Appellation Wine and Spirit

Finding a wine that one loves is often times a daunting process. But a sure way of finding the wine is by trial and error. One avenue of finding and trying wines are through retail wine shops. Retail wine shops are popping up everywhere in New York City, so there is a place to cater to everyone’s needs. The retail shop that I will be discussing is Appellation Wine and spirit located in West Chelsea.

It was a rainy spring evening when I ventured to Appellation Wine and Spirit. It is easily accessible by both the A C E line and the 2 and 3 lines. The neighborhood that it is located in is quaint directed more towards a more ecofriendly crowd, with places like the Cookshop and Highline which is in line with Organic theme of Appellation Wine and Spirit.  20140404_192651

When I first walked up to the store front, it blended in with the other store fronts which I thought was a disadvantage. However, the name was prominent featured on the building when looking at it from across the street. Where the outside was plain the inside was warm and inviting. The space was open with light color on the wall which gave it an open, airy and fresh appearance.  The lighting added a soft glow, eliciting a warm feeling that put me at ease.

Upon entering the store, I was immediately welcomed to the establishment.  Appellation Wine and Spirit prides themselves on selling a variety of organic wines from producers who deviates from the normal and traditional viniculture practices. These wines has a more natural flavor  and a distinct taste without the added chemicals, according to  ales associate Charles who assisted me. The wide variety can be seen on their shelves, as the wines are displayed by regions; New World and Old World. The regions are then further broken down into light bodied to full bodied. Each bottle accompanied by a brief history about the wine or the producers of the wine.  20140404_192251

I was fortunate enough that I was able to participate in a spirit tasting event, where I sampled a cognac, a bourbon, and a mescal. This event is one of many tasting event that is held weekly. After doing the tasting I started scanning the store for a while, I was approached by a friendly sales associate that introduced himself as Charles and asked if I needed help. I gladly replied that I was indeed in need of help. I informed him that I was looking for a sweet wine, to which he replied “Sweet as in residual sugar or sweet as in aroma”. From there I was able to explain that I preferred residual sugar and was better able describe what wine specifically I was interested in. Charles was most knowledgeable and was quite helpful. He knew about his wine and was passionate about an it showed as I ended up purchasing two wines a   Dr. Bürklin-Wolf Estate Riesling 2012 or $18 and Vittorio Bera & Figli Moscato d’Asti 2012 for 20.20140404_19224420140404_192528

The store was a wonderfully experience. They offered a wide variety of wines from all over the world. The prices range from $8.99- $3000.  The workers are friendly and they go above and beyond expectation as they offer a delivery service. Although the store is relatively small, I is still quaint and intimate. There is also an additional room within the store towards the back that is available to host events. I was also interested to know that they have free wine tasting events that are held weekly. The store also features their wine of the month and wine of the week that is picked by the various employees. These wines are available to be purchased through their wine of the month and wines of the year program for a reasonable fee. They also have a loyalty program as well as a pocket friendly wine rack. The only downside to my visit was that they do not accept Discover cards.

His assignment has given me the opportunity to sample wines that I would have normally stayed away from. Appellation Wine and Spirits has made its way on my list of my favorite New York gems.

20140404_192816 Employees pick


Grand Wine and Liquor

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The wine shop that i visited is one of store from the references from the Professor that called Grand Wine and Liquor. It is located in 30-05 31st St, Astoria, NY 11102. The store is in a very strategic place, where is right in the 30st station for N, Q train. When i went there, i actually took a cab because I want to get there faster, surprisingly, when I told the cab driver the address, he told me that he know that the address where i am going to is the Grand Wine and Liquor store. I asked him, how does he know, and he said that this store has been established for many years and he used to buy wine there.

As soon as i get there, from the outside, there is no way people cannot see the store even from one block away. This is not a small store. It maybe they combined two or three stores into this one big store. When i walked in, I see the cashier who is standing behind the desk, and i introduced myself that I am a student from City Tech, Brooklyn, she smiled and warmly allow me to see around and taking pictures as well. Photo Apr 08, 3 36 38 PM

To be honest, at the first time when i looked around, the moment of truth is confusing for me. I just know that they divided wines on the left hand side and for spirits on my left hand side.  However, after I go around, i noticed they used map to represent the sections of where are the wines come from.

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I start from the closest section when i walk into the store. There was no sign of which country where these rack of wines come from, but since we already studied wine from France, when i saw Medoc, St Emilion, Margaux labels on the rack, i know that all of these wines are from France.

This assignment is actually becomes my first experience to walk into a wine and liquor store. I don’t know how the other stores arranged their wines, but in this store that make me noticed, they are very specific on dividing wines from California. They have one rack special for California Merlot, California Pinot Noir, California Savignon Blanc, California Zinfendel that i believe can make the consumers find their favorite wine from California easier.

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As i keep browsing the stores, i found they have many wines from many countries. I saw Argentina, Austrian, German, Australian wines on the very right isle of the store. Before i visited this store, i didnt know that Yellow tail wine is a typical wine that come from Australia until i saw how a full of rack of Yellow Tail wine in the Australian section.

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In the middle of the isle, they put some expensive wines in the etalase. When i was staring and taking pictures of the wines, there was one lady who came to me and she explain why are these wines are put in there. Basically because it is special wines, expensive and not easy to find. surprisingly, she told me that these wines are not supposed to be stored like how they do in this store but the costumers might not know about it. She said that the temperature is not right and so on. I guess she is not working there but she is a regular customers and understand about wines.

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When i spent time in the store, i was not really talk with someone who is walking in the store, because they were seems busy with the costumers, but when it came i find a rack with so many types of wines from varieties countries, i asked one of the worker. He explained that they put many wines from many countries but they seperated by the types of grapes. So there are pinot noir from many countries, then savignon blanc from many countries, etc. The reason why they did this because they lack of spaces to arranges enormous numbers of wines from countries on each sections.

In addition to that, i asked why there are some bottles in the fridge besides the sparkling wines and Champagne instead they put in the rack. He said that some people wants to consume the wines right away, so they provide those wines, so it is ready to serve. Photo Apr 08, 3 36 47 PM

The price range in this store is between $5,99 is the cheapest as far as i see to $18 average, and there are more than $400 for the expensive wines.

Lastly, this store also offer wine tasting and they posted in the window outside the store and also inside the store. I think this is a very great way to introduce wine to more people especially a person like me as a student and who is not really interested in wine because i dont really understand the differences and taste before i am studying with Professor Goodlad. 100_6679


Crush Wine and Spirits is located at 153 E 57th st New York, 10022. crush has been in operation since 2005 and is owned by Robert Schagrin and Drew Nieporent amongst others. the hours of operation are from 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm Monday to Friday, 11:00am – 8:00 pm Saturdays and 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Sundays. Crush is a busy store and has 25 staff overall that is including the warehouse, and on any single day there are about 16 staff on duty. On this particular day that I visited at around 5:00 pm on Thursday 8th of April there were about seven visible staff on the floor. 2 cashiers upon entry, two sommeliers busy on their computers that are mounted along the center of the store, two staff in an open back office and one cleaner. The store signage and name are well placed for easy identification as shown below.


Upon entry I was taken aback by a sight that suggested I had stepped into a shoe shiner office than a national wine store.The desk and two cashiers on the immediate left when one enters looked to me displaced. I didn’t understand why being a hospitality industry the first sight is cluttered desk rather than being welcomed by inviting and hospitable staff. The second disappointment was that the staff seemed more busy on their computers and with little time for incoming customers. The two cashiers threw a quick glance at me and resumed their work on their computers. I walked up to the center of the store before anyone spoke to me, and I couldn’t help wondering why everyone seemed so busy on their computers. I  was to learn later that, online business is their cash cow.

Crush clientele; about 70% of their business is done online and through the phone, the rest is walk in customers and that is why my presence wasn’t generating much interest. I also noticed that customers who came in seemed well versed with the store and picked their choice and headed to the cashiers. This was a big difference from other wine stores I have visited where staff greet you at the door and have time for customers. The other type of customers are co-operate accounts, but they don’t supply to hotels and restaurants.

Crush wine: Is high quality wine and value-priced sourced from the major wine producing regions of the world. The store focuses on “specialty” wines from the major producers.

Our selection is diverse, but the common theme that unites many of our wine & spirits is their limited production. These wines & spirits are hand-crafted by independent producers whose care and attention is reflected in their individual quality. While a volume-driven producer can ship as many as 4 million cases per year, many of our winemakers produce less than 5,000 cases during the same amount of time. We also carry a wide selection of “friendly faces” that many of our customers are familiar with, all priced competitively with other New York area shops.

The major regions featured amongst others are :- France; Burgundy, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Alsace, Champagne, Rhone valley and South France. Italy; Central, North and southern Italy. Germany:- Baden, Franken, Nahe and mosel. USA:- Californua, Washington, New York and Oregon. And wines from Austria, New Zealand, Portugal and  Spain.



Display: As the two picture above shows all the wines are displayed by region and grape variety with well written region and varietal names along the top line for easy identification. Small detailed tags with vintage, producer, appellation, wine name and price hang next to each bottle. The price range is from $10:00 -$70:00 and from $70:00 – $1000.00 dollars. The store display and ambience is good and customer friendly paired with good background music that is not noisy nor too faint.

Benefits and Sales: Crush doesn’t do “marketing” but rather has cocktail tastings for spirits every Friday and wine tasting once a month. One distinguishing aspect about wine tasting is that it is always thematic, i.e. every tasting experience is themed along grape variety, region or producer.

Recommendations: Even though it is not to have a reception “per se” the reception area should reflect a welcoming presence or staff should create that atmosphere, that “we are glad to have you here”. Overall the store is well stocked, displayed, and run. The sommelier I spoke to Jared Ramsey was well versed with and knowledgeable in all the areas I enquired about having worked for eight years in the wine industry. Though I couldn’t help feel that he was economical with information so that he could go back to his work, but at the same time being professional.


Italian wine tasting, Group: Sirtisha, Arlin,Erica, Melissa and Jennifer

Veneto, Rocca Sveva, Soave Classico,  2012 Garganega

1 Veneto produces 10% of all the wine made in Italy. It is comprised of both cool mountain and warmer costal appellations and boasts more DOC and DOCG than any other region in Italy.

2 The climate in Soave is cool and misty, and the ground is hilly.

3 Most of Soave is controlled by one company, which is why many Soaves have the same taste and lack of nose.

4 Classico is a doc with a relatively low yield. The mix in Soave classic is a minimum of 70% Garganega though most contain 80%. Classico is highly aromatic and flavorful because the of the low yields.

5 A doc of interest is Recioto di Soave. In Recioto, sweet wines are made from semi-dried Garganega  and trebbiano grapes.  The grapes are picked from the top of the vine when the sun has partially dried them.

6 what percent of Italy’s wine comes from Veneto?

Group Members: Mairovi Garcia, Marsorie Dunbar, Chandanie Ramsahai, Henry Micular

Wine: 2011 Chianti Classico DOCG, Carpineto, Tuscany, Italy.

Tuscany is a 40 mile region that stretches from Florence to Siena. Grape cultivation in this region dates back to 8th century BC to the Etruscan.

Climate: In this area is temperate to warm w/ Mediterranean influences.

Top Red Grape: Sangiovese

DOCG: Brunello De Montalanadi Pitigliano

IGT: Toscano

DOC: Bianco di Pitigliano

Chianti Wine– 75% sangovese grape and can blend with other white grapes.

Chianti Classico– 85% sangiovese grape- cannot blend white grapes in. 6-10 years starts to loose its acidity, over 10 years its risky to keep.

Chianti Classico Riserva – Needs to be aged min of 2 years in oak and min 3 months in bottle. 4 years is young, 4-10 reaches its peak, 10-15 is also very good.

Test Question: What percentage of sagiovese grapes must is required for a wine to be classified as a Chianti Classico DOCG in tuscany? A-85%