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Explore for Wine in New York City - Adventures in NYC Wine Tasting

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 7/25/2006 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  Visit New York City to drink wine? It's been done before, but did you say that you're bored with what you've been finding? Or, do you live in Manhattan, but would like to extend your oenological endeavors beyond neighborhood shops? In either case, let me share a few tips with you on how to have more fun exploring and improving your chances of finding worthy bottles.

Variety is the spice of wine

New York is nothing if not diverse. This applies to the people of the city, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and, yes, the wine stores. There are hundreds of wine stores in Manhattan, specializing in everything from discount bottlings on the cheap (think Yellow Tail Shiraz for about $5) to delicate, rare wines that will cost a bit - to possibly very much - more.

Let's say that you want to make a big pop at a party. Well, how about a nice, 15-liter bottle of Drappier champagne? It stands about four feet tall and costs just $1,500 at Crush. It'll quench a lot of thirsts, plus fire up many elements of surprise.

Without an action plan, however, most people never see the exotic. Instead, they wander in and out of wine stores, hoping to stumble upon flavorful finds. My point is that if you want to find New York's special bottles, do some research before stepping out.

Chart it

And, of course, the Internet is full of resources, so explore! One of my favorite interactive wine-store maps (admittedly not a huge genre) is at www.drvino.com. Find a geographic area of interest. Learn more about the shops (visit their sites, for example), then chart your course.

Taste, learn, drink

Promotion is the name of the game, and in this respect, New York City and its wine shops are unmatched. At Crush, for example, we have a room specifically for tasting and bottles are open whenever the store is open. Additionally, you'll often find importers, distributors, and even the winemakers in the store pouring their wares. Events like these are often free, and are always fun.

Likewise, many wine shops in NYC have similar (and free) tastings – some very regularly. So, again, do a bit of research on-line, or else, call around and inquire. Taking advantage of promotions is a great way to taste new wines, learn a bit, and drink, all for free or a very low fee!

Take classes

If you're looking for better ideas on how you can explore, consider taking a class at one of New York's better wine stores or universities, or with specialty consultants.

At Crush, we hold classes of all kinds quite frequently – generally once or twice a month. From a number of beginner classes ("Wine 101," "Old World versus New World Wines," "The Noble Varietals"), to more specialized classes, there's always something fun going on. While prices vary according to what's being poured, courses are very affordable and usually take only an hour or so of your time.


This is widely known, and widely forgotten: Most stores offer discounts for purchases of a case or more (a case is 12 bottles of wine). Think about it. This is a great deal:

    Some math here is very rewarding. If you're buying a case of wine, and each bottle costs $10, well, we're looking at $120 for a case. Now, let's go ahead and take 10% off – that's $12 and all of a sudden you've gotten 12 bottles of wine for the price of 11. Sometimes I think that if the deal was reworded to "Buy 11 bottles, get one free," people would be breaking down the door (or at least be buying more cases).


I know what you're thinking: Great deal, but I don't have a car in the city and I don't want to carry a case of wine back to my place. Understood. So make the wine store do it for you.

Think of your local wine store in the same way you think of a Chinese restaurant. Call up and order a delivery! Depending on your location, many wine stores have generous minimum delivery requirements (at Crush, if you're in the neighborhood, you only need to buy two bottles, or spend $50, to qualify for free delivery). If you buy by the case, most shops will deliver it for free pretty much anywhere in the city. Just ask!

While at the hotel. . .

Staying at a hotel and don't feel like paying $30 for a half-bottle of crap chardonnay? Call a wine shop and have a few good bottles delivered for the same price. Want to go deluxe? Have your bottles delivered directly to the hotel, then ask the staff at the reception desk to make arrangements for bottle opening. Of course, there'll be a tip involved.

Staying in Brooklyn?

Keep in mind that while wine deliveries throughout Manhattan are now very common, ask about delivery to the outer boroughs.

Live really far away?

Can't stand the idea of going home without a case of the fabulous, oxidized white wine from Arbois? (Who could?) Don't! With developments in interstate shipping regulations, you may very well be able to easily ship wine home.

Best of all, most wine shops will make all the arrangements and all you have to pay are shipping charges. How easy is that?

Whether Weather?

But consider the weather! When ordering to go, tell the shop not to ship until weather is permitting. You do not, for example, want to boil your wine during transit. Once it's home, safe from temperature fluctuations, open, sip, and savor the rewards of your New York City wine explorations!

Questions or comments?
Stephen Bitterolf
Crush Wine & Spirits

   153 E. 57th Street
   Between Lexington and 3rd Avenues
   New York, NY 10022
   212 980-9463

About Stephen Bitterolf: In addition to knowing his way around a decent bottle of wine, Mr. Bitterolf is an accomplished fine artist, as you will see by visiting www.Bitterolf.org.

Article by Stephen Bitterolf. First published on 7/25/2006. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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