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City Winery set to expand into Chicago

City Winery, the New York winery in downtown SoHo begun in 2008 by music producer Michael Dorf, is set to expand, first to Chicago in 2011, and then to other key cities.

Described as a ‘membership winery’, Dorf and Burgundian winemaker David Lecomte buy grapes from producers in the United States and Argentina, then vinify on site, producing private label wines for members.

City Winery – which also has a bar and restaurant – is not a conventional custom crush facility, as Lecomte takes all vinification decisions himself.

It currently has around 220 members, paying between US$5,000 and US$10,000 for a barrel.

The concept is now set to expand, with a site in central Chicago expected to open in 2011. Lecomte recently returned from successful talks in Paris about extending the concept there.

‘The plan has always been to open City Wineries in other key world cities,’ Dorf told decanter.com. ‘Chicago is a natural first step, as it is a large cultural centre, and we mix the culture of wine with food, music and entertainment.

‘We are interested in bringing City Wineries to places that don’t have their own vineyards, but are full of cultured people who are interested in wine.

‘We feel this cultural, inclusive approach to winemaking could work very well in France. And why not London, Shanghai and Hong Kong after that?’

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Written by Jane Anson

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