The historic Foster Building is now housing something new to Schenectady — the Capoccia Wine Lounge.
The city’s first wine bar, store and tasting room will open its doors Tuesday. The bar is unique in that it will sell only wines produced by Capoccia Vineyards & Winery in Niskayuna.
“We’re one of the first in the Capital Region,” Justin Capoccia said of the lounge. “I think there are only two others between Albany and Troy. What sets us apart is we’re the actual winery itself. We’re not just showcasing other wines. We actually make and produce our own wines.”
The wine bar occupies 2,600 square feet on the ground floor of the old Hotel Foster at 508 State St. Sequence Development of Troy renovated the six-story building with 10 apartment units upstairs.
“We were going to go to Saratoga, and then I put the brakes on it,” Capoccia said. “We started in Schenectady and grew up here, so I wanted to stay here. When I approached Metroplex, this project was just about to start. We met with Sequence Development and we were exactly what they wanted. We’re glad we’re staying here. A lot of cool things are happening in downtown.”
The space inside the 1907 building has a warm feel with light blue walls, wood floors, and handcrafted tabletops that sit on top of wine barrels — the handiwork of Capoccia’s father, Domenic Capoccia.
There’s no mistaking the store is bullish on wine. At the entrance to the right, hundreds of wine bottles lie in wooden shelves lined up against the wall with even more in racks hung on the walls above.
To the left, more wine could be found in shelves in front of two tasting tables. A chalkboard on the wall advertises the red and white wines available for tasting on any given day.
The winery will offer nine varieties of dry reds and whites along with sweet reds and whites. That number will increase to 12 different varieties by June, Capoccia said.
Wines listed on Capoccia’s website include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Noiret, Rosette, Traminette and Vignoles. The average price per bottle is $14.
“Everything is local here,” he said. “We carry a bunch of hard ciders as well.”
A hallway leads down to the main bar with a lounge area complete with leather chairs, couches and several flat-screen TVs. There is also a more private lounge area sectioned off in the back of the room.
“Wine bars in the region are bars with restaurant seating,” Capoccia said. “We’re more of a New York City lounge-type atmosphere. There isn’t really a place like this in the area.”
A courtyard in back of the building could seat between 20 and 30 people with the possibility of live entertainment in the future, Capoccia said.
The lounge will be open every day except Mondays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Capoccia said he would keep the place open later, to midnight or 1 a.m., based on activity downtown.
He pointed to shows at Proctors a block away as a factor for selecting the prime location.
“We want to feel out the area as far as how late we’ll be open,” he said. “I know when Proctors gets out people are always looking for something to do. If it’s open and people are coming through the door and the place is doing well, I’m not going to close.”
The lounge will have between five and 10 employees, plus Domenic and Justin Capoccia. But the father and son will still be busy with another business a few miles away.
Capoccia Vineyards & Winery has been making wine on Balltown Road in Niskayuna for nine years. But the family is looking to move from the 3-acre property to a bigger location soon.
“We’ll have to up our production and we don’t have the space,” Capoccia said. “So we’re going to be looking to buy a parcel of 20 to 25 acres. We’re hoping to stay in Schenectady if we can find a piece of land big enough.”
Capoccia said the family is aiming to move the business by the end of the year.
“Everything is happening pretty fast,” he said. “To this area, we were a new thing and there aren’t many wineries here. There are a lot in surrounding areas, so we’re looking to centralize ourselves.”
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.
More from The Daily Gazette: