By Sasha Smith, New York City Correspondent
As a fan of the short-lived Whole Foods wine store at the original New York City Columbus Circle location, I’m happy to see that the healthy food chain ultimately won its battle with the New York State Liquor Authority and re-opened a wine store last week, this time at 808 Columbus Avenue, at 97th Street.
The original wine shop, which was located in the supermarket, was shut down because it didn’t qualify as a separate location.
I’m even happier to see that the store will specialize in New York State wines.
I liked the now-gone Vintage NY, but sometimes wondered if the New York-only requirement didn’t reek of boosterism. Back when the stores first opened more than a decade ago, there was a need to promote little-known and poorly distributed local wines in New York City, where it was easier to find a South African chenin blanc from halfway around the world than a Long Island cabernet franc from just 90 miles away.
But the rapidly improving quality of New York wines, to say nothing of the increased curiosity among New York wine drinkers, made the role of Vintage NY increasingly unclear – and probably less necessary. While I was sad to see Vintage NY go under, it’s a good thing to see New York wines holding their own among wines from around the country and the world.
And while I don’t want to revive the wine-in-supermarkets debate, I do think it’s a good idea to make it easy to shop for wine and food at the same time. Given the obsessive focus on food and wine pairings I’ve noticed on many New York City restaurant menus as of late, it seems silly that the average consumer can’t purchase, say, a great steak and the wine to go with at the same place.
For those of you who want to celebrate the opening of the new store on site, there’s an opening party tomorrow, Monday August 24 from 5 to 8 p.m., with the $15 price of admission to benefit Riverside Park.