Locally Crafted Wine in NYC: Brooklyn Winery

Brooklyn Winery Wines

Prior to visiting Brooklyn Winery, I had never heard of an urban winery in my life.

An urban winery? What is that?

Simply put: an urban winery is a winemaking facility located within an urban area. These unique kind of wineries are popping up all across the United States, and are great for city-dwellers who want to experience visiting a winery without having to leave the city.

An Urban Winery in NYC: The Story of Brooklyn Winery

The idea for Brooklyn Winery was sparked in the minds of friends Brian Leventhal and John Stires after being exposed to the winemaking process in a New Jersey winemaking facility.

Brian and John fell in love with the entire experience of making wine and decided that they wanted to open their very own winery. They quit their jobs at an internet startup and set their sights on opening an urban winery in New York City. Not only did they feel it would be the perfect opportunity to open a winery in a market where so few existed, but they also loved the idea of keeping it urban, knowing that New Yorkers like to stay local, and having one in the city would mean that people would not have travel to enjoy the experience of visiting a winery.

In 2010, Brooklyn Winery was born.

The Wine Making Process at Brooklyn Winery

Brooklyn Winery

The urban winemaking process is not a simple one and one that takes a great deal of care and planning.

The process of the wines created in Brooklyn Winery begins on different vineyards in California, Upstate New York, and Long Island, New York, where the grapes are picked, packaged, and shipped out to Brooklyn.

When the grapes arrive at Brooklyn Winery, they arede-stemmedd, pressed, fermented, barreled, and aged. The entire process can take up to two years before the wine is ready to drink.

Wine Press Brooklyn Winery

Wine Press Brooklyn Winery

The wine press extracts the juice from the grapes and removes all of the skin

Wine Barrels Brooklyn Winery

The wine is then put into barrels and then goes through the aging process

Wine Tasting at Brooklyn Winery

Chanel Elena Brooklyn Winery

Photo Credit: Creative Lena

Now we all know that I love a good wine.

This year alone I drank a number of good wines ranging from a variety of robust wines in Italy to my more recent trip to Long Island for a wine tour.

When I first found out about Brooklyn Winery, I was ecstatic to be able to taste wines made locally, and I was certainly impressed by the large selection that Brooklyn Winery had to offer.

Wines Brooklyn Winery

Brooklyn Winery Wine Pour

I started off with three white wines from the Finger Lakes region of New York: a Stainless Steel Aged Chardonnay, a Stainless Steel Aged Riesling, and a Gewurtztraminer. My favorite of the three was the Gewurtztraminer, an aromatic wine that grows in cool climates.

I then moved on to a Skin Fermented Riesling, a wine that is orange in color before finishing off with three red wines from California: A Pinot Noir – Russian River, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma, and an Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi. My favorite of the reds was the Old Vine Zinfandel, which is a popular Californian wine whose grapes thrive in the heat.

Brian Leventhal Brooklyn Winery

In addition to sipping wines, I also learned a good amount about grapes and their growth (much more than I learned on my Long Island tour, and much more than I remember from my Napa tour):

  • A ‘dry wine’ means that it has no sugar. All wines at Brooklyn Winery are dry, regardless of how sweet they might taste.
  • Any wine connoisseur (or wine snob) will tell you Zinfandel is supposed to be red, not white, despite the popularity of the white variety.
  • Zinfandel is also the same as Italian Primitivo wine
  • Pinot Noir is a delicate grape with think skin and is very difficult to grow in New York State, which is why many NY vineyards do not carry the grape.
  • The longer Riesling ages, the more the flavor changes

One thing that I loved about Brooklyn Winery besides the location (and the wine) is that it is also a great event space, that often caters to private parties and weddings. I definitely could see myself getting married or attending a wedding in this magnificent space.

Have you ever visited an urban winery before?

I was a guest of Brooklyn Winery for the complimentary tour and wine tasting. As always, all opinions are my own.

By |2017-07-30T15:30:41+00:00December 1st, 2014|New York City, Wine|14 Comments


  1. Lindsay @ Frugal Frolicker Dec 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    OMG I LOVE BROOKLYN WINERY!! I live for their Petite Syrah – literally just bought a bottle this weekend to reward myself for all the packing I did. I took their tour earlier this year and loved it! Also: I need that #winelover tee in my life! 😛

    • Chanel Dec 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm - Reply

      Haha, wine is ALWAYS a good idea – the shirt she has on is actually from a wine conference!! I need to get one myself!

  2. Kemkem Dec 2, 2014 at 3:30 am - Reply

    Oh, how convinient ..especially for a wine lover like you 🙂 . I didn’t know about the Zinfandel …. I love that tshirt as well. Noticed it right away.. I wonder what that means ..lol!

    • Chanel Dec 3, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

      I know! I was shocked about the Zinfandel too and I also love the shirt – have to get my hands on one 😀

  3. Kristin Dec 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    It was so loud last night I couldn’t hear you describing the Brooklyn winery– I was sure I’d heard you wrong! Great post, I had no idea you could find a winery in city limits. I need to get there!

    • Chanel Dec 3, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

      I know isn’t it amazing? I have to get back to it!

  4. nadeen Dec 3, 2014 at 3:30 am - Reply

    very cool to have an urban winery but my goodness-shipping in the grapes?-Work!
    I love Riesling and wrote a post about it but didnt know of a skin fermented Riesling-interesting! Are they affiliated with Chimney Rock or just use their barrels?

    • Chanel Dec 3, 2014 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Yes, it definitely is a process that has to be carefully handled. – They just use their barrels because the wine comes out better in pre-used barrels 😀

  5. Anne Dec 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    This is so cool! You’ve made me crave wine before noon…so…oops. Haha.
    Being so close to Napa and Sonoma, it’s easy not to seek out an urban winery in SF…but now I want to check it out. AND I still need to get back to NYC soon.

    • Chanel Dec 4, 2014 at 10:41 am - Reply

      Oh I can imagine, but you’re lucky to live so close to such great wine regions! I need to come back out to SF soon too!

  6. That’s interesting! I’ve never heard of an urban winery before. Just another reason I need to make a trip to NYC!

    • Chanel Dec 4, 2014 at 10:42 am - Reply

      Yes! It is an interesting concept – come on out! I also look forward to making a trip to Austin soon 😀

  7. francesca One Girl: One World Dec 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Never been to an Urban winery before… actually never even heard the term! Sounds like a lot of fun though. Your photos are gorgeous!

    • Chanel Dec 16, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Thank you Francesca, and yes, it was a lot of fun!

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