PODCAST PREMIERE: City Winery Presents “The Tour” w/ Host Ted Canova! Episode 1: Amy Helm

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We are excited to premiere our first podcast, The Tour with host Ted Canova! Ted is an award winning journalist who will be profiling long time City Winery favorites such as Jerry Douglas, Alejandro Escovedo, Craig Finn, Lucy Wainwright and so many more! Each episode will uncover the fascinating stories and inspirations behind these incredible artists in order to capture an intimate portrait of their craft.

Today we premiere episode 1 with Amy Helm, a City Winery staple who will be performing in New York on November 4th with an all-female bill for Skylark: A Night of Songbirds. In this special first episode, Amy opens up about her music and the influence of her musical parents.

 

A Special City Winery Offer for Guests at The James in SoHo this Labor Day Weekend

If you are planning a memorable trip to the Big Apple for Labor Day weekend then look no further! The James hotel in SoHo is topping off their luxury experience with a special City Winery package. The complete offer includes:

– 2 admissions tickets to an evening concert at City Winery

– 1 complimentary wine tasting at City Winery

– Welcome amenity

– $50 Food & Beverage credit to the David Burke Kitchen or Room Service

 

For terms, conditions, & limitations please visit:  http://bit.ly/2giKt0c

City Winery Featured On MSNBC “Your Business”

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On June 4th City Winery founder and CEO Michael Dorf was featured on MSNBC‘s Your Business.  He discusses the origins of his unique business model, how the company was forced to adapt in the midst of an economic crisis, and his bright vision for the future. Watch the full segment below!

June 4, 2017: This $50 million dining business started as an urban winery with innovations like wine on tap. Now City Winery has a state of the art live music venue and hosts private events. Founder, Michael Dorf balanced multiple revenue streams and duplicated his business in five cities.

2016 February Events at City Winery Chicago

 

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Wellington Ukelele Orchestra Performing at City Winery on February 29th

Wellington Ukelele Orchestra Performing at City Winery on February 29th

Happy February from City Winery! We hope that everyone is staying warm this winter. Here are some upcoming events that we hope will make things warmer.

We are starting and ending this month with UKELELES! February 1st and 2nd we have Jake Shimabukaro bringing his Hawaiian Island sounds to warm us up. At the end of the month, February 29th, The Wellington Ukelele Orchestra is joining us all the way from New Zealand!

City Winery veterans Judy Collins and Ari Hest are collaborating together for two shows here on February 4th and 5th.  A duo you surely don’t want to miss! Meet and greet tickets available.

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s weekend yet?  Well, look no further! On February 12th and 13th, 10,000 maniacs will be returning for their February residency performing three shows. On the actual Valetine’s Day, February 14th, B.J. Thomas, famous for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head”, will be joining us for two shows at 5 & 8pm.

In case you didn’t hear the news, Eric Burdon and The Animals are coming back due to popular demand!  The band sold out their December 2015 show. So if you did not see them then, now is your chance! They will be here February 15th and 16th.

If you are looking for something a little bit more soothing, do not miss Israeli-French pianist/vocalist Yael Naim on February 22.

For tickets to all events, please follow this link here:

2/1-2 – Jake Shimabukuro

2/3 – Wynonna & the Big Noise – Stories & Song – with Tim & Myles Thompson. Meet & Greet available.

2/4 & 2/5 – Judy Collins & Ari Hest.

2/7 – Story Sessions Brunch – Super Love

2/7 – Dirty Dozen Brass Band

2/9 – Albert Lee (with full band)

2/11 – Grant Lee Phillips & Steve Poltz.

2/12 – 10,000 Maniacs – 7pm

2/13 – 10,000 Maniacs – 5 & 8pm shows

2/14 – Chicago Philharmonic Sunday Series -THE CHOCOLATE BOX: A MUSICAL TAKE ON THE FLAVORS OF LOVE- 12 PM show

2/14 – BJ Thomas – 5 & 8pm shows

2/15 & 16 – Eric Burdon & The Animals

2/17 – Buckwheat Zydeco

2/17 – Wine School : Winter Series – North America – Washington*

2/17 – La Spinetta and Contratto with Giorgio Rivetti wine dinner

2/18 – Claire Lynch Band & the Quebe Sisters.

2/19 – Eryn Allen Kane. Silver Wrapper, Community & City Winery present.

2/19 – Ale Syndicate Beer Dinner

2/20 – Lyfe Jennings – 7pm & 10pm shows

2/21 – Sierra Hull with Forlorn Strangers

2/22 – Yael Naim

2/23 – A Palo Seco – Chicago Flamenco Festival

2/24 – The Duhks

2/24 – Winemaking School : Wine and Weight**

2/25 & 26 – Howie Day

2/28 – An Evening With DEACON BLUES featuring Grammy® Winner SUGAR BLUE with Chicago Bass Legend WALLY HUSTIN (America’s Premier Tribute to STEELY DAN)- 7PM show

2/29 – The Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra

*Wine School – Winter Series 2016 – NW United States. $140 for all 3 classes or $60 individually:

01/20 Wednesday– Wine School: California

02/17 Wednesday – Wine School: Washington

03/23 Wednesday– Wine School: Oregon

** Winter 2016 Winemaking Series – $140 for all 3 classes or $60 individually:

01/13 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Wine and Time,

02/24 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Wine and Weight

03/30 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Fining and Filtration

The 48 Hours Leading up to City Winery Nashville’s Grand Opening

City Winery founder and CEO Michael Dorf had an aching head when he arrived at Nashville’s City Winery construction site this past week—not from overindulging in the exquisite wine his latest venue is serving up, but admittedly because of it.

“I rarely get headaches, and while I arrived with a cold from last week’s flight from Napa, upon returning to the construction site 48 hours before show time, I immediately got a pounding headache.”

And understandably so: Dorf’s newest project, the incredibly buzzed-about City Winery Nashville, was due to open in 48 hours as the premier venue for the city’s highly-anticipated Americana Music Association Festival and Conference.

And given that construction on the existing 36,000-ft warehouse had only begun a few months earlier, the show was far from ready to “go on.”

Phillip Before IMG_0867Pre-construction

As is the case with any grand debut or opening, stumbling blocks in the weeks and days leading up to the then-incomplete venue were anticipated—truthfully, they were expected, and Dorf admits he was surprisingly able to remain cool and collected. “I had complete confidence that both the operations team and production teams would be able to put on a show, move a crowd in and out, and serve them booze,” Dorf said. “I’ve certainly put on many a show in much worse, smaller, and less-than-ideal situations.”

But the obstacles facing Dorf in that moment of arrival extended far beyond the music. Questions about fire department sign-offs, insurance paperwork, legal and safety concerns—and not to be overlooked—the public’s perception of the venue all loomed over his already foggy head, thus explaining that pounding ache.

Luckily for the CEO, his dynamite team members were fully committed and deep in the trenches in those final 48 hours to showtime—experiencing a few headaches of their own on the road to success, some heartwarming and some downright hilarious.

Dolly_ErinStaff unloading venue chairs at Tennessee Brew Works who graciously let us store our tables and chairs with them during construction.

Michelle Albanese, Concert Manager for City Winery Nashville, was stressed, thanks to—wait for it: missing towels. “It’s my responsibility for making sure the artists are happy and have everything they need. Stage towels and water are basic requests for artists.”

Albanese recalls, “The day of the show, I knew I HAD to find them, and I so I went pod diving into a storage unity filled to the max with all the glassware for the entire space (a winery nonetheless). Crawling over boxes, under boxes, and wedged in between boxes, I was lots in a world of cardboard—and still couldn’t find them.”

One bad case of claustrophobia and one missing cell phone later, she located them, alright. “Opening that box was a wonderful feeling. End of story. None of the artists used them.”

Monday CW IMG_2039View of the venue from Monday, September 15

CW Building Staircase IMG_2197Welding the staircase on Monday, September 15.

For Raúl Mesías, Director of Wine Sales at City Winery NY, the journey to the successful launch of City Winery Nashville began with David Lecomte, CW’s chief winemaker, in New York, and was a little more arduous.

“Sunday at 5AM, we head to the winery in New York to pick up the truck with a goal to be in Nashville by Monday at 10AM. David and I drove 110 miles…and then truck broke down. We knew at that moment we had to transfer the whole load by hand—but we didn’t care. We were just eager to get to Nashville.”

The replacement truck arrived, and Mesías recalls that moment: seeing his comrade rolling kegs of wine and remembers the inspiration of getting the job done against the odds, erasing all of the pain and exhaustion they initially felt. By 2PM on Monday, the two were rolling out kegs once more…this time at their Music City destination. “The trip itself was quite an adventure!” Lecomte exclaimed.

Meanwhile back in Nashville, Chris Torri, AV Installation Manager, was experiencing a few technical glitches of his own. “We had no power, were missing part of our lighting package, and had nowhere to set up the sound board, much less plug it in!” he laments. “We were under the gun and needed to pull off the show.”

Torri remembers those two days as “excruciatingly painful,” but says, “We never took our eye off the prize.”

On Wednesday morning, just one day before the doors were set to open, lights were still being hung and cues were still being programmed—but progress was happening, and as the team continued to tirelessly work throughout the day, the room filled, the band took the stage, and the performance went off without a single hiccup.

CW Bryce Wed night AMA IMG_2313Bryce McCloud from Isle of Printing finished his wine bottle installation while the first AMA shows were happening in the venue. Wednesday, September 17.

It’s a million wonders that Marc Colletti, Production and Technical Director NY, recalls anything from those whirlwind 48 hours. Fresh off a plane from his honeymoon, Colletti had no time to prepare for the madness. “I only had time to go home, wash my clothes and hop a flight to Nashville from NY in time for sound checks.”

Firing up the PA system for the first time was both a thrilling and hectic experience for Colletti. “The floors were still being installed around me only hours before our first show.”

But once again, the hard work and dedication paid off. He says, “It’s hard to say what I enjoyed more. Being in the ‘do or die’ pressure cooker with the enormous weight and responsibility of facilitating the musicians to entertain their fans, or realizing that at the end of the evening, every member of the City Winery team came together to accomplish a fantastic evening without a hint of its actual urgency.”

Ed Greer, Chief Production Officer for City Winery arrived from NY just as the final 48 hours approached and immediately took charge of moving the site from a construction zone to a clean room ready to be set up and host the concerts.

“At 9.30pm we had 10 guys from the Rescue Mission next door arrive to move contractor tools, pallets of wood flooring and assorted building materials. They were great and at 10.30pm an overnight cleaning crew arrived and worked through until 4.30am to get everything clean and sparkling. The curtain installer arrived at 6.30am to hang the curtains in the now dust free space and the Nashville team were able to set tables and chairs and stock the bar.

Mike Simon who moved from CW Chicago to CW Nashville, clocked 13 miles on his pedometer during set up – I love that fact!

The floor install was completed at 2:30pm just as concert soundchecks were under way – a race for sure but one I knew we could (and had to) win.”

Mopping IMG952014091795024643438The floor being mopped in the very early morning hours on Wednesday, September 17.

For Phillip Katz, City Winery Construction Rep, the experience of opening City Winery Nashville meant making many personal sacrifices, including long days and nights away from his expectant wife, whose due date just happened to be this past week as well. “I had her full-on support—she’s amazing and I feel blessed.”

With his family far away, and his deadline a little too close for comfort, Katz decided to hunker down full-time in Tennessee, moving his Airstream (aka “Groove Tube”) to the So-Bro parking lot of the venue to serve as his home-base until the job was done.

He slept in the “Groove Tube” alone each night and was the first to unlock the gates for the contractors each morning at 6AM. Katz recalls, “I missed some significant personal, professional, and family milestones—some joyous and some painful, and I realized: if I was making the sacrifice, my efforts had to be successful. I realized: I could not confuse effort with results.”

And those efforts were rewarded. Katz was able to fly home for the birth of his first child, a beautiful daughter named Lilliana, and what’s more—he was able to bring his girls home back to Nashville and introduce them to the team as they worked around the clock until showtime.

David Richter, City Winery’s General Manager, remembers standing in the middle of the construction the morning of the big day. “I would have never thought we’d be standing in front of our doors ready and able to greet our first guests upon scheduled door time. Then I stepped back and remembered the teams that made it happen . . . all working in harmony with no fuss and plenty of smiles.”

IMG_7573Tuesday, September 16 at 5pm.

IMG_758524 hours later: Wednesday, September 17 at 5pm

Rebecca Spindler, Concierge Director for City Winery, won’t lie: she cracked open a few cold ones in anticipation of the final 48. With an optimistic mind, she and the team cleaned, trained ushers, arranged tables, set barricades and even installed an ATM on their own. “The night went off without a hitch for a bangin’ show!” Spindler recalls.

Anthony Aquilato, Production Manager and Sound Engineer, felt right at home amidst the insanity.

For Aquilato, the hustle of a rush opening was a familiar feeling, akin to his former days on the road.

“While I was touring in the 80s, we road dogs used the term ‘no sleep until Sydney’ all too frequently. Days upon days of back-to-back shows with little or no sleep,” he remembers. “Your crew was your platoon. Everyone was in it together. There was never a question of how or why—at 8PM, there WAS going to be a show.”

Fortunately, Aquilato found that same kinship and incredible work ethic with his City Winery team—and once again, he got to experience the incredible rush and sweet taste of success.

“The last 48 hours leading up to the opening of City Winery Nashville brought me back to those glory days of Rock and Roll. We all hit it hard and got it done. Everyone focused and working endlessly—there was a show to put on and come hell or high water, we were going to be ready.”

And ready they were: the shows launched beautifully last Wednesday with one of the Festival’s big award winners and starring attractions, Sturgill Simpson. The festival closed out on Sunday with Americana icon Lucinda Williams who will return to City Winery Nashville for three nights of shows November 24-26.

But there’s still more to be done and still more to come as the official opening of City Winery Nashville commences on Wednesday, October 1st—or as CEO Dorf (now free from his headache) teases, “The story is not over. The fat lady will sing only at the Grand Opening.”

15th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1City Winery Founder/CEO Michael Dorf welcomes Singer/Songwriter Jason Isbell and wife, Recording Artist Amanda Shires to the opening night of the Americana Music Festival. Wednesday, September 17 at 9PM.

(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)

Caleb Klauder Country BandCaleb Klauder Country Band was the first band to perform on the City Winery Nashville stage. Wednesday, September 17 at 10pm.