s happening in the 140-year-old industrial building that houses this inventive institution.
Dorf and music programmer Shlomo Lipetz pair musicians such as Philip Glass, Joni Mitchell, Amos Lee, and Radiohead’s performances with wines made on-site. Whether you want to be a part of everything from crushing to bottling, or you want to design the labels, you will find every aspect of winemaking at City Winery and master wine strategist David Lecomte works with you to ensure your bottle is terrific. Memberships include fees, grape costs, and aging barrels. The investment is well worth it.
The space of City Winery is expansive, yet one way the building is made more intimate is through musical residencies. Artists will perform a few shows per week, and the closeness and vulnerability of the evening goes along beautifully with wine.
Vinophiles, City Winery’s rewards program, offers frequent guests benefits such as getting advanced notice on tastings and shows, the chance to buy tickets without service fees, earn credits for money spent at the restaurant, have the wines they consume on premises recorded, and receive recommended wines by an in-house sommelier. For more information about City Winery, check out their website http://www.citywinery.com
155 Varick Street