On the oak stage at Manhattan’s new City Winery, singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega is chatting amiably with Alvaro Palacios, the mercurial superstar of Spanish winemaking, over a few glasses of red and plates of smoky grilled chicken skewers served with hummus and a harissa sauce. “Do you play?” she asks, noticing Palacios admiring her guitar.
“Some flamenco,” he admits, “but only with the workers in the vineyard. And they’re all much better than me.”
© Cedric Angeles
From the side of the stage, City Winery’s owner, Michael Dorf, catches this exchange and looks very pleased. “I just love this,” he says, almost to himself. He should—bringing wine and food and music together was his goal from the start. City Winery, which opened in January in Soho, is an ambitious new spin on the urban-winemaking trend. Part music venue, part restaurant, it stretches for nearly half a city block, in a 140-year-old industrial building that Dorf managed to lease from Trinity Church. He spent two years getting the project off the ground, and he seems relieved that the doors are finally open.