Uncork New York was extremely well attended at City Winery yesterday afternoon.

By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday afternoon, with the help of my parents (who were imported from Pittsburgh for the weekend for childcare purposes) Nena and I were able to get into Manhattan to attend Uncork New York: Sip, Savor and Shop at City Winery downtown.

We had a great time and the organizers have a lot to be proud of. The two-tiered room was packed — packed to the point that it wasn't easy to move around at times — and the organizers should be congratulated for putting on a great event.

Having arrived a little over an hour into the event and wanting to get back to our house before Jackson went to bed, we made our rounds, saying hello to the people there that we knew, and then focused our tasting time on wineries I'm not as familiar with — mostly the Hudson Valley folks — and wineries I haven't tasted before.

I also had the pleasure of meeting several people (many that I've known virtually for some time) for the first time, including Howard Goldberg, who covers Long Island for the New York Times. Howard, along with just about everyone else, was more interested in where Jackson was that actually meeting me. The kid is a star, clearly.

Of the wines I tasted — and we actually didn't taste that many — a few of my favorites included:

  • Macari Vineyards 2009 Early Wine (Chardonnay)
  • Shaw Vineyard 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Benmarl Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc
  • Hudson-Chatham Winery 2008 Baco Noir
  • Paperbirch Bannerman's Castle Amber Cream

I didn't get to taste every wine and see everyone that I wanted to, but that's how these sorts of events go sometimes.

Out of order bathrooms aside, the event went off without a hitch. The only suggestions that I'd offer to the organizers and participating wineries are these:

First, do this event regularly — every six months or so, rotating the producers a bit. My understanding is that a mass email went out inviting wineries to participate and it was a first-come, first-served sort of thing. Getting different wineries to attend the next time would be great. Clearly there is more than enough interest to support events like this one.

Second, it might be smart to cut the number of wineries by 5 or so. I think there were 35 wineries pouring and it was just a bit too crowded. At 30, I think it would have been easier to navigate.

Third, make it more obvious that the wines are for sale and easier for people to buy. I did see people buying wine, but not that much, and I can understand why: If you buy something at the first table, you're stuck carrying it around the rest of the night until you leave. There's got to be a system that can be set up where purchased wines are consolidated by the door for people.

Lastly, I'd like to see more winemakers and/or winery owners pouring at these events, it can only enhance the overall experience for attendees. Too many second- or third-string teams can dilute the message and the overall enjoyment for the people tasting.