The restaurant "Koloman" offers not only excellent cuisine but also an exquisite wine list

The restaurant "Koloman" offers not only excellent cuisine but also an exquisite wine list
Photo provided

From wine bar to wine list: the most important addresses for wine in New York

The city that never sleeps also has a rich offer for wine lovers. Restaurants vie for the most exciting items on their menus, and wine bars and speciality retailers offer diverse entrances into the city's colourful wine scene.

Hand on heart: did you know why New York is also called "The Big Apple"? In the 1920s, the numerous horse races in and around New York were popular, and the winning prizes were the "Big Apples". It was not until 1971 that this term was taken up as part of an advertising campaign by the city to attract tourists. And since 1997, the corner of 54th Street and Broadway has officially been called "Big Apple Corner".

The name "The Big Grape" would also do honour to this city. Because even if there is no winegrowing worth mentioning directly in the city, the great wine culture is omnipresent here at every corner, so to speak. There are countless top restaurants that have an unspoken competition for the most attractive wine list. A young generation of sommeliers who - unlike so often in Europe - know how to put their chefs' dishes in the oenological spotlight with great enthusiasm, but without prejudice or a lecturing tone.

Serving wines by the glass is very popular here, so guests can get acquainted with a wide variety of origins, styles and varieties. New York is also very open to new trends in the international wine market, as evidenced by the wine lists everywhere. And Wall Street, with the concentrated financial power of its pleasure-savvy protagonists, is also maximizing high-priced icon wines.

The most expensive Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley or a Screaming Eagle can be found at the table. Harlan and Co. are just as readily served to the affluent public as the Grands Crus of Burgundy, a Château Pétrus, or a bottle or two of Masseto for a Tuscan speciality in Little Italy.

Are you looking for the most expensive wines in the world? No problem, in New York you will find what you are looking for. Looking for the latest trends from little-known wine regions? No problem, New York offers that too, because here the winegrowers usually work together with their dealers, literally in line to get a foot in that door, which leads directly into the international spotlight. Because for the wine industry too: "If you can make it there ..."

The 10 Best Wine Bars in New York City

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar


151 West 51st St., NY
T: +1 212 5541143

Ardesia (Hell's Kitchen)
510 West 52nd St., NY
T: +1 212 2479191

Claud (East Village)
90 East 10th St.
T: +1 917 2616791

Compagnie des Vins
Surnaturels (SoHo)
249 Centre St., NY
T: +1 212 3433660

Elis Wine Bar
(Upper West Side)
1012 Amsterdam Ave, NY
T: +1 212 2222055

The Four Horsemen
295 Grand St. (Havemeyer St.), Brooklyn
T: +1 718 599490

June natural Wine Bar & restaurant (Brooklyn)
231 Court St. (Warren St.), Brooklyn
T: +1 917 9090434

Parcelle Wine Bar (Chinatown)
135 Division St. (Canal St.), NY
T: +1 212 2580722

The Ten Bells Natural wines & Tapas Bar
(Lower East Side)
247 Broome St., NY
T: +1 212 2284450

Terroir Tribeca (Tribeca)
24 Harrison St. (Greenwich St.), NY
T: +1 212 6259463

The wine bar as a school

In 40 of the 50 U.S. states, you can buy wine at a supermarket or grocery store. New York is not one of them. This is because wines and spirits can only be purchased here in licensed stores or directly at a winery in New York State, such as on Long Island or around the Finger Lakes (see also story starting on page 32). And last but not least, unlike in many parts of Europe, alcohol consumption in the U.S. is not allowed until the age of 21.

The network of approved liquor stores is tightly knit, with an enormous number of wine shops in Manhattan and, increasingly, Brooklyn. Many of these suppliers carry a wide range of inexpensive everyday wines, while others specialise in wine styles or regions. In addition to the classic still and sparkling wines, Natural Wines and Orange Wines also play a role here.

For many wine novices, the uncomplicated Wine Bars, which are often linked to a wine shop, are the ideal starting point for making friends with the many facets of grape juice. Of course, enjoying wine is also a matter of lifestyle. This has resulted in a wide range of venues that cater to their audiences with different approaches.

Many a wine bar owner is as well known on the culinary scene in New York as the chefs of top restaurants. Arguably the most influential of these oenological baristas is Toronto-born Paul Grieco, who has devoted himself to the Riesling varietal like no one else. He founded the wine bar "Terroir" in the East Village in 2008, which very quickly became an institution among wine lovers. His "Summer of Riesling" events have long since become legendary. He goes to great lengths to explain to those interested that Riesling is not necessarily always sweet wines. And in his wine bar, he presents the best vintners from Germany, Austria, Alsace, and the rest of the world. "Terroir" also serves fine, small dishes and offers constantly changing flight tastings "by the glass". In short, "Terroir" is the right place to immerse yourself in the world of New York wine bars.

For wine lovers who have strayed into Midtown - perhaps to see Times Square for the first time, or to visit one of the shows on Broadway, the "Aldo Sohm Wine Bar" is a saving oasis. Born in Austria, Sohm is the full-time wine director at Eric Ripert's three-star Le Bernardin, and his second job offers a constantly changing selection of wines in an elegant living room atmosphere. Wine selection of 40 products by the glass and about 200 bottled wines. "The rules here are simple - because there are none," is the host's philosophy. Small, uncomplicated dishes complete the offer.

One of the very best wine bars in the city is the Compagnie, whose full name is Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. The offer is full of highlights from the entire wine world, the staff show real "personality", and at late hours everyone from the wine business that is currently in town gathers here. The mystery offer, by the glass white or red, is original. The announcement: "Guess the wine and win the bottle!"

In the Lower East Side, sommelier Grant Reynolds has turned his "Parcelle Wine Bar" - actually more lounge than bar - into a meeting place for wine enthusiasts. His list is long, offers numerous unusual positions and is very broad. You can also get bottles under $60, but beware: there are trophy wines here in the four-digit range, that you can fall in love with.

The 10 best wine merchants

Astor Wine & Spirits (Bowery)
399 Lafayette St.,/at East 4th St., NY
T: +1 212 6747500

Beaupierre Wines & Spirits (Hell's Kitchen)
664, 10th Ave, NY
T: +1 929 6242559

Chambers Street Wines (Tribeca)
148 Chambers St., NY
T: +1 212 2271434

Chrush Wine & Spirits (Midtown East)
153 East 57th St., NY
T: +1 212 9809463

Flatiron Wines & Spirits NY (Flatiron District)
873 Broadway, NY
T: +1 212 4771315

Le Dû Wines (West Village)
600 Washington St., NY
T: +1 212 9246999

Leo & Son (Brooklyn)
995 Fulton St., Brooklyn,
T: +1 212 9246999

Morell Wine & Spirits (Midtown)
1 Rockefeller Plaza, NY
T: +1 212 6889370

Parcelle Wine Bar (Chinatown)
135 Division St. (Canal St.), NY
T: +1 212 2580722

Verve Vine (Tribeca)
24 Hubert St., NY
T: +1 212 8102899

The 10 best wine lists in restaurants

Le Bernardin
787 Seventh Ave, NY
T: +1 212 5541515

Chambers (Tribeca)
94 Chambers St., NY
T: +1 212 5803572

Daniel (Upper East Side)
60 E 65th St., NY
T: +1 212 2880033

Koloman (Flatiron District)
16 West 29th St., NY,
T: +1 212 7908970

The Noortwyck (West Village)
289 Bleecker St., NY,
T: +1 917 2612009

eleven madison park

11 Madison Ave, NY,
T: +1 212 8890905

Sushi Nakazawa
(Greenwich Village)
23 Commerce St., NY
T: +1 212 9242212

Ralph Lauren - The Polo Bar
1 E 55th St., NY
T: +1 212 2078562

Red Hook Tavern (Brooklyn)
329 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn

Wallsé (West Village)
344 W 11th St., New York, NY
T: +1 212 3522300

Restaurants with wine sense

In no other city are so many restaurants opening and closing as quickly as in New York. Best lists are one thing. But, of course, they come in a wide variety of headings. For this article, we have created several top ten lists, all of which are subjective and look at current events from the point of view of wine lovers. We asked industry insiders on the ground for their opinions and carefully incorporated them. Everyone who knows the New York restaurant scene a little has their favourites.

We have therefore also paid attention to a certain diversity and balance, because good wine is not cheap, especially in New York, and probably not every Falstaff reader is a millionaire. We were primarily interested in the wine offer at the selected restaurants, the way they handle wine, how original the menu is put together. In a three-star establishment, you can expect a top wine program and service, not just an accumulation of prestige bottles applied by a nasally sommelier with a French accent.

First, a look at the top: 70 addresses in the city have a Michelin star, five even have three. And two of the establishments are also absolutely world-class when it comes to wine; the much-sung-about Swiss Daniel Humm at "Eleven Madison Park" and the terrific Eric Ripert at "Le Bernardin." In both cases, you'd be well advised to study the wine lists online beforehand. They each include more than 200 closely written pages. If you don't start until you get to the restaurant, you'll only make it as far as the champagnes before dessert... At Eleven Madison Park, Wine Director Gabriel Di Bella is assisted by no less than nine great sommeliers.

At "Le Bernardin", wine lovers are spoiled by Wine Director Aldo Sohm and the team around Chef Sommelière Barbara Wong. Sohm, an Austrian, was already America's best sommelier in 2007 and was named the world's best sommelier the following year. Eddy Leroux is the master at the stove in Daniel Boulud's stylish restaurant. Here the wind blows in an elegant French way and Head Sommelier Chris Dooley knows his craft perfectly.

Brooklyn is hip

But those who want to take a look at Manhattan from the other side of the East River don't have to do without top wines either. On the contrary, Brooklyn is increasingly becoming a hotspot for trendy wine bars. The pace is somewhat slower here, everything is noticeably more relaxed. But again, it's hard to limit yourself to just a handful of recommendations. Red Hook Tavern is a classic for wine geeks. "The Four Horsemen" in Williamsburg is a restaurant and wine bar, offering great seasonal food and top-notch music. And yes, Natural Wines form the core of Justin Chearno's wine list. The selection is skilful and shows once again that as much is possible with this type of wine as with the more ancient methods of vinification. This really makes enjoying wine fun - cheers!

Rooftop Reds
© Lee Hoagland
Rooftop Reds
Peter Moser
Peter Moser
Wein-Chefredakteur Österreich