The District Winery debuting next week in Navy Yard is more than twice the size of its predecessor in Brooklyn, New York, providing the events-minded co-founders room to run with a regionally inspired restaurant, wine making facility, tasting area, open air patio, and cavernous private event space.
According to partners John Stires and Brian Leventhal, the beauty of having more real estate in D.C. — they’ve claimed a 17,000-square-foot chunk of land along the southeast waterfront — is the ability to work a dedicated tasting room into the mix.
“Everything can work together at the same time autonomously without having to step on toes,” Leventhal says.
The duo calculates that a 500-person party can take place in the mezzanine and third-floor wraparound patio, without interrupting the flow of things at the in-house restaurant, dubbed Ana.
The interior, designed by HapstakDemetriou+, mimics the look of a steam ship, with brass lighting affixed to sleek dark wood walls. Vistas also create a seafaring experience; stand at the south-facing side of the patio overlooking the Anacostia and bobbing boats in slips dot the horizon.
“It’s like a jewel box. At night it lights up and acts as a beacon,” says Stires.
Since wine takes one to three years to produce, shipments of Brooklyn Winery-made product will stock shelves and fill glasses for now in D.C.
There are 15 types in the works for this area, ranging from chardonnay made from Finger Lakes, New York grapes to sauvignon blanc from Suisun Valley, California — an exclusive variety only sold in D.C.
Stires is big on wallpaper design and went nuts in private areas; along with the green room’s green backdrop for bridal gowns, there’s a shimmering tiger print in the men’s bathroom.
Lighting accents are also a highlight, with several dramatic 200-cube fiber optic displays that form an infinity symbol at different angles.
Tours will be scheduled six times a weekend, for $25 apiece, starting Saturday, September 9, and will include walk-throughs of the north-facing nucleus of the operation: the on-site winery.
Winemaker Conor McCormack expects to receive the first shipment of grapes from California next week.
Chef Michael Gordon, an alum of recently shuttered Bouley in New York, and local hospitality vet Benjamin Lambert (701 Restaurant), are leading the kitchen here.
They offered up a few seafood dishes during a media preview.
Stay tuned for additional details about Ana and its food offerings.
Meanwhile, the D.C. area got an injection of new residents as a result of the expansion; along with McCormack, Gordon and the co-owners all moved from Brooklyn to the area this spring.
Status: Opening Wednesday, August 30; 385 Water Street SE; website.