Archive for June 2012

CAMERON HUGHES sees nothing romantic about being a winemaker. Having a rolling vineyard to call his own? Taking that first sip of a homegrown pinot noir? He can live without it, thanks — and he does, even as he has become a prominent name in the California wine industry.

Mr. Hughes, who started by selling wine out of the back of his Volvo station wagon in 2002, is a wine négociant, or wine merchant. He does not own a vineyard or a winery. Instead, from offices in San Francisco and Calistoga, Calif., he outsources all the labor that goes into making a bottle of wine — growing the grapes, crushing and fermenting them, and other steps in the process — to others.

“All we do is bring the barrels,” Mr. Hughes said.

Actually, he does a bit more than that. During the worldwide wine glut of the recent recession, his company, Cameron Hughes Wine, flourished as he bought up excess wine from wineries, repackaged it under his own label and sold it at a discount.

Read the rest at the New York Times

WHEN the London-based members-only social club Soho House opened a branch in New York’s meatpacking district almost a decade ago, it seemed to confer a sense of exclusivity and festivity to a neighborhood that was radically reinventing itself. Raucous parties were held at the rooftop pool, where an invitation to lunch made one feel puffed out with self-importance; Harvey Weinstein showed films privately in the screening room; attractive women tottered toward the entrance in Jimmy Choo shoes.

But over the years, the club has struggled to settle into its identity in a night-life scene that has become more laid-back and roughhewn, with entries like the Ace Hotel in Midtown and Roberta’s over the bridge in Bushwick stealing much of the buzz.

When Soho House became inundated with bankers and other social undesirables, a sign was put in the lobby showing a red line through the image of a suit. Some memberships were not renewed in 2010 as management attempted to purge the club’s image as a happy-hour hot spot for hedge-fund managers on their way home to New Jersey. (A visit at 5 p.m. on the Friday of this past Memorial Day weekend found men in sweat pants joking with the lobby staff, and one stocky woman exiting carrying a Lord & Taylor bag.) And the death of the designer Sylvie Cachay there later in 2010 seemed an especially dark coda; it resulted in more news coverage than the club had received in years.

Soho House’s chief executive, Nick Jones, who founded the club in 1995, now oversees 10 Soho Houses (six in Britain, three in the United States and one in Berlin), all of which adhere to a strict, Royal-Geographical-Society-meets-Dwell-Magazine design aesthetic. (One echoed in his finely tailored but untucked shirts and designer jeans.)

Read the rest at the New York Times