The back label is just as important
Importers play an important role in bringing in quality wine from around the world to our shores. We rely on their judgment of quality and distinctiveness in wine. To make a comparison, look at wine importers vs. record labels. If you’re interested in learning about the blues, a good label to explore would be Chess Records. If you wanna enhance your knowledge of Detroit music from 1959-1972 for a Motown-themed quizzo night, you’d obviously delve into the vaults of Motown Records . And, of course there are other record labels like Anti, which offer an interesting variety of artists like Tom Waits, Man Man & Mavis Staples, for those with more eclectic tastes.
Record label owners won’t sign any old artist off the street. They have to make sure the artist and music fit their portfolio. A good wine importer, in the same way, will not bring on a Pinot Noir from Burgundy just for the sake of filling that niche. Depending on what their likes and standards are, everything that goes into making that particular bottle of wine is important and examined closely. For example, one importer may feel that only sourcing organic wines from family-owned estates is a priority when looking for new wines. Another may solely import wines from one country. By law, any wine that is imported into this country must wear a sticker or back label denoting the name of the importer.
At a. kitchen and a. bar, we champion smaller importers that seek out smaller-production winegrowers, those who craft wine from organically and bio-dynamically grown grapes and do very little to manipulate the wine. These importers not only visit and keep close ties with their winegrowers they represent, but they ensure that the wines are shipped and stored at cellar temperature. This is especially important for wine is easily damaged by heat.
Here are the importers whose wines make up a majority of our wine program:
Jenny & François: a reference in the natural wine world; beautifully-crafted, distinctive natural wines (little manipulation, terroir-driven) http://www.jennyandfrancois.com/
Louis/Dressner/McKenna: one of the pioneers of importing natural wine; a stellar portfolio of mostly French & Italian wines http://louisdressner.com/
David Bowler: importer/distributor based out of NYC with a strong focus on small batch wines made with little manipulation http://www.bowlerwine.com/
De Maison: Andre Tamers goes against the grain and introduces the US to Spanish white wines, ciders and sherries; brilliant portfolio! http://www.demaisonselections.com/
Zev Rovine: Philadelphia native gone Brooklyn via Utah; one of the top natural wine importers with a huge focus on unsulfured wine http://zrswines.com/
Selection Massale: with great patience, PA now is exposed to a few of the fun, edgy well-made wines brought into this country from this importer http://selectionmassale.com/
Michael Folk & Wheeler: these two Polaner expats are now importing honestly made wines from small growers in Europe http://www.mfwwinecompany.com/about.html
Rare Wine Company: the name tells it as it is; they bring in wines with a deep-rooted history and great story; ever have real Madeira? http://www.rarewineco.com/
Indie Wineries: they bring in some of the best Italian wines from smaller estates http://www.indiewineries.com/
Vine Street Imports: a local importer with a strong artisanal Australian portfolio http://www.vsimports.com/
Terry Thiese: one of the first to champion German riesling, Austrian wines and grower Champagne; quite a colorful wine writer http://www.skurnikwines.com/msw/terry_theise.html
Kermit Lynch: one of the first US importers to have a solid focus on sustainably-farmed, small production wines brought in temperature-controlled http://kermitlynch.com/
Wine Traditions: proprietor Ed Addis works only in France and brings in humble wines from small wine estates http://www.winetraditions.com/
Peter Weygandt: an ambassador of smaller production, sustainable wines with a strong selection of French wines http://www.weygandtmetzler.com/Home.html
Neal Rosenthal: another classic wine importer with beautiful wines from France and Italy http://www.madrose.com/
José Pastor: superb wines from the Canary Isles? José brings in a great selection of minimally-manipulated wines from Spain http://www.josepastorselections.com/
Rudi Wiest: an importer with a cornucopia of dry German wine…yes, dry German wine is not an oxymoron http://rudiwiest.com/
Victor Owen Schwartz: imports a fine selection of artisanal wine and spirits from around the world http://vosselections.com/