Wine and New York: Learning the Ropes

Tara Hankinson, MBA Class of 2015

I moved to New York four and half years ago and quickly realized that the city has its own set of rules. There is a system that allows us to live harmoniously with the other 8.5 million residents crammed into the most densely populated major city in the United States. Reflecting on being a “new” New Yorker, I realized that many of my credos for living in the city translate into wine buying philosophies.

Always have an idea of where you are going before you leave your apartment or walk into a wine store.

Those of us who have been here for a while know exactly where to stand on the subway platform to have optimal positioning for the exit at our destination. I have also perfected the exact amount of minutes for my walk to the train and the ideal path for avoiding waiting for streetlights. Before you walk into a wine store, you should have a strong sense of what you are looking for. Articulate your preferences or needs as descriptively as possible. While asking for a “red wine that goes well with Italian food” is a start, saying “I want a powerful red wine with savory flavors that linger” is so much better. If you are struggling with where to start describing your perfect bottle, search for a bottle that you’ve enjoyed on Drync or Delectable, two great wine apps that will tell you everything you need to know simply by taking a photo of the bottle’s label.

You’ll find the best value for your money in the outer boroughs.

I lived in Union Square my first year in the city. I paid under $1,000 in rent for a huge room, but I lived with five other girls in a fourth floor walk-up with no air conditioning and one bathroom. After the chaos and cramped quarters (we used our foyer as a “living room”), I moved to Greenpoint for the same amount of rent but a big common room and only two roommates. While apartments in Queens and Brooklyn are not always cheaper, you can definitely get more for your money. The same rule applies to wine. At a $15 price point you will find a much more interesting, well-executed wines from “New World” countries and regions rather than from Italy, France, and California. Look to New Zealand for Sauvignon Blancs that rival France’s Pouilly-Fumés, and to New York’s dry Rieslings for the taste of German bottles but without the complicated classifications.


There is no excuse for a bad meal or bottle.

Our city is filled with fantastic restaurants at every price point. With the insane amount of options, I do not think we have an excuse to eat a bad slice of pizza or drink a weak cup of coffee. As a resource restricted student (both in funds and in available time), I rely on crowdsourcing to find my next meal out. Yelp, Eater, Thrillist, and The New York Times are my standards for finding the restaurants that won’t make me regret the opportunity cost of eating out versus cooking dinner. In the same vein, a bad bottle from one of the impersonal bodega-esque stores is a tragedy. We have Astor Wines & Spirits and Trader Joe’s wine store less than ten minutes from campus. New York even has stores devoted to wine from specific areas like Eataly for Italy and Despaña for Spain. Even the price sensitive among us can find something at TJ’s that is twice as good and half as expensive as a last minute purchase from an anonymous corner liquor store.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *