WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving is doing a special series on Hudson Square, the neighborhood that is home to all six CBS Radio stations in New York City. To view the other reports, click here.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Making wine in New York City is not a matter of having acres of vineyard outside your door, WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving reported.
WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving On The Story
One entrepreneur has found that a 19th century brick building in Hudson Square meets the requirements quite well.
A cheerful buzz greets those who enter one restaurant in Hudson Square where it’s often packed because a live music performance is about to begin.
But elsewhere in the building, the real business was under way – in absolute silence. This is City Winery.
Think Tuscany near the Holland Tunnel or California five blocks north of Canal Street.
“You’re welcome to put a microphone up to a barrel of wine,” owner and co-founder Michael Dorf told Irving. “However, it’s sort of like watching paint dry.”
It was created four years ago and it’s the only winery in Manhattan.
“No one’s really doing what we’re doing, which is going to the best sources of grapes from around the world,” he said. “Hudson Square is one of the rare places in Manhattan where you still have some mixed-use manufacturing. It’s one of the few places that we could get the amount of space to both make wine and put on 350-person concerts.”
They also offer classes.
“People can come down and actually work with our winemaker, learn about the process, have their own barrel of wine,” he said.
But that “I Love Lucy” moment you may have been hoping for is out of the question.
“That classic image of Lucy Ricardo crushing the grapes is not really appropriate, and I’m not sure the New York City Board of Health would like lots of feet,” Dorf said.
One part of the equipment is reserved for making Kosher wine.
“Only a religious Jew, not a bad Jew like me, can actually touch the wine from the moment the grapes show up until it’s bottled,” Dorf said. “So that’s why it’s taped off here with O.U. We have one dedicated barrel for the fementing.”
City Winery is located at Varick and Vandam Streets.
What’s your favorite spot in Hudson Square? Sound off in the comments section below.