City Winery Saving Itself for 2009, Will Also Be Music Venue

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City Winery owner Michael Dorf revealed during a preview last night that his now-raw space in West Soho wont open to the public till January. But when it does, the massive wine-making facility and live-music-venue hybrid will have a full restaurant. Wine stewards (not waiters) will take you through the wine list before helping you decide on small dishes and plates from an on-site Murray's Cheese counter, says Dorf. The 500-strong list of global bottles will take some navigating, but what's most exciting are the 50 vintages available by the glass. (You can taste a bit in advance when Jean-Luc le D hosts $100 tastings of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and then Champagne the first three Tuesdays in December.) Half of the 200 private barrels blended on-site have been filled, and head winemaker David Lecomte is saving the rest for a shipment of South American grapes come spring.

Dorf used the preview to announce his musical lineup at the venue: Joan Osborne headlines on New Year's Eve, and Steve Earle, Suzanne Vega, Rufus Wainwright, and Philip Glass will follow with about two shows scheduled per week. There will be "Pairings" every week, when music from a pair of artists (Raul Midon and Sonya Kitchell, or Calexico and Keren Ann) will be (obviously) matched with wines. But you cant just buy tickets to these events. Dorf has devised a club of sorts, called VinoFile, with a $50 annual fee that can be put toward the $25 to $200 performances. But you dont need tickets to go to Sunday brunch, when Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys will play.

Earlier: The 2008 Vintage [NYM]

City Winery,143 Varick St., at Vandam St.; 212-608-0555