The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

IWM’s Secret Wine Cellar

The IWM difference–our temperature-controlled cellar and our cellarmen

Most IWM clients have never visited our cellar. They just know that their wine magically arrives in the dumbwaiter, gets tenderly wrapped by a sales associate, placed into a happy maroon box, and that’s it. But below the wooden floor of the IWM showroom sits a magical wonderland of wine and cellarmen. This is their story.

This picture shows your hypothetical bottle of Barolo. You want to buy it because it does look lovely on the shelf and you know it’ll be tasty; however, you don’t get this actual bottle of Barolo. Yours comes from the cellar, and your IWM sales associate sends the order downstairs, where it is received by one of several workers.
The workers downstairs in the cellar work really hard.  They don’t just fetch your bottle of wine (and mine); they also catalog, unpack, pack up, organize and otherwise keep the warren of the cellar in manageable order. It’s tight and cold in the cellar.  Shelves are crammed with bottles, making the space seem smaller than it is. The fans are loud and there are many, many boxes.

The boxes are, frankly, drool inspiring. If you look at this picture of Gaja and Sassicaia crates and don’t feel lust in your heart, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

Likewise if this picture of shelves of Dal Forno don’t make you feel a bit like snatching and running..

The best part of the IWM cellar–other than the proximity of that much wine–is the link between the cellar and the store: the dumbwaiter. There’s a childlike wonder inherent to dumbwaiters, a kind of now-you-don’t-see it/now-you-do household prestidigitation. I also love that the IWM dumbwaiter is crafted from an Ornellaia box. It’s perfect that wine arrives in the casing of one of the most enchanting Super-Tuscan wines. Look down the shaft of the dumbwaiter and seeing the wine and the workers. It’s not quite seeing the White Rabbit or the Keebler elves, but it’s magical all the same.

Inside IWM, February 16-18, 2016: Short but Intense Edition

A look back at the week that was

Growing Sangiovese Grosso vines

Growing Sangiovese Grosso vines

For Monday being a holiday, Inside IWM packed a lot into this week. Sean Collins told us how he wowed his friends with an unexpectedly delicious $19 bottle of Chianti Classico from La Maialina. We got an inside view of the IWM NYC showroom from John Camacho Vidal, who explained how what we do is different from every other wine shop. And we completed our series on Italian red wine grapes with a rousing post that details some of our favorites; from Refosco to Uva Rara, this exploration of red grapes expands your wine knowledge.

Our Experts were similarly intense. Crystal Edgar looks forward to summer with two fine Verdicchio wines from Sartarelli, one of our favorite Le Marche producers. Michael Adler looks at Meursault and “Meursault,” offering a pair of wines that will reward lovers of fine Chardonnay. And Will Di Nunzio picks a pair of under $35 quintessentially Italian wines, making sure that you can drink great wine any night of the week.

Here’s to making the most of your time–and enjoying it with terrific wine and even better people.

Why the IWM Showroom is Different

It’s more than just our wines

Store 1I’ve often walked into wine shops–sometimes out of curiosity and sometimes because I’m looking for something specific–and each time I walk out of one, I appreciate more and more the way our showroom is set up.

I can easily see how the average wine-drinker, someone who has been recently kissed by the wine bug, or even someone with some wine experience, can feel intimidated or confused when shopping for wine. With few exceptions, I walk into wine shops to find a labyrinth of bottles scattered all over the place in no particular order and lacking the knowledgeable staff to guide me. Now that I do know a bit about wine, I’ve realized that the experience gets worse; so often I see a nice bottle from a great producer and a great vintage just sitting on a shelf under bright florescent bulbs. It’s enough to make me run out in disappointment or just grab anything out of frustration just to have something for dinner.

For the most, part people walk into IWM with something already in mind, but not always, so the other floor staff and I try to guide them. Since we are Italian Wine Merchants, everything on display is Italian (we do sell global wines, but these bottles are only rarely on display), but what sets us apart from all other wine sellers is the fact that we have only one bottle of each producer displayed on the shelf.  Well, this and our Vintage Tasting Room, whose brick walls are lined with killer bottles.

Store 3We don’t segregate between varietal or region; our organization is intuitive, simple and very friendly. The shelf is organized by price point, starting on the left with the lowest priced bottle increasing in price as you stroll to the right. Each bottle has a description of the region, varietal and tasting note next to it. We display only one bottle of each producer’s wine because everything from our delicious Per Linda Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (one of the best $11 bottles you’ll ever have) to the amazing six-liter bottle of 1999 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte (one of the best bottles you’ll ever have at 83 times that price) is kept in our temperature-controlled cellar. At any given time we have approximately 40-50,000 bottles in the cellar.

When people shop at IWM, chances are they will walk out with a smile. Maybe that’s why they keep coming back, though perhaps it’s the wine selection or our staff who’s eager to share their knowledge. I like to think it’s because of my charm, but in reality it’s a bit of all this combined.The other tool we have to better guide our clients is that we always have an open bottle so we can taste with them. This practice is extremely helpful, especially when we ask the clients if they are looking for anything in particular and they have no clue. Tasting with clients allows us firsthand to get a feel for clients’ palate and flavor profiles, what they like and dislike about the wine and point them in the direction of something they might enjoy at their particular price point. Once the client makes a selection, the bottle is sent up via dumbwaiter straight from the cellar at a cool 54°F to end up in the client’s warm hands. Everyone new to IWM always gets a kick out of watching the bottle pop up as if sent by the wine elves hidden in the cellar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy holiday from IWM!

IWM hopes you and yours have a joyous, delicious Thanksgiving, and we also hope that if you’re in the New York City area, you’ll join IWM on Black Friday for our complimentary tasting. Space is limited, so contact your portfolio manager to reserve your spot!

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IWM NYC’s Black Friday Tasting!

Our yearly must-attend complimentary event!

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