Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Drinking to Make a Difference ~ by Janine Trusello

The most recent Dining to Make Difference event took place this past Wednesday, February 27th, at Vintage New York. This was a wonderful and fun opportunity to enjoy an exciting and delicious sampling of New York State wines paired with a tasty selection of artisanal cheeses and other complimentary foods. This unique wine store and tasting room located at 482 Broome Street in SoHo is NOT your average neighborhood wine and liquor store. Opened in July of 2000, this is the only wine shop of its kind in the state according to owner Robert Ransom. Robert founded the Rivendell Winerey in New Paltz, New York in 1987 and decided that in addition to being able to visit the winery, tour its cellar and visit its shop (as is the standard mode of operation for a winery), he would bring "Wine Country to New York." Licensed as a winery, Vintage New York sells only New York State wines from among 140 boutique wineries, wonderful cheeses, chocolates and other delights from their artisanal food pantry. This little gem is complete with a cellar and tasting counter where you can taste EVERY ONE of the wines in the store EVERY DAY. That's right, they are OPEN ON SUNDAY! Nice, huh? With their motto "Think Global, Drink Local" Vintage has been a huge booster of downtown New York and upstate farmers, winemakers and growers.

This was one of those nice, quiet, intimate gatherings of people who came together to enjoy their love of wine and mingle with fellow wine and food afficinados in order to help support New York. In addition, $2.00 from each person's ticket was a donation to Windows of Hope ( For those who have somehow managed to miss any of the 15 Dining to Make a Difference events that have been held since October, this was the most recent of these food and drink focused events that have been held to help revitalize the economy, build community and aid relief efforts. Dining to Make a Difference was created by Vergent founder and president, Wendy Dubit, whose bio on her website starts with, "For all of my adult life, I have been eating and drinking to make a difference--cognizant of the power that each act, every purchase and all of us have to change the world in simple but profound ways." Thus is the philosophy behind these events, which are designed to get people to realize that they, too, can make a difference by dining out soon and often, bringing colleagues and friends, booking parties, attending benefits, volunteering, and contributing to their community on a daily basis.

Robert and his assistant Ian poured samples of wines from the Finger Lakes region (half the wines in the store are from that area of the state), the Hudson Valley, and the fastest growing wine region of the state--Long Island. Classic whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and reds like Merlot and Cabernet Franc were contrasted with two interesting Finger Lake wines, a Meritage and the finishing touch--a very sweet Ice Wine made from Vidal Blanc grapes.

Those who enjoyed the evening included corporate development and strategy consultant Arthur Muldoon, Lerner New York fabric research manager Laura Enos, Tiffany's former director Paul McCann and friend Tom Wiles, City of New York Parks & Recreation employee Sara Levine, Knowledge For Professionals, Inc. president Paula Garzon and New York City Fire Department software developer Kevin Jones. I chatted with the very mannerly and thoughtful comedian Gary Welz (who I had remembered meeting over a year ago at the Avenue C Tribes Gallery multi-media exhibit reception). American Express marketing researcher Cheryl Morris was along with airplane pilot Greg McAlpin and who were both in matching artisan suede coats! Also in attendance was The Riverdale Press co-publisher & general manager Richard Stein who
was along with Public Market Partners' Hilary Baum. Hilary is currently creating The Baum Forum, a huge conference set for this October, which will cover the issues involved in protecting sustainable food production.

Of course, I also enjoyed the evening, including the post-tasting gathering of where Wendy and a few others continued to enjoy more food and (yikes!) more wine at another SoHo establishment. After that an even smaller group continued on to the lovely SoHo Grand lounge for, you guessed it, more cocktails! Hurray!

For more information on Wendy Dubit and Vergant, a brand building and business development consultancy for companies and causes, visit For information on Vintage New York visit Did I mention that they are OPEN ON SUNDAY!? Just a little reminder!