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The Short Version: Located in Lower Manhattan, City Winery provides a high-class escape from the crowded New York City streets. Couples can enjoy a glass of wine, listen to live music, and dine together within the winery’s 21,000-square-foot facility. You can foster a sense of sophistication and intimacy on your next date by making a reservation or arranging a private event at the winery’s Barrel Room Wine Bar and Restaurant, which features wine-inspired local cuisine. Many couples have chosen to have their weddings at City Winery because its hands-on and all-inclusive event packages are just too good to pass up. Plus, couples can make their own custom bottles of wine to take home as a souvenir of their experience. From its evening concerts to its Valentine’s Day specials, City Winery offers a relaxing and engaging place to connect with someone special.
I never pass up a chance to do a wine tasting with friends, dates, cousins, neighbors, and pretty much anyone who asks. I developed a taste for wine while drinking sangria with my college roommate in Spain, so rich and fruity red wines always bring back fond memories for me.
It’s fun to clink glasses with someone and see them loosen up as you experience different tastes and try to develop a discerning palate. Personally, I still can’t really tell the difference between a $20 bottle of Merlot and a $98 bottle of Merlot — but I’m game to keep trying.
Visiting a classy winery on a date can be a great way to bond and create a long-lasting relationship over a shared taste for wine. For New Yorkers, City Winery is a go-to destination filled with opportunities for romance.
Founder and CEO Michael Dorf established the winery in 2008 because he wanted to create a place where music and wine intermingled. He wanted to set people at ease and let them indulge their senses. Whether you’re attending a concert, a happy hour, or a private event at City Winery, you’re guaranteed to have a memorable time sampling world-class wines. Go ahead and drink up because there’s plenty to go around.
In the fall of 2017, City Winery crushed 68 tons of grapes and stocked 13 varieties of wine in 233 barrels. Aliénor Reisner, the winery’s Event Director, said, “We have everything from sparkling wine to dessert wine to rosé and classic Napa Cabernet.”
City Winery got its start in New York City, but it has since expanded to locations in Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, and Boston. These high-end wineries attract daters who enjoy the finer things in life.
“Our mission statement,” Aliénor told us, “is to provide a gathering place that is the best combination of culinary and cultural arts in a beautiful and comfortable setting that celebrates life and provides pleasure to all who enter.”
Not only does City Winery make a great date location; it also has a history of hosting marriage proposals and weddings for sophisticated couples in New York. Couples who have gone on multiple dates to the winery’s Barrel Room Restaurant often decide to tie the knot at this beautiful venue. The City Winery team customizes weddings to fit all sorts of budgets and sensibilities.
“We are an all-inclusive venue, which allows for a lot of flexibility,” Aliénor said. “I personally work with couples to build a day that will reflect their personalities — whether they want a traditional or non-traditional reception, an unusual ceremony setup or no ceremony at all, or even a surprise wedding!”
Engaged couples can go on a 45-minute tour of City Winery to get a feel for how the space works for a wedding. Aliénor told us she always ends her tours by offering the future bride and groom a glass of wine. Once they’ve been won over by the beauty of the winery, couples can select their desired food and beverage (they can select a favorite vintage or make and bottle their own custom wine), coordinate outside vendors, and work out the timeline for the big day.
Aliénor’s events management team works hard to make the wedding planning process go smoothly. They personally handle everything to do with the venue, including catering and furniture. As she said, “We put everything in place to make sure all they have to worry about on the day of is showing up, saying ‘I do,’ and having fun!”
When couples choose City Winery as their wedding venue, they get an all-inclusive package that takes the pressure off wedding planning.
“With us, they just need to book a band or DJ, floral decorations and a photographer or videographer — we take care of the rest,” Aliénor said. “People are drawn by our stage and the big names that have played here but they also love the wine-country feel right here in the city.”
“Aram and I had an incredible time, and we thank you so much for making it all happen,” wrote Marnie David, who got married at City Winery in 2012. “You made our wedding so beautiful and special while making it seem so effortless.”
According to Aliénor, City Winery’s staff is as diverse as its wine selection. Many staff members have a background in hospitality or entertainment and enjoy giving customers a reason to smile. Aliénor has a background organizing events in France and New York City. She feels right at home in the rich tapestry of experiences and personalities of people on the City Winery team.
A shared passion for music, entertainment, and wine unites the team. “What makes our culture so special is that City Winery allows for each individual to contribute to the success of the company by being their true self,” she said. “It is a great environment to be in!”
City Winery prioritizes giving back to the community in numerous ways. For instance, the team plans to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation Hurricane Maria wreaked on its crops by putting their boots on the ground on January 29, 2018. Employees will pitch in to rebuild farmlands and support local Puerto Ricans with duffle bags full of donated goods, including ground coffee, shovels, extension cords, and dehydrated milk.
Aliénor said City Winery has many expansion projects currently in the works as well. In addition to building wineries in more cities (the DC location will open in 2018), the NYC winery will be opening a second floor with space for private events, musical entertainment, and other dining (and drinking!) experiences.
The City Winery facility is known throughout New York for its world-class wines and personable staff members. The winery delivers a unique culinary and cultural experience to couples seeking to get away from the big city for an afternoon or an evening. The company’s mantra is “indulge your senses,” which sounds pretty romantic to me.
“Many of our couples had their first date in the Barrel Room restaurant, and then became regulars and decided to host their weddings with us,” Aliénor said. “We’re very proud to be part of their big day and the beginning of their new lives together.”
The event-planning team’s commitment to customer satisfaction has earned them praise from couples across the state. “Everything was perfect,” wrote Chad and Leah about their rehearsal dinner at the winery. “Our guests loved the beautiful setting, the delicious food, the great wine, and the helpful service.”
Over the years, City Winery has welcomed many customers into its family of wine connoisseurs. Even The New York Times is a fan. Columnist Eric Asimov wrote in a review, “With a lineup of good musicians as well as interesting winemakers who will be offering talks and tastings, I’ve got a lot of reasons to want to hang out at City Winery.”
Whether the team is hosting a private family event or a large wedding reception, City Winery provides an intimate and upscale backdrop for life’s special moments.
“It’s a very big responsibility to host a wedding,” Aliénor said. “Our team is extremely dedicated to making sure the experience is memorable for them.”
If my date suggested we go to a local winery, I’d be thrilled to be with someone who really gets me. When you share common interests with someone — whether it’s a passion for live music or a thirst for custom wines — you can grow closer by indulging yourselves in an intimate space.
NYC’s City Winery provides that space. Romance ferments and relationships ripen as customers sip wine in the winery’s tasting room, restaurant, and private event areas.
“The food was spectacular from start to finish, and the wine was wonderful.” — Jillian Reid in a testimonial for City Winery
Since 2008, NYC’s City Winery’s 21,000-square-foot facility has combined high-quality wine and heart-thumping music to foster a unique venue that promises to give couples many fond memories. Whether you’re planning a first date or a wedding, you can use the winery’s tasting rooms and ballrooms to add some romance (and some wine) to your time together.