Stepping into the Valhalla offices of Wine Enthusiast Companies — which publishes Wine Enthusiast Magazine and offers wine through its website WineExpress.com as well as wine accessories and wine-storage via WineEnthusiast.com — it’s immediately clear that the company’s name is more than apt. Bottles of red, white, and rosé are abundant; maps of wine-producing regions line the walls; and employees queue up on Fridays for wine giveaways (more on that later). The company moved last July from its Mount Kisco location to this 30,000 sq ft space, located in the The Summit office park, to gain upgraded facilities, room for growth, and to be closer to New York City for its employees who live there.
The tasting department, which includes tasting coordinators Carrie Dykes and Angela Kahn, handles all wine samples sent in for editorial review. The department is also tasked with keeping the Wine Enthusiast cellar organized. As a result, their desks look like this. (What, yours doesn’t?)
This staging space, to the left of the reception area, allows the company to show off some of the most popular items in the Wine Enthusiast Catalog. These top sellers include wine refrigerators, wine storage racks, custom wine-cellar solutions, and glassware. Consumers can book appointments to come to the Valhalla office to test out big-ticket items — like high-end wine refrigerators, which can cost up to $12,000 — before purchasing. The company also uses this area to conduct glassware training for employees.
In this studio space, the company often shoots videos for WineExpress.com, WineEnthusiast.com, and the Wine Enthusiast Catalog. And this spring, the company began using the space to interview wine-and-spirits-industry luminaries for its new industry website, Beverage Industry Enthusiast.
Editorial meetings for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which is published 13 times a year, take place in this conference room, decked out with a handy magnetic wall for hanging layouts (the magnets look like wine corks, of course). The wine-lifestyle publication reaches an affluent subscriber base of nearly 1 million readers.
When a winery wants to be reviewed by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, they submit sample bottles for a blind tasting by their respective region’s editor. The company’s global panel of tasters reviews some 22,000 wines each year. In this tasting room, editors sample wines from South America, Greece, Spain, South Africa, Australia, and Germany (plus others), while offsite editors review wines from regions including Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, California, Washington State, and Oregon. Each bottle is labeled with the country, region, producer, variety, vintage, date received, and price. On Fridays, employees can select a bottle from the “give rack” of unused leftovers from the tasting sessions.
Fittingly, conference rooms are named after famous wine regions.
The company’s old space in Mount Kisco was in a converted warehouse (“It sounds cooler than it actually was,” jokes one executive), so employees love the bright, open floor plan in the new office. The goal was to foster collaboration and impromptu meetings. (Wine-centric furniture, like this table/rack, pops up throughout the office.)