Brooklynites, prepare your corkscrews. The owners of the Fifth Avenue spirit shop Red, White & Bubbly are about to make wine a little more local.
Adam Goldstein and Darrin Siegfried, who opened the store six years ago, have created their own label, named Brooklyn Wine Co., and the first bottles — available in “Feliz White” and “Feliz Red” — will be popped on May 11 with a big opening bash.
“Everybody here has that sort of love and passion for Brooklyn,” Goldstein told GO Brooklyn. “So we wanted to create something for our customers and to say we have our own wine, too.”
Described as “inexpensive, everyday wines,” the Feliz Red ($14) is a combination of Zinfidel, Barbera and Syrah; and with notes of raspberries, black plums, chocolate and cinnamon, it’s a little bit earthy. Feliz White, which Goldstein called “lemony and smooth,” will cost a few dollars less and is comprised of Verdelho, Savignon Blanc and Colombard.
Both wines, according to their proud papas, are meant to make locals smile.
“In owning the store for [more than six years,] we can see what our customers like,” Goldstein said. “We realized if we were going to have fun with it, our customers would, too.”
And having fun while creating a new wine means, of course, plenty of tasting. Goldstein and Siegfried, lacking the space for a vineyard in Park Slope, teamed up with California-based winemaker Clark Smith, whose WineSmith blends they’ve carried at the shop for years, to mix and match grapes until they developed a blend that was just right.
“These wines are tremendous values,” Smith, who was in Brooklyn for a two-day trip, said. “It’s about something good in the glass and a trust that develops with a neighborhood and its wine shop. It’s because Darrin and Adam are standing behind them that people are interested.”
Once they had decided what should go into the bottles, it was time to concentrate on the outside. Wanting to keep it local, Goldstein and Siegfried turned to artist Ryan Seslow, an old friend whose work had been displayed in the shop’s windows, to create a logo that would capture the spirit of the borough.
“[We] wanted to work with the Brooklyn Bridge being an icon for the whole idea,” Seslow told GO Brooklyn. “It’s a central icon to anybody from Brooklyn or even to people who pass through New York.” Seslow’s shadowy image of the bridge is both strong and romantic, said Goldstein, who himself is a collector of Seslow’s work. “He just went above and beyond.”
Fans of Siegfried’s wine reviews and anecdotes, which are posted throughout the store (and in these pages), are in for a treat as well, as the back label of each bottle features his description of that blend.
It’s obvious that plenty of hard work, good luck and business savvy went into the venture, so whatever you do, don’t call it a publicity stunt.
“I know there’s a Brooklyn gum, and it’s actually made in Italy,” lamented Goldstein. “I’ve gotten people who’ve heard of [Brooklyn Wine Co.] and think, ‘Oh, you’re just putting the name Brooklyn on the wine,’ and I’ll tell you one thing: It is not a gimmick.”
The Brooklyn Wine Company line will be sold exclusively at Red, White & Bubbly, and will hopefully be served at a slew of Park Slope restaurants, including Blue Ribbon and La Villa.
Even with the excitement buzzing around the launch of their wines, Goldstein and Siegfried aren’t content to just sit still. They’re already thinking about the “Grand Army Meritage,” which will be released in the fall and will retail for about $25, and are on to future projects. Goldstein said that they’ve lined up meetings with sake producers in Japan and would like to expand the brand to feature a single malt Scotch, more wines and even champagne.
Until then, the men behind the Brooklyn Wine Co. will focus on selling the 600 cases of Feliz they’ve produced so far.
“It’s not so much that we create a good wine, but that we create a fantastic wine,” Goldstein said. “That’s what we’re about at Red White & Bubbly. And if we’re going to put our names on a bottle of wine, we want it to knock your socks off.”
Brooklyn, you’ll soon drink to that.
The Brooklyn Wine Co. will celebrate the release of the Feliz Red and Feliz White at Red, White & Bubbly (211 Fifth Ave., at Union Street in Park Slope) on May 11 from 6–9 pm, on May 12 at noon and on May 13 from 2–6 pm. For information, call (718) 636-WINE or visit www.redwhiteandbubbl….