Interview with Brooklyn Winery
Thank you Conor!
1. What is the history of your winery?
Our winery was conceived in 2009 and born in 2010, so we are very young. The co-founders, one native New Yorker and the other a Southern California transplant, came up with an idea to start a winery in Brooklyn where people could have more access to the process in a low key atmosphere. Not having any history in the wine business, they hired me to build out and run the winery. I moved my family out from Northern California where I grew up and had been making wine since 2003. Our first release of white wines came out in June of 2011 and quickly sold out. Our 2010 red wines will be coming out in the fall of 2012, while our 2011 whites will be out this summer. We have since increased production to just under 5000 cases a year, with plans for continued growth in the coming years. We do not own our own vineyards, but source high quality fruit from reputable growers with great land.
2. What is unique about your winery?
Well, for one we are located in Brooklyn, New York. A true urban winery, the building we use has a long history. Most recently a nightclub, it has housed a creamery, funeral parlor, auto body shop, pickle factory, and an “import/export” company (I picture Mafia guys sitting around playing cards and planning their next heist where my laboratory is now). Another unique component is our front of house operation. I designed a 16 faucet tap system that is exclusively for our wines made on sight. It gives me a lot of flexibility to showcase different styles of wine. For example, a three wine flight of Chardonnay showcases a stainless steel, barrel fermented, and skin contact version of the same vintage and vineyard. We also sell bottles of certain wines to go, like a traditional tasting room.
3. What wines do you specialize in?
I specialize in a broad range of varietals and styles. Currently I am working with the following; Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, plus a few small lots of other varietals. (I like to stay busy!) I like to create different styles of wine with the same fruit, especially the white varietals. You can get such different results depending on the techniques employed in the cellar.
4. What makes a great bottle of wine?
A great bottle of wine is created out of a combination of vineyard site, vineyard management, cellar technique, and the palate of whoever is guiding the winemaking process.
5. Where do you think the wine industry is heading?
When it comes to the wine industry, the essential elements of why it has been around for so long will always continue: Grow it, make it, and then enjoy it. As to where it is heading, I really think it depends on the region. For example, New York and California have very different trends and trajectories. New York wines are getting more of the attention they deserve, especially with the Rieslings grown in the Finger Lakes and public awareness is still being pushed. California is starting to pull back on the over ripe fruit bombs, and going back to creating more interesting wines. I think this is because more people have access to wine from different regions found around the world that previously have been difficult to obtain, so the competition is fierce.