First Plates by Chef Kristin Beringson

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After pacing, stocking, prepping and plating, Chef Kristin Beringson’s food menu came to life on plates as the kitchen team served our staff for a menu training session yesterday.

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The restaurant opens to the public Thursday, October 2 at 5pm. Reservations are available via opentable.com or call 615.324.1010. We look forward to seeing you!

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City Winery Nashville: 48 Hours to Showtime

City Winery founder and CEO Michael Dorf had an aching head when he arrived at Nashville’s City Winery construction site this past week—not from overindulging in the exquisite wine his latest venue is serving up, but admittedly because of it.

“I rarely get headaches, and while I arrived with a cold from last week’s flight from Napa, upon returning to the construction site 48 hours before show time, I immediately got a pounding headache.”

And understandably so: Dorf’s newest project, the incredibly buzzed-about City Winery Nashville, was due to open in 48 hours as the premier venue for the city’s highly-anticipated Americana Music Association Festival and Conference.

And given that construction on the existing 36,000-ft warehouse had only begun a few months earlier, the show was far from ready to “go on.”

Phillip Before IMG_0867Pre-construction

As is the case with any grand debut or opening, stumbling blocks in the weeks and days leading up to the then-incomplete venue were anticipated—truthfully, they were expected, and Dorf admits he was surprisingly able to remain cool and collected. “I had complete confidence that both the operations team and production teams would be able to put on a show, move a crowd in and out, and serve them booze,” Dorf said. “I’ve certainly put on many a show in much worse, smaller, and less-than-ideal situations.”

But the obstacles facing Dorf in that moment of arrival extended far beyond the music. Questions about fire department sign-offs, insurance paperwork, legal and safety concerns—and not to be overlooked—the public’s perception of the venue all loomed over his already foggy head, thus explaining that pounding ache.

Luckily for the CEO, his dynamite team members were fully committed and deep in the trenches in those final 48 hours to showtime—experiencing a few headaches of their own on the road to success, some heartwarming and some downright hilarious.

Dolly_ErinStaff unloading venue chairs at Tennessee Brew Works who graciously let us store our tables and chairs with them during construction.

Michelle Albanese, Concert Manager for City Winery Nashville, was stressed, thanks to—wait for it: missing towels. “It’s my responsibility for making sure the artists are happy and have everything they need. Stage towels and water are basic requests for artists.”

Albanese recalls, “The day of the show, I knew I HAD to find them, and I so I went pod diving into a storage unity filled to the max with all the glassware for the entire space (a winery nonetheless). Crawling over boxes, under boxes, and wedged in between boxes, I was lots in a world of cardboard—and still couldn’t find them.”

One bad case of claustrophobia and one missing cell phone later, she located them, alright. “Opening that box was a wonderful feeling. End of story. None of the artists used them.”

Monday CW IMG_2039View of the venue from Monday, September 15

CW Building Staircase IMG_2197Welding the staircase on Monday, September 15.

For Raúl Mesías, Director of Wine Sales at City Winery NY, the journey to the successful launch of City Winery Nashville began with David Lecomte, CW’s chief winemaker, in New York, and was a little more arduous.

“Sunday at 5AM, we head to the winery in New York to pick up the truck with a goal to be in Nashville by Monday at 10AM. David and I drove 110 miles…and then truck broke down. We knew at that moment we had to transfer the whole load by hand—but we didn’t care. We were just eager to get to Nashville.”

The replacement truck arrived, and Mesías recalls that moment: seeing his comrade rolling kegs of wine and remembers the inspiration of getting the job done against the odds, erasing all of the pain and exhaustion they initially felt. By 2PM on Monday, the two were rolling out kegs once more…this time at their Music City destination. “The trip itself was quite an adventure!” Lecomte exclaimed.

Meanwhile back in Nashville, Chris Torri, AV Installation Manager, was experiencing a few technical glitches of his own. “We had no power, were missing part of our lighting package, and had nowhere to set up the sound board, much less plug it in!” he laments. “We were under the gun and needed to pull off the show.”

Torri remembers those two days as “excruciatingly painful,” but says, “We never took our eye off the prize.”

On Wednesday morning, just one day before the doors were set to open, lights were still being hung and cues were still being programmed—but progress was happening, and as the team continued to tirelessly work throughout the day, the room filled, the band took the stage, and the performance went off without a single hiccup.

CW Bryce Wed night AMA IMG_2313Bryce McCloud from Isle of Printing finished his wine bottle installation while the first AMA shows were happening in the venue. Wednesday, September 17.

It’s a million wonders that Marc Colletti, Production and Technical Director NY, recalls anything from those whirlwind 48 hours. Fresh off a plane from his honeymoon, Colletti had no time to prepare for the madness. “I only had time to go home, wash my clothes and hop a flight to Nashville from NY in time for sound checks.”

Firing up the PA system for the first time was both a thrilling and hectic experience for Colletti. “The floors were still being installed around me only hours before our first show.”

But once again, the hard work and dedication paid off. He says, “It’s hard to say what I enjoyed more. Being in the ‘do or die’ pressure cooker with the enormous weight and responsibility of facilitating the musicians to entertain their fans, or realizing that at the end of the evening, every member of the City Winery team came together to accomplish a fantastic evening without a hint of its actual urgency.”

Ed Greer, Chief Production Officer for City Winery arrived from NY just as the final 48 hours approached and immediately took charge of moving the site from a construction zone to a clean room ready to be set up and host the concerts.

“At 9.30pm we had 10 guys from the Rescue Mission next door arrive to move contractor tools, pallets of wood flooring and assorted building materials. They were great and at 10.30pm an overnight cleaning crew arrived and worked through until 4.30am to get everything clean and sparkling. The curtain installer arrived at 6.30am to hang the curtains in the now dust free space and the Nashville team were able to set tables and chairs and stock the bar.

Mike Simon who moved from CW Chicago to CW Nashville, clocked 13 miles on his pedometer during set up – I love that fact!

The floor install was completed at 2:30pm just as concert soundchecks were under way – a race for sure but one I knew we could (and had to) win.”

Mopping IMG952014091795024643438The floor being mopped in the very early morning hours on Wednesday, September 17.

For Phillip Katz, City Winery Construction Rep, the experience of opening City Winery Nashville meant making many personal sacrifices, including long days and nights away from his expectant wife, whose due date just happened to be this past week as well. “I had her full-on support—she’s amazing and I feel blessed.”

With his family far away, and his deadline a little too close for comfort, Katz decided to hunker down full-time in Tennessee, moving his Airstream (aka “Groove Tube”) to the So-Bro parking lot of the venue to serve as his home-base until the job was done.

He slept in the “Groove Tube” alone each night and was the first to unlock the gates for the contractors each morning at 6AM. Katz recalls, “I missed some significant personal, professional, and family milestones—some joyous and some painful, and I realized: if I was making the sacrifice, my efforts had to be successful. I realized: I could not confuse effort with results.”

And those efforts were rewarded. Katz was able to fly home for the birth of his first child, a beautiful daughter named Lilliana, and what’s more—he was able to bring his girls home back to Nashville and introduce them to the team as they worked around the clock until showtime.

David Richter, City Winery’s General Manager, remembers standing in the middle of the construction the morning of the big day. “I would have never thought we’d be standing in front of our doors ready and able to greet our first guests upon scheduled door time. Then I stepped back and remembered the teams that made it happen . . . all working in harmony with no fuss and plenty of smiles.”

IMG_7573Tuesday, September 16 at 5pm.

IMG_758524 hours later: Wednesday, September 17 at 5pm

Rebecca Spindler, Concierge Director for City Winery, won’t lie: she cracked open a few cold ones in anticipation of the final 48. With an optimistic mind, she and the team cleaned, trained ushers, arranged tables, set barricades and even installed an ATM on their own. “The night went off without a hitch for a bangin’ show!” Spindler recalls.

Anthony Aquilato, Production Manager and Sound Engineer, felt right at home amidst the insanity.

For Aquilato, the hustle of a rush opening was a familiar feeling, akin to his former days on the road.

“While I was touring in the 80s, we road dogs used the term ‘no sleep until Sydney’ all too frequently. Days upon days of back-to-back shows with little or no sleep,” he remembers. “Your crew was your platoon. Everyone was in it together. There was never a question of how or why—at 8PM, there WAS going to be a show.”

Fortunately, Aquilato found that same kinship and incredible work ethic with his City Winery team—and once again, he got to experience the incredible rush and sweet taste of success.

“The last 48 hours leading up to the opening of City Winery Nashville brought me back to those glory days of Rock and Roll. We all hit it hard and got it done. Everyone focused and working endlessly—there was a show to put on and come hell or high water, we were going to be ready.”

And ready they were: the shows launched beautifully last Wednesday with one of the Festival’s big award winners and starring attractions, Sturgill Simpson. The festival closed out on Sunday with Americana icon Lucinda Williams who will return to City Winery Nashville for three nights of shows November 24-26.

But there’s still more to be done and still more to come as the official opening of City Winery Nashville commences on Wednesday, October 1st—or as CEO Dorf (now free from his headache) teases, “The story is not over. The fat lady will sing only at the Grand Opening.”

15th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1City Winery Founder/CEO Michael Dorf welcomes Singer/Songwriter Jason Isbell and wife, Recording Artist Amanda Shires to the opening night of the Americana Music Festival. Wednesday, September 17 at 9PM.

(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)

 

Caleb Klauder Country BandCaleb Klauder Country Band was the first band to perform on the City Winery Nashville stage. Wednesday, September 17 at 10pm.

 

Americana Music Festival: Opening Night

We hosted our first official shows in the venue last night as the Americana Music Festival kicked off its long weekend of showcases. We hosted a full to capacity crowd who listened to Sturgill Simpson, Caleb Klauder Country Band and Lindi Ortega. Sturgill was the most anticipated set of the night and he delivered a blistering set that resulted in a standing ovation. Earlier that evening, Simpson won the Americana Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year award.

15th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1Sturgill Simpson – Rick Diamond/Getty Images

15th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1Sturgill Simpson – Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 7.25.28 PMCaleb Klauder Country Band is the first band to play the City Winery Nashville stage.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 7.25.12 PMLindi Ortega closed the evening with a rocking set that included a cover of the Bee Gees “To Love Somebody.”

Performing tonight is Grant-Lee Phillips, who will return to City Winery on November 5 with Howe Gelb, Linda Cantrell, Rodney Crowell, Joe Henry and Robyn Hitchcock.

Nashville Business Journal: Get to know SoBro’s newest tenant, City Winery Nashville

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A crew of workers was scurrying around City Winery Nashville, laying down wood floors and unloading tables and chairs, when I arrived for a tour Wednesday morning. The music venue-cum-working winery debuted last night, in a limited fashion, as an official venue for the Americana Music Festival.

The restaurant, which confirmed its entry into Nashville last August, will host its grand opening on Oct. 1.

City Winery Founder Michael Dorf, dressed in blue jeans, sneakers, and a ball cap, was among those scurrying around. He and his senior management team, all in town for the soft opening, were at the venue cleaning up into the early hours Wednesday morning.

“The encouragement is something I haven’t felt in any of the other [four City Winery] locations,” Dorf said of Nashville. “Our neighbors are going, ‘it’s so great you’re coming. We don’t need another music venue but we need your music venue.’”

Dorf, now in his early 50’s, made his name in music as founder of New York City’s famed venue The Knitting Factory. That club, a small space opened in 1987, catered to avant-garde jazz and rock acts, but City Winery Nashville, a sprawling 30,000 square foot renovated warehouse in SoBro, is targeting a different clientele.

“We are really a listening room,” said Dorf. “We’re focused on the seated listener, which works really well with the fan who has had a knee replacement.”

He was being tongue-in-cheek, but only slightly. Serving a full dinner menu of locally sourced food and over 400 wines (poured exclusively in Riedel glassware), City Winery aims to fill a gap in the music venue business. Doff wants to offer a higher-end concert going experience to people more like him: music fans who have either aged out of the raucous, late-night, standing-only music venues, or simply don’t want that.

“It’s for people who want to have a luxurious concert experience, who want a sight line and want to sit,” said Dorf. “In truth, we think we’ve built a better mousetrap.”

The acts he’s recruiting –Marketa Irglova (‘Once’), Macy Gray, and The Wood Brothers all in October, for example – fit a more intimate space. In Nashville, the music venue will seat between 300-325 people.

The main restaurant, split over two floors, will seat aroundt 125 people, with additional outdoor patio space. The full menu, which Dorf described as “wine-inspired, globally-influenced, and locally-sourced,” will be available in the music venue as well as the restaurant portion.

“This is the best looking room from a venue standpoint of the four [City Winery locations],” Dorf told me, standing on a second-story VIP balcony, overlooking the main floor music venue. “For me, it’s the manifestation of the mix of winery and music that hasn’t happened yet.”

The other three City Winery locations are in New York City, Chicago, and Napa Valley. From where we are standing on the balcony, you can see both the stripped-down City Winery stage and into the future working winery, shielded behind a sound-proof glass wall.

The winery won’t be fully operational until fall 2015, when the restaurant will bring in 100 tons of grapes from roughly 25 wineries in California, Oregon and Washington, with plans to purchase some fruit locally as well, for its first big crush.

More than 14 varietals of wine will be produced at City Winery Nashville, served from its on-tap system, which Dorf considers one of the restaurant’s most unique selling points. The wine is preserved in stainless steel kegs stored in temperature-controlled rooms, and poured via a tap system at the bar. He estimates that about 70 percent of the wine by the glass sold at City Winery is from the tap system, although the restaurant also has a 400 bottle wine list.

Located at 609 Lafayette Street, tucked behind the Rescue Mission in the part of SoBro dubbed “Pie Town,” City Winery is opening in one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in an already fast-growing city.

Like most expansions into Nashville, that growth is part of what attracted Dorf here. He looks at metrics like demographics, the culinary scene, the wine culture (it turns out that Nashville has some of the largest home wine collections in the country), and the number of other new building projects. Dorf has learned that in Nashville, construction workers and sheet rock are hard to find these days.

“Nashville was a pretty easy choice for me,” he said, also citing the music industry. His long-term plan is to open about 30 to 40 City Wineries to create a network of venues across the country that artists could tour. Although he’s developing signature, replicable details — the tap system, barrel-stave bars, a proven menu that pairs well with wine — he wants to retain local color. In Nashville, for example, nearby Isle of Printing has produced a signature wine-bottle mural.

In Nashville, Dorf also had local investors, a “varied” group of 15 people. Purchase price included, City Winery will cost about $7.5 million to get up and running in Nashville. According to the New York Times, Dorf raised $5 million to open the first City Winery in Manhattan, which paid out investors about $1 million last year.

“After I got New York running and proved it was a financially viable model, we’ve been able to get some larger investors to grow like we want to,” he said. “But always having those local stakeholders will be key.”

What cities might be next to join the City Winery club? Boston and Atlanta are his top two contenders.

Click here to view the original article.

 

Isle of Printing Installation Begins Today

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Following in the Nashville tradition of venerable print shop, Hatch Show Print, Bryce McCloud’s Isle of Printing is located across the street from City Winery Nashville. Bryce, who worked at Hatch Show out of college, is a visual artist who is as comfortable hand carving blocks and manning his letterpress, as he is using his state of the art laser cutter. He is currently creating a masterpiece installation inside our walls. You have seen Bryce’s masterful work all over Nashville including the can mural installation at Pinewood Social, the laser cut and hand riveted menus at Barista Parlour, the limited-edition, laser cut Great Gatsby Soundtrack album cover at Jack White’s Third Man Records, and now our 20-foot tall piece of artwork in our entrance. Installation begins tonight and will be ready for the unveiling at our pre-opening run of shows with the Americana Music Festival this week. Piece by piece, it’s coming together (and that is true for so many elements of City Winery Nashville). Follow us on Facebook for updates on the installation’s progress.

 

IoP_PINEWOOD_7_SMCan Mural Installation at Pinewood Social

 

barista-menu-frontLaser cut and hand riveted Barista Parlour menu

 gatsby laser cut albumLaser cut limited edition Great Gatsby Soundtrack LP for Third Man Records

*Isle of Printing photos from isleofprinting.com

Eater Nashville Plywood Report – Take a Look at How City Winery is Coming Together

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The 36,000 square foot behemoth of music, food and drink that is City Winery is starting to take shape. The main stage is now not just a slab of raised concrete, but fully formed and coming along quickly. Finishes in the downstairs restaurant, upstairs lounge, bar and mezzanine are starting to pop up, and progress is being made on the space that will eventually house the winery and barrel room, too. And while the entire project won’t be finished for next week’s first official preview during the AmericanaFest events on Sept.17, the previously announced grand opening target date of Oct.1 is still the goal. Hit the jump to see more photos and be sure to check back soon for more updates.

Click here to read the full article.

 

 

Reclaimed Wood Tables Arrive

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As we gear up for our grand opening, our gorgeous reclaimed wood tables have arrived from Heritage Salvage. Heritage Salvage is a California-based company specializing in handcrafted reclaimed wood flooring, tables, barn doors and more. You’ll also find their tables at City Winery Napa.

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City Winery Nashville Tables2

Here are a few recent photos from the construction site. Check out more pics on the City Winery Facebook page.

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City Winery Nashville VIP

 

City Winery Nashville Lounge Fireplace

Tap Wine Installation

Barrel Heads on glass

Our head winemaker, David Lecomte, was in Nashville helping install taps into french oak barrel heads over the weekend.  He is rushing back to NY to get ready to accept the first grapes to be harvested in California–it’s an early harvest this season. The wooden barrel heads are anchored onto a glass wall, so that our guests can see the guts of our stainless steel tap system. The room behind the glass will be divided into a red room at 60 degrees and white room at 45 degrees. We plan to offer 14 wines on tap at the main bar, pictured above.  Lots of work left to do, but we thought we would share this update of our construction.