unnamed (1)

New York (December 17, 2014) – City Winery, the unique 300-seat music venue with locations in NY, Chicago, Napa and Nashville, has announced today a major innovation with its mobile ticketing program. The “luxury concert venue,” founded by Knitting Factory founder Michael Dorf, released the “seat-picking” system when it launched its own proprietary ticketing platform in 2008. Since then, the company has experienced tremendous growth in sales with upwards of 300,000 tickets selling a year and 90% of the 300-seat shows selling out on a monthly basis—all tickets sold through their own website.


City Winery has also created a unique membership program for its guests, with a number of perks including a 48-hour advance notice on all shows, zero ticketing fees, a rewards program, and a feature called “virtual sommelier” offering customized suggestions for wines to try or shows to see based on the customer’s previous consumption. The new program will allow members to pick their top 5 favorite seats, a perk that has never been offered before. When new shows are announced, customers will receive notice on their smart phone via the weekly e-mailers and they can then purchase their favorite seat with just one touch.


“The customer relationship has been at the heart of our model from the very beginning. We are trying to use technology as a tool to improve the ‘user experience’ while at the same time apply a Danny Meyer level of ‘hospitality’ to our process,” says Michael Dorf. “We are in a rare position to have a small enough venue that allows us to have direct relationships with our customers and therefore offer a level of unprecedented service to our members. “


The company currently has over 5000 paid memberships, called “vinofiles”, growing on a monthly basis. With new venues in more markets, City Winery expects this number to grow approximately 100% in the next year. “Some people join the membership to get advance notice on shows that will sell out quickly, while others appreciate the economics and savings on the typically high fees charged by other ticketing services,” Dorf says. “Some also really enjoy how the system records their wine consumption and makes recommendations. For us, our ultimate goal is to consider the entire customer experience from when they first learn about a show or wine tasting all the way to the memory the next day. The ticketing is a big part of the process and we think this 1-click “favorite seat” upgrade really makes the mobile purchase much easier.”


About City Winery:

City Winery, founded in 2008, strives to deliver the highest-end combined culinary and cultural experience to urban wine enthusiasts. They are a unique facility located in several cities in the US including New York, Chicago, Napa and Nashville. The brand combines a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts, food & wine classes, private-events and fine dining. City Winery has created a compelling mix for their sophisticated clientele of foodies, and active cultural patrons bringing the wine country experience to the heart of large cities.

Click here for more information about the VinoFile membership

Bordeaux Dinner with Pasternak


Everyone loves wine, but not everyone gets the chance to actually learn about what they are drinking! One of the most unique aspects of our urban winery here at City Winery Chicago is our wine education program, which allows us to maximize the wine experience and share the wonderful world of wine with our customers. We offer a wide range of wine education events, including “wine school” series with our winemaker, as well as wine dinners focusing on a specific group of regions in which our guests can not only taste wines and foods of those regions, but also learn about their history and origins as well, which makes for a fulfilling wine experience!

This past week we held an exceptionally special and eloquent wine dinner: Bordeaux Around the World with Pasternak. Nearly 25 guests joined us with our beverage director Rachel Speckan and Jason Blanford of Pasternak Wine Imports for the exclusive opportunity to taste highly coveted wines from the Château Lafite Rothschild portfolio, accompanied by delectable dishes inspired by the regions of each wine. The wine list included a classic Bordeaux vintage, Los Vascos ‘Grande Reserve’ from Chile, Bodegas Caro ‘Amancaya’ Gran Reserva and Bodegas Caro ‘Caro’ from Argentina, and Champagne Baron de Rothschild from Champagne, France. Take a look at the full menu below!

image5 (1) P1040852 image3 image1

Course 1:Baby Vegetables, Middle Eastern Couscous with Pesto, and Nudja Spread
Wine: Los Vascos Grande Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Colchagua, Chile

Course 2: Bison Tartar, Fried Quail Egg, Caper Berries, Blackberry Moutard, Charred Shishito pepper, and Grilled Country Bread
Wine: Bodegas Caro Amancaya 2011 Gran Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Sauvingon from Mendoza, Argentina

Course 3: Duet of Bacon wrapped Petite Filet Mignon, Braised Wild Mushrooms, Bearnaise, Grilled Mini Lamb Rack, Spiced Black Bean Puree, and Red Chimichurri
Wine 1: Chateau Lafite Rothschild Duhart-Milon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Wine 2: Bodegas Caro Caro from Mendoza, Argentina

Course 4: Milk Poached French Merengue, Vanilla Soup, Orange Marmalade, and Port Reduction
Wine: Champagne Baron de Rothschild Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Champagne, France


While enjoying each course, Jason and Rachel provided our guests with a brief history of the wine in their glass including the region where it is made, its character, age, etc. We all had the chance to discuss not only our thoughts about the food and wine, but also our backgrounds and where our interest and appreciation for wine came from, and we all got to know each other as much as the few hours together allowed. Several business cards were even exchanged!

Arranging wine events such as the Bordeaux Dinner allow our guests to enjoy so much more than food and wine, and we truly believe that anyone interested at all in wine should experience them. If you are interested in finding out more about our wine events, or if you are looking to attend another, be sure to take a look at our wine events on our website! 

Check out more photos of the Bordeaux Wine dinner below!

P1040836 P1040838 P1040842 P1040845

Holiday Wine Pop-Up Shop on 12/16 5-9pm

Instogram (9)

Join us on December 16th for the holiday wine pop-up shop located in the Winery! Free wine sampling, raffle & gift packages available – stock up on seasonal favorites for all of the special people you’re gifting to!

Holiday Lineup and Celebrations @ City Winery Napa


Come celebrate the Holidays at City Winery and enjoy all the seasonal entertainment we have to offer. City Winery also offers full food and drink service during the show. It is a great destination for smaller companies looking for a fun way to have a different and exciting holiday party.   Bring the team for food and drinks and then enjoy a show together.

 Coming to City Winery Napa: Mike Birbiglia 12.12, NVOH presents All Things Holiday 12.14, NVOH Presents Riders in the Sky: Christmas the Cowboy Way 12.16, Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola 12.17, Howie Day 12.18, Afrolicious 12.19, NVOH presents Voena: Voices of the Season, NVOH presents Sing! Napa Valley: Wintersongs, and The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Ensemble 12.23.

City Winery Napa is proud to partner with Do It For The Love. 

do it for the Love

Hope. Healing. Music. That’s what the Do It For the Love Foundation is all about. The nonprofit wish-granting organization, founded by musician Michael Franti and ER nurse Sara Agah, brings people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges, and wounded veterans to live concerts and other music experiences. Through the healing power of music, the goal of Do It For the Love is to inspire joy, hope, and lasting celebratory memories in the face of severe challenge. Visit to nominate yourself or someone you know for a wish grant today – any concert, any artist, any venue. – share the healing power of music with someone who needs it most!

And, this holiday season, join Do It For The Love in their Holiday Wish Grant campaign. The goal is to fund 50 wish grants by Dec 31. Visit to join the campaign today and make a difference!

Family Bonding Over Blending Wine at City Winery: The Village Voice


By Lauren Mowery
Published Fri., Dec. 5 2014 

During adolescence, parents often teach their children the maxim that the best gift they can give is the one they make. Does it follow, then, that a better gift would be one you make with your parents? In the case of the Browns, it overwhelmingly does.

As the holidays draw near, millions of Americans prepare for the annual onslaught of familial obligations coupled with the mania of shopping for an array of presents; some view the season with dread, while others genuinely enjoy the chance to bond with relatives. For the Browns, connecting takes the form of uncorking a bottle of their very own Brown Family Reserve, a wine they blended together at City Winery (155 Varick Street, 212-608-0555) in New York to give away throughout the holidays to clients and friends.

Jeff Brown, a principal of Charles Street Capital (a real estate development firm active in Brooklyn), first approached his father, Doug Brown, with the idea of making their own wine almost three years ago. “I was telling him about a barrel that a colleague, Steve van der Zwan, also an investor of City Winery, had commissioned, and how he had given bottles out as holiday gifts,” recalls Jeff.

As a longtime wine lover, Doug, a former lawyer now partner in Charles Street Capital, liked the idea: “We thought commissioning a barrel would be a lot of fun and could potentially be good for business.” They contacted the the director of wine sales at City Winery, Raul Mesias, to solicit more details and set up their first consultation.

City Winery is a one-of-a-kind operation. Located in downtown Manhattan on the western edge of Soho, it’s the brainchild of well-known Knitting Factory founder Michael Dorf. The project was born of his passion for both wine and music, leading to the amalgamation that is now New York’s only fully-functioning winemaking facility that also serves as a 21,000 square foot restaurant and event space, equipped with a stage, state-of-the-art sound system, and in-house A/V.

Perhaps cooler than the fact that concert goers can drink wine made in the cellar below while listening to first-rate blues, jazz, and rock bands above, is that City Winery offers aspiring vintners access to try their hand at crafting wine in an urban setting.

To fulfill winemaking dreams, however, prospective vintners have to buy into a barrel. There are several levels of opportunity ranging from sharing one to purchasing the entire container of juice which yields around 21 to 23 cases. Jeff and his dad opted to go big. Says Doug: “We thought that we were getting pretty good value, but I can’t lie. The idea was daunting. With 23 cases, you don’t want something you don’t want to drink.”

Fortunately, all members of the barrel program have access to City Winery’s chief winemaker and Rhône Valley native David Lecomte. With a degree in viticulture, a masters in enology and winemaking, and stints in several well-known wine regions in France, Virginia, and New York under his belt, Lecomte ensures his client’s wines don’t disappoint.

“We found the prospect of blending a bit unnerving because when we tried it before in Rutherford, we didn’t really like what we made,” Doug says. “But a professional winemaker at City Winery wasn’t going to let it get screwed up. There is the element of risk if you end up not being happy. But that makes it fun.”

After selecting the size of their commitment, both in volume and expense (the program isn’t cheap, ranging from $29 to $38 per bottle, depending on grape variety and vineyard) the Browns had to decide on the wine. Options range from whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Chardonnay to reds like Pinot Noir and Syrah. But Jeff and his dad, longtime Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux lovers, chose a muscular 2010 Napa Cab from the Bettinelli Vineyard in Yountville as the base for a Bordeaux-style blend. “We wanted to make what we drink,” says Jeff.


While some participants opt to be involved with their wine-child from birth (crush) to bottle — a very long, delayed gratification process for those making age-worthy reds — the Browns picked a base wine already in oak from the previous vintage. While that shaved off a year of the process, it still took nearly 18 months from joining the program before they would be drinking a bottle with a steak off the grill.

Members are invited to various events throughout the year to keep them engaged while their wines evolve. City Winery hosts both a spring and fall harvest party (it sources grapes from vineyards in both hemispheres), allows four private barrel tastings (to check on the wine’s development), plus offers access to a Wine 101 Education Series with Lecomte. Other benefits include VinoFile Membership, wine and cheese pairing classes, and advance notice of festivals, events, and musical performances.

In the meantime, the Browns worked with the in-house designer, included with their package, to craft a label. Fond of the simple but elegant Châteaux images that grace many bottles from Bordeaux, the Browns submitted a photo of their family home for the design.

After two years in barrel, their Cab was deemed rested and ready to go. Gathering at City Winery, they met Lecomte for their blending session. “By definition, we were getting a big Cab,” says Doug. “We wanted to soften it up and give it a longer finish. It reminded me of being in a chemistry lab. After two hours, we took a vote, resulting in the final wine, the Brown Family Reserve.”

When asked how the wine turned out, especially after the long wait and financial investment, Doug remarks: “We’ve given away at least half of it. It makes a great calling card and ice breaker with our business clients, and we often bring our own wine to someone’s dinner. We had a college friend who is pretty knowledgeable about wine, and he said, ‘It’s a good thing this wine is really good since you have a lot of it.'”

The Browns liked the experience and their wine so much they’ve gone back for a second barrel, another Napa Cab, this time from Diamond Mountain. “We have been really happy with it, obviously, enough if we’d do it again,” says Doug.

Lauren Mowery is a wine and travel writer based in NYC. She blogs at Chasing the Vine.Follow Lauren on Twitter @ChasingtheVine

Click here for the full article:


City Winery Nashville Hosts 3st of the Month

We know eveCity Winery 3stry day is a good day to drink wine, but in Nashville there is a club that takes their drinking seriously on the 3rd of every month called 3st of the Month. Tonight we host 3st’s December event and we couldn’t be more excited because the theme of the event is one of our favorite topics, Sparkling Wine! Our Wine Director David Mensch shared a post on 3st’s blog this morning explaining more about the sparkling wine we’ll be showcasing at tonight’s event.


With our December 3st of the Month “Bubbles” event at City Winery tonight, we’re really getting excited about showcasing dozens of different sparkling wines. What we never expected is that our amazing hosts would be pulling additional bottles from their cellar to share with our members and their guests as well. The following is a guest blog post from City Winery’s Wine Director, David Mensch, where you’ll certainly see why sparkling wine is so much a part of City Winery.

Sparkling wine at City Winery is not just part of our wine program because it has to be. For me, Champagne and sparkling wine from around the world is an integral part of wine and food pairing.

Everyone’s tastes and styles can be represented within a sparkling wine; from a lush Rosé Champagne to a bone dry sparkling Chenin Blanc. You can pair rabbit with a dry Lambrusco and of course the ubiquitous Champagne pairs with basically anything from fried chicken to foie gras.

Sparkling wine can sometimes be overlooked as just something to start with, but for me it is what I power through my dinner with. The thing that makes sparkling wine important to me is the craft that goes into making a Champenoise-style sparkler. The art of blending 50 still wines, hand riddling bottles for 2 years and bottle conditioning for an extra 4 years is something that is uncommon in the wine world. Champagne is the highest elevation of wine art.

We’re very excited to share five of my favorite sparkling wines with the 3st of the Month guests:

Szigeti Sparkling Gruner Veltliner NV

Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut NV

Codorniu Brut “Anna” Cava NV

La Collina Lambrusco NV

Henri Giraud “Espirit du Rose” NV

For more information on 3st of the Month, click here.