When Cat Stephani receives a text, there’s a good chance it’s from the enthusiastic resident winemaker at 180 East 88th Street. who needs a unique buttery French Burgundy or who has a question to uncork before guests arrive. A fine wine sales associate at Sotheby’s Wine, a branch of the well-known auction house, Ms. Stephani is also the building’s resident wine specialist, a new position that began last March.
“Residents have a direct line to me to make recommendations, coordinate hard-to-find wines with a greater immediate connection, or select wines for them from a professional who knows their collection, history and preferences,” said Ms. Stephani, who helped install the wine cabinet for display in the building’s wine cellar to pique the interest of residents.
The apartment has a beautifully lit, modernized underground cellar, complete with 24 temperature-controlled cabinets of Austrian oak and antique glass, which can be purchased for $7,500 for 28 bottles and $15,000 for 70 or more. (Apartments in the condo range from $2.975 million for a two-bedroom to $29 million for a five-bedroom penthouse.)
“This is a rethinking of urban life,” Ms. Stephani said. “We’re redefining how we enjoy the luxury of a good drink and the intimacy of being at home while you’re doing it.”
Thanks to the growing number of wine equipment, residents looking for instant liquid pleasure don’t have to go to their local liquor store or wait for delivery. He doesn’t even have to leave his building.
Over the past few years, residential developers have expanded their wine programs to include partnerships with local wineries, hiring part-time specialists, hosting private tastings hosted in their newly designed tasting rooms and cellars, and even providing classy, not to mention expensive, storage options for storing your complicated collection. Separate wine refrigerators are even part of the standard equipment of luxury rental apartments.
“Luxury buildings create a lifestyle, and residents want those social opportunities,” said Ari Goldstein, senior vice president of Extell Development Services, the development company that created the wine selection at Brooklyn Point and One Manhattan Square.
“We are responding to that request,” Mr. Goldstein said.
People who can afford the high price of an apartment, $1 million to $3 million depending on the apartment, he says, can afford the luxuries they like, in this case wine. “We are investing more in these spaces and it shows that we are investing in the residents. The nicer we make them, the more they get used to it.”
Paul Grieco, sommelier and owner of the local wine bar and restaurant Terroir, which he opened in 2010 in TriBeCa, said these sophisticated conversations about wine to bring a more immediate experience to consumers are a long time coming. and a logical next step for developers.
Mr. Grieco, who has been in the hospitality and wine business for more than 35 years and who hosts public and private wine events every month, said: “Nobody was having these conversations before because these offerings didn’t exist.”
He added that “people have more time, interest, desire and passion to incorporate wine into their lives and delve deeper into its complexity. What used to be primarily enjoyed in a restaurant can now be experienced at home.”
He also pointed to Covid as part of this progress.
“Covid has taught us that home is a great place,” he said. “Developers have found that building more amenities means residents will spend more time there. The community does not gather in the wheelhouse. It’s happening in a wine shop. If the world of food and drink can be brought to your doorstep, it’s a new experience.”
Other developers invest in visual stimulation.
A haven for oenophiles, today’s tasting rooms and wine cellars are as decorated as the bottles they collect. And it will arrive at the right time, as many people have invested in and grown their wine collections during the pandemic.
Located next to the Museum of Modern Art at 53 West 53 is a double-height, octagonal tasting room with a variety of tables, a gold ceiling, cork flooring, decorative wine racks, and private temperature-controlled wine cellars. The developers teamed up with local winery Morrell Wines in September to offer consultation, curation assistance, exclusive access to rare vintages, in-house restocking and private tastings at no cost to residents, other than the purchase of wine.
“The wine shop was a huge focus of the sales process and a shift in what people are interested in, which is wine,” said Samantha Sax, chief marketing officer of Pontiac Land Group, which developed the property (designed by architect Jean Nouvel).
The wine cellar contains 34 cabinets, intentionally unfinished so that residents who buy them can customize them for the bottles they collect. The cabinets cost about $90,000 to $300,000, depending on the size, which ranges from 20 square feet to 80 square feet. Prices are high, but so are the costs of condos in the building: $3.85 million for 1-bedrooms and lofts, where prices start at $64.73 million.
“In recent years, people have wanted more space to entertain and feel like they are living in a hotel,” Ms. Sax continued. “The goal was to make people feel like they were on vacation. We find that people want to have fun, but not necessarily in their apartment. Or they have a glass of wine with friends in the tasting room and then go upstairs to their apartment for dinner.”
(Buyer beware: Although building rules vary from building to building, some require owners who sell their apartments to also sell their wine safes. And generally, safes can only be sold to new unit buyers or to another resident of the same building. If there are no takers, the license agreement may dictate that the vendors simply forfeit their investment and ownership of the vault reverts to the building.)
The wine warehouse at 100 Barclay in TriBeCa is located on the 18th floor of the Club Level and has 54 temperature-controlled lockers that cost $20,000 apiece. Each holds more than 100 bottles.
“They weren’t a source of income for us, but part of the residents’ lifestyle when they moved into the building,” said Jordan Brill, a partner at Magnum Real Estate Group.
And when you’re ready to uncork and share some liquid luxury, simply decant in the tasting room, which residents can reserve for private tastings for up to six people. New York Vintners, the local vintner who managed the winery, can provide sommelier services and organize tastings for an additional fee.
“Storing wine off-site is not as convenient,” Mr Brill added. “Without that extra space, your options are limited. It’s part of a lifestyle and a specific approach to their collection when they want it to be understood and appreciated only by a wine collector.”
Eight sponsorship units per 100 Barclay remain on the market. A three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo on the 12th floor is listed for $5.150 million, and a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom condo on the 20th floor is listed for $7 million.
To ensure the use of these spaces and to encourage the swirling of the community, some buildings host classes and tastings – a sophisticated activity for adults.
In November, One Manhattan Square introduced these kinds of events in their wine bars for their tenants.
On March 9, Emanuele Santacà, director of wine for Pasanella & Son Vintners, a wine shop in South Street Seaport, will host “Women in Wine” at One Manhattan Square. The evening will consist of wines made by women from native Italian varietals, paired with cheese and charcuterie, in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day for $70 per person.
“Doing a class in a wine cellar in your own building is a completely different experience than doing it in a store or another part of a building,” said Mr. Santacà, whose class was held at One Manhattan Square Wine Bar. “It’s more personal and impactful. And more wine related and less distracting. It is also more serious. When you’re in that room, you’re there to talk about wine.’
Ms. Stephani agreed, adding that the experience was about creating a wine community, “while also having immediate access,” she said. “You’re sharing wine on your own terms instead of having to go out and share it publicly.” Previously, this option did not exist because these devices did not exist. Now yes.”