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will City Winery survive in this economy?

Steve Earle & Allison Moorer @ Judson Church (more by Chris La Putt)
Steve Earle and Allison Moorer

Will City Winery be a hit? The idea that music events and high-end private parties could generate additional revenue convinced Matthew Sperling, managing director of equity capital markets at Jefferies & Co., to become one of the winery’s first investors. It was a decision he says he came to “over many bottles of wine.” And, of course, he’s making his own barrel.

Dorf admits that “the credit crunch is affecting my nerves.” One investor has pulled out, and the $15,000 premier barrel category hasn’t had any traction in the past three weeks. Still, a third of the barrels have been sold to a diverse group of New Yorkers, from group president of JP Morgan Mutual Funds George Gatch to supermodel Petra and artist Chuck Close.

Dorf is taking no chances. This week he’s launching a “community barrel” category (about $1,500) for those willing to share with five like-minded strangers. (Think of it as the latest singles opportunity.)

He’s also revamping next year’s music plans.

“My idea of having Sting appear at a $1,000-ticket concert would have worked six months ago, but the game has changed in the past five or six days,” he says. Thursday night “pairing” events start in January, with Grammy Award-winning Steve Earle and his wife, Allison Moorer, followed by singer-songwriters Suzanne Vega and Marc Cohn. [Bloomberg]

Philip Glass is playing there in March. A video feature NBC did on the venue below…

City Winery on NBC

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