New York wines, long overshadowed by their West Coast brethren, are getting new respect, at least in the retail world. Today, Vintage New York, a SoHo shop selling only wines and food products from New York state, is opening its doors to the public.
The project is the brainchild of Robert Ransom, founder of Rivendell Winery in New York's Hudson Valley, and Susan Wine, former co-owner of The Quilted Giraffe, a Manhattan restaurant that closed in 1992.
Few wine shops, even in New York City, carry more than a handful of New York state bottlings, so how do Wine and Ransom think they are going to succeed with a New York-only store? A major reason is that all 150 wines sold there are available to taste. "The wine business has learned that if you put the wine in peoples mouths, they get to make their own decisions," said Wine.
Wine added that they already tested the idea in 1998 by putting 40 other New York state wines on sale at Rivendell's tasting room in the Hudson Valley. There, the bottles sold easily, she said.
With two tasting bars, one on the main floor and one downstairs, Vintage New York's patrons will have plenty of room to sample. Flight tastings cost $5, which is refunded with a purchase of more than $45.
Following a recent trend in wine marketing, the bottles in the store are arranged not by varietal but by style. More than 50 wineries throughout Long Island, the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley are represented, including Wvlffer Estate Sagpond Vineyards, Ospreys Dominion and Wagner. Most of the wines are priced from $7 to $25.
The shop also sells artisanal specialty foods from New York, such as Hudson Valley foie gras, Coach Farm cheeses and Catsmo smoked fish. As Vintage New York is legally an auxiliary of Rivendell Winery, it is free to sell wine and food together and to stay open on Sundays, unlike other Manhattan wine shops.
The store, at the corner of Broome and Wooster streets, also has a room for private parties or group tastings. In addition, Ransom and Wine are creating a Web site (www.vintagenewyork.com) from which New York state residents can order any of the wines sold at the shop. They also have plans to publish a related book.
"Our limitation is our niche," Wine says. "We can only sell New York wines, and we cant ship outside of New York state. Those are my boundaries."
Vintage New York
482 Broome St.
New York NY 10013
Telephone: (212) 226-9463
Fax: (212) 226-8812
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. (From July 17 through July 21, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.)