500 candles, 100 glasses of wine, and 3 generators



“Did you make it out of the Hurricane ok?!” – the most common phrase of New Yorkers these days.

City Winery lost electricity for 5 days as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  Fortunately we didn’t flood and were able to open on Tuesday, October 20th when owner Michael Dorf and his family hosted and served wine with cheese and charcuterie platters to some neighbors who saw the welcoming glow of 500 candles. After scrambling for generators and extension cords (special thanks to Carroll Music, InConcert Audio and Great Performances) we offered warm food, good wine, phone charging stations paired with a remarkable live performance by Al Stewart who agreed that the show must go on, a Comic Relief benefit and a day of free NY movies – from “When Harry Met Sally” to “Taxi Driver” – for those looking for company and something other than the inside of a powerless apartment.

We are very proud of our staff who made it in through difficult circumstances to keep the doors open and the operation going. The kitchen staff set up grills in the parking lot and made giant pots of soup and stew, the office and concierge teams coordinated everything from remote accessing of ticket lists and handling the flood of show enquiries coming in, to managing payroll and making and distributing flyers. Marc, our Tech Director ran power cables from generators and even across the courtyard from our new friends at the local Russian television station RTVi. Those who had access to the Internet at home kept the messaging going to the outside world and checked that our staff was safe.  The winery team worked hard to save the freshly pressed wine now in tanks which were unable to chill or warm as needed. Wizardry and tireless effort paid off.  We thank all our staff for the dedication and resourcefulness.

We were very aware that we weren’t alone in the dark and grateful that we had not sustained bigger losses considering the widespread damage across the area. As with everyone it’s been a very difficult week of keeping up with what’s happening all around us all while trying to bring some normalcy back to our agendas. We have stayed motivated by others who’ve suffered greater losses and continue to move forward.

In that spirit we do recognize that we are in touch with many people daily and will now use this advantage to actively help those who may not have been as lucky as us after the storm.  We’ve already raised over $2,000 for the Red Cross and are hosting a company-wide food and clothing drive, which will be donated to our neighbor City Harvest, an organization extremely active in post Sandy rescue relief.  We’ll also be hosting some California wine makers, The Rhone Rangers this Wednesday, November 7th for a trade and consumer walk-around tasting where $2 will be donated to the Red Cross for each attendee.  We’re honored to do our part so please look out for other charitable events coming in the weeks to come.


Let’s be the resilient New Yorkers we are and let’s take care of those who are hurting.

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