- Title: USA: Manhattan opens its first do-it-yourself winery
- Date: 19th December 2008
- Summary: STAFF CLEANING FLOOR IN FRONT OF STAINLESS STEEL WINE VATS OAK BARRELS OF WINE
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2009 12:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVADVXI1DC0ID60W98HE25JERNWN
- Story Text: Manhattan opens its first city winery/performance space where members can make their own wine. It's all about celebrating the love of wine and culture.
Story: Bringing the vines to the people, Manhattan has opened its first winemaking facility where members can participate in as much or as little of the process as they want.
"City Winery is a combination actual winery and facility to enjoy wine," said City Winery CEO and Founder Michael Dorf.
"Some people would call those facilities restaurants, some might call them wine bars, others would call it a club. I think we've combined all of those elements into a really fun place - a temple for wine lovers."
Along with a bar and restaurant City Winery boasts a performance space that will stage concerts by the likes of Joan Osbourne, Steve Earle and Philip Glass in the coming months. The real draw for wine enthusiasts though is the winery where members can get involved from crushing the grapes to bottling the final product, fine-tuning the wine's taste along the way.
"There's a limited number of members, we're calling it, to be become a barrel owner for the year,' said Dorf. "They pay an annual membership fee for the year, which is five thousand dollars (USD), then there's the cost of the barrel and you have the choice of new French Oak or used or American Oak so there's a variety of pricing there. And then the grapes that we are sourcing mostly come from California, a little bit from Oregon, a little bit from New York."
Urban wineries are popping up all over the United States most notably in San Francisco and Oregon but even in cities that are not generally associated with wine like Kansas City and Dallas. Experts say the high price of land for vineyards in Napa or Long Island are too great for most newcomers who want to get into the wine business. Urban wineries offer a good alternative. By shipping in the grapes, the costs are greatly reduced and the other advantage is the proximity to greater numbers of consumers.
Members at City Winery get to make one barrel of wine which equals approximately 296 bottles. Many of the members are businessmen who plan on offering their personalized wine as corporate gifts but others join just to learn about the process.
"The client will be able to taste the wine through the process and understand all the steps of winemaking, understand the surprise we are facing, understand the challenge we are facing, understand also the choices we have to make and the consequences of those choices from the winemaking point-of-view," said City Winery's head winemaker David Lecomte.
Marc Rosenberg, a barrel owner, who has two barrels of wine in the making said he visits the winery at least once a week just to taste his creation.
"For me it was the opportunity of being a part of creating something that's yours, that's sort of got your characteristic built into it.
I mean it's a thrill for me," he said.
City Winery officially launches its performance space on New Years Eve.
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