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Lost Gem
MCF Rare Wine, LTD. 1 Wine Shops undefined

MCF Rare Wine, LTD.

There is a tremendous amount of wine that is produced by large manufacturing companies who ship hundreds of thousands of bottles a year. These wines cannot be found at MCF Rare Wines, where Matt Franco curates a collection of just the opposite - wines from small, individual growers. Opened in 2010 - and in his present location since 2017 - MCF sells rare wines from around the world. While many believe that rare wines are expensive, MCF carries a wide price range. One can find a $10 bottle as easily as a bottle that is several hundred dollars. According to Matt, "We only have correct, classic, well made wine. It’s authentic. We keep it focused and curated. ” Matt grew up in a family that surrounded itself with wine. His uncle ran a wine shop in Connecticut, which allowed Matt to experience first hand the ins and outs of the business. Today, Matt spends a lot of his time visiting vineyards and wine distributors, many of which return the favor, as they are eager to see their brands sold in New York. From the start, Matt chose to have a limited collection. He wanted to stand out from other wine shops. “A small collection is easier to manage, and allows us to choose the wine personally, ” he explained, and then added, “We want to know the people, have the right spirit behind every bottle. ” While the story about the wines is definitely important to Matt and his customers, “In the end, it’s about the taste. ” Having tried all of the wines on his shelves, Matt feels confident that he is selling "only the best. " Matt has created a following in the community. Many customers regularly attend his wine tastings and eagerly await his newsletters, which highlight the latest delivery. If one stops by on most Saturday afternoons, one will find some bottles open and people sipping on a glass of the latest interesting wine while listening to the brief history behind it and engaging in conversation with the staff. “We have stuff for everyone, and our customers know that. ”

Lost Gem
Acker Merrall & Condit Company 1 Wine Shops Founded Before 1930 Family Owned undefined

Acker Wines

Acker Merrall & Condit Company changed its name to Acker Wines in 2020. I thought I misheard Anna, a member of the Acker Merrall team, when she said the company had been around since 1820. There was no misunderstanding: Acker Merrall is the oldest continuously operating wine merchant in the country. Anna even showed me a framed list on the wall that detailed the provisions of the Titanic. Sure enough, wine from Acker Merrall was listed. Anna explained that they were specifically known for stocking ships and that in the early 1900s, there were twenty-nine locations scattered along the coast, stretching as far south as Baltimore. Not only that, but the company sold fine food and housewares along with wine. As Harper, another member of the Acker Merrall team, joked, "It was perfect for when you think, 'Hmm... I need some whiskey and some chairs. '"Sadly, after Prohibition was repealed, a law was passed in New York requiring liquor stores to have only one location. It was also decided that no food items were allowed to be sold in a liquor shop. This meant that Acker Merrall had to choose whether it wanted to be a wine store or a grocery store. The original Acker Merrall family decided to take over the food and housewares departments and sold the alcohol operations to the Kapon family, who still run the company - John Kapon is currently the owner, and has been on West 72nd since 1985. Today, Acker Merrall is best known as the largest wine auctioneer in the world, with its strongest support coming from New York and Hong Kong, since China has become the biggest consumer of wine worldwide. There are beautifully bound books in the back of the store that have carefully documented these sales over the years. In addition to the auctions, the store has regular tasting events and invites importers and producers from different wine companies to share their goods with the community. While Acker is "pretty global, " they focus on a lot of old world wines, especially French. Harper credits the company's attention to detail and customer service with its longevity. Acker offers services that go above and beyond, such as free delivery to the Hamptons and Fire Island during the summer months. It also helps that Acker sources rare wines from many countries around the world. One day, I was with a member of the Manhattan Sideways team who recognized a bottle that his father had purchased while on vacation in Argentina. James excitedly said, "My dad loved this wine, but has never been able to find it again. " Of course he had to buy a bottle to take home to him. Before we left, Harper showed me a picture of New York City from the early 1900s. Behind a horse-drawn carriage and a pile of barrels, I could see the sign for Acker Merrall. In a city where shops open and close faster than I can discover them, it was refreshing to find a business that has managed to stay afloat for almost two centuries.

Lost Gem
Veritas Studio Wines 1 Wine Shops undefined

Veritas Studio Wines

You may be familiar with wines organized by red, white or rosé — but what about bottles categorized as “Old Pals”, “Good Fellas”, or “BFFS”? Welcome to Veritas Studio Wines, a small-but-mighty independent wine shop on a quiet block of W45th Street where you can embrace unexpected and unique flavors at affordable prices. The creative mind behind Veritas and its unique offerings is none other than longtime New Yorker Jeremy Kaplan, whose career began in marketing for Madison Square Garden. After years of working on campaigns for the Knicks and Rangers, Jeremy decided to pursue a lifelong interest in wine by jumping directly into the heart of the city’s hospitality industry. “I had a friend in the wine industry tell me that to get my foot in the door, I needed to work at the best restaurant I could, ” said Jeremy. “At the time, the best restaurant I had worked for was Friendly’s! ” he laughed. “Fast forward to 2008, I got the opportunity to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tribeca called Bouley — for a year and a half or so, I worked for free, shadowing the sommelier, ” he said. “Eventually, I just started being a ‘som’ — that was my first time tasting everything. You taste everything you open, ” he noted. “I’d taste, I'd say, between 25 and 40 wines per shift, and probably 1500 to 2000 wines total in my time there. It was like going to a museum and being able to see the great pieces of art. ” Having learned the ins and outs of fine dining, “white tablecloth” wines, Jeremy moved to the West Village’s late Bar Blanc, where he helped develop their beverage program to much critical acclaim. “I was very proud [of Bar Blanc], because the wine list got noticed in the Times and in New York Magazine, ” said Jeremy. While he doesn’t hold an official sommelier certification, “I am blessed with a palate that allows me to taste a wine and say, ‘I think people would like this. ’”It was his innately intuitive palate that caught the attention of an investor —who in 2014 asked Jeremy to open up a new shop in what was previously a commercial studio space known as Veritas Studios (also known as the place where the famous “Mikey Likes It” commercial was filmed, Jeremy told us). Running Veritas gave Jeremy the opportunity to build his own wide-ranging program of wines — and to make them accessible to everyone from novices to seasoned vino vets. “Our categories are about using language that people are familiar with, making people feel comfortable — certainly embracing anybody who walks through the door, ” said Jeremy. “We seem to do well with people who are curious — who are willing to take a risk on something they've never heard of. ” More than anything, he looks forward to guiding patrons through their own wine education, he told us. “​​I'm involved with our customers’ most important decision of the day, ” said Jeremy. “They’re picking the wine that they're going to go home with to accompany their dinner, the wine that they're going to use to smooth things over with their spouse, the wine that they're going to go celebrate with — or maybe bury their sorrows in, ” he added. “This is the last stop many people make before they go home — and it's a nice thing. ”