If you're a New Yorker, you've probably complained about the lack of space in your apartment. But you might want to think before you complain next time, because Matt Baldassano has managed to put a fully functioning winery in his 550 foot Manhattan Apartment.
This operation is in the heart of the East Village on Avenue C.
The four year operation produces 10 different wines from both the Northern and Southern hemisphere with grapes from California, Italy, Argentina, South Africa and Chile.
How did he get such a genius idea? Easy, it runs in the family.
Baldassano is a third generation winemaker and he says it’s in his blood.
He even created a club, known as “The Village Winery Club”.
Now, you can imagine that Baldassano amassed some new friends when people caught wind of this winery but he embraced them.
When it’s time to bottle the wine, those new friends come in handy forming an assembly line in his living room. But that’s just the final step; it has quite a few before.
The first part is called “The Crush”, where you roll up your pants and start stomping on the grapes with your feet.
The second part is called “The Press”, Baldassano explained this process.
“After the grapes are fermented, what we do is we take all the must which is all the skins, the stems, and the seeds, and we dump it in here and then we put a couple of wooden blocks on it and then we press the living you know what out of it and out comes the juice, and then from the juice, it goes into the barrel,” he stated.
The whole process for most wines in his apartment takes about a year.
“So the wine that we make hear is for drinking, not to say that you can’t age it a couple of years, but it’s not meant to age for decades, it’s meant to drink, and what people like to do,” Baldassano said.
It’s important to mention that this process normally happens in the Spring and Fall and with specific wine grapes delivered to his doorstep in 4,000 pound bundles.
Wondering how this operation is legal? Well, it’s because Baldassano doesn't sell single bottles out of his apartment, he sells memberships.
The memberships start at $200 and are about more than just drinking, they're about learning about wine, experiencing the process, and meeting new friends.
The Club now has over 100 members and is growing.
If you are interested in joining you can go to the website at www.villagewineryclub.com.