We know lots of people who have home brew kits in their apartments and have friends who make the odd bottle of wine, but there’s no one quite like Matt Baldassano. He’s turned his 550-square-foot New York apartment into a winery. Known as the Village Winery Club, it’s actually a subscription wine club, which gets around New York’s winemaking laws. Members pay dues, starting at $200, to attend events and be able to buy the wines.
Bottles and barrels dominate the kitchen, nestled up against cupboards and a wine fridge. His living room is very wine-centric, with part of a giant barrel jutting out from the wall and holding more wine. To take advantage of what little space he has, he hangs all his cooking utensils on racks attached to the wall. A steel barrel sits next to the couch, holding in-progress wine.
In the backyard, there’s an electric machine for crushing the 4,000 pounds of grapes Baldassano has delivered each year from California, Italy, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. When it’s time to crush the grapes, members are invited to a party twice a year, where they can either use the machine or their feet to crush the grapes. They ferment in the yard for about a week, then the juice is transferred to barrels, where they’ll stay in Baldassano’s temperature-controlled apartment for at least a year, according to Thrillist.
“My grandfather had been making wine for probably over 50 years,” Baldassano told Nyorker in 2013. “The first glass my grandfather had of our wine, he took a sip, and he said, ‘Eh.’”
Evidently things have improved since then, because the club has over 100 members, enough to cover the cost of the materials to make 10 different wines, as well as Baldassano’s rent.