How to Enjoy RAW WINE New York for a Week…and Beyond

Posted on: October 30th, 2018 by

Hey, it’s time for RAW WINE New York! It’s the renowned natural wine fair created and organized by Isabelle Legeron MW, taking place again in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s like natty wine’s prom, Super Bowl, and college reunion all rolled into one. If you can make it to the event Sunday or Monday (11/4 and 11/5), that’s awesome! I’ll be there the former day via a comped press pass. As you can see in the photo below, it gets kinda crazy packed.

The crowd at RAW Wine New York in Bushwick

RAW Wine New York / Photo by Katie June Burton

Besides the big ol’ tasting at RAW WINE New York, there are some pretty cool seminars, too. Whoops, I mean Speakers’ Corner events. “Seminars” sounds very dull and un-natural. If you’re there, step away from the tasting tables and grab a dang chair for these natty brain morsels:

11:30-12:30 What’s a pet nat and why should I drink it?

1:00-2:00 Montréal – A Taste Journey

2:30-3:30 Natural Wine 101

4:00-5:00 Cider 101: more like beer or more like wine?

But what if you’re spending Sunday watching football and drinking beer? Or doing hot yoga then eating donuts? Hiking? Going to IKEA and afterwards putting together a dang cabinet-type thing? And you have to go to work on Monday? OH NOS!!!

Fortunately, there are events going on all week in New York. It’s #rawwineweek y’all. Which is actually TWO weeks, from October 31st to November 14th. Why? Because the LA edition of RAW is November 11th and 12th. So there’s a lot of bi-coastal natty nuttiness. (Also the fair in Montreal is 11/1.)

I’m not going to list ALL the events here in NYC, just the ones that I am particularly excited about because of the venue, the wines, the people, or a combo of all three. (Here’s the complete lineup, FYI.)

Suggested RAW WINE New York Events

Swick Wines 

I’m confident Joe Swick is the only natty winemaker who is equal parts Michael Bolton and Michael McDonald enthusiast. At least according to what I see on his Instagram account. Which I take at face value, like everything I see on the internet. Perhaps he’s pulling my leg? If so, I took the bait. Anyway, Swick Wines are made from Oregon and Washington grapes with unique blends and lesser-known grapes. Like Touriga Nacional, for an example of the latter. Ok, he does Pinot Noir and you’ve heard of that. Some of his wines are also creatively named. Like, “Wyd, U up?”

Find Joe and his bottles at Wine Therapy 11/1 at 6pm and at Thirst Wine Merchants 11/18 (ok, #rawwineweek is more than two weeks long) from 3-5pm. (Sidebar: Thirst has really cool custom wine shelving.)

Anyway, Joe, this is for you (maybe?):

Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

Compangie is a classy, dark-ish, plush, couch-y/chair-y spot with a very nice bar. They are putting on a few wine boot camps that sound cool: Drinking RAW WINE in the USA on 11/1, Let’s Talk About Farming on the 6th, and Pet-Nats on the 12th. Each class has a 6 and 7:30 time slot but check with Compagnie to see what’s available.

Dandelion Wine

This is a great shop in my beloved neighborhood of Greenpoint. Head to Dandy for a tasting of Purity Wine with Noel Diaz, who makes wines from grapes in California’s Sierra Foothills, on 11/2 from 6 to 8.

Two Shepherds

I’ve known William from Two Shepherds for years now and his wines keep getting better and better and they were pretty damn good to start with. Most recently I had his 2017 Carbonic Carignan “Wiley” (named after a cat and with felines on the label…hey, remember this cat wine?) and it was a chillable, chuggable red. YUM! Find him at Whet Whistle 11/2 from 6-8 and the next night (11/3) from 6-7:30 at Winey Neighbor.

Ruffian 

This narrow, cozy space in the East Village is a new favorite. I love tiny bars! There’s a BTG takeover on 11/7 from 6pm to midnight, featuring the wares of Winemonger. Get a stool at 5:59.

Delinquente Wine Co

I am a huge fan of Delinquente. The first time I had their stuff was at Somm Time, falling for a Nero d’Avola rosé from…South Australia!!! Then I tried a Pet-Nat made from…Bianco d’Alessano?!? WTF!?! It was a fizzy, refreshing delight. So Delinquente’s deal is Southern Italian grapes coming from South Australia. Dime a dozen wineries doing that, right? Find winemaker Con-Greg Grigorou at Corkscrew Wines 11/3 from 5-7, at a fried chicken dinner at Grindhaus 11/5 8pm, and another dinner at Uncle Chop Chop the next night (11/6) at 7pm.

The Ten Bells

It will be loud, packed, and you probably will stay too late. This natty wine bar in the LES is celebrating 11/3, 11/4, and 11/5 from 8pm to “very late.” You will see lots of winemakers here for sure.

Ops

I love Ops so much!!! TLA! It’s a charming pizza place with literally tiny menus, natty wines but no list, and the square pizza is amazing. They are having a day one (Sunday) afterparty with Zev Rovine Selections from 7-11. Noel from Purity will be there 11/6 starting at 7.

June Wine Bar

Speaking of places I love, June is such a gorgeous spot and this wine bar serves some of the best food in the city. Like Ops, they have a great brunch, too. Check out Cabin Wine with Super Glou. It will be your first chance to taste wines from this portfolio, so go and get your bragging rights from 5-7 on 11/7. (Sidebar: Super Glou is an amazing name for a wine and spirits importer/distributor on so many levels.) ALSO: Saturday 11/3 a big-time party from 5pm-1am with all kinds of BTG takeover action.

Racines NY 

Stop by and Eat/Clink/Drink with Pascaline Lepeltier MS (who is managing partner and sommelier at Racines) and Alice Feiring (wine writer…and beyond…extraordinaire). Winemakers, wine flights, wine pairings, and a special prix fixe menu are all available. (But you can just chill at the bar, yo.) Starting at 6pm on 11/4.

Henry’s Wine & Spirit

If you are at RAW WINE New York, stop by Henry’s. This retail shop is like a 15 minute walk, no excuses. You’ll get 10% off any purchase with your wristband on the 4th and 5th and they stock bottles from a lot of the producers pouring at RAW.

Finally, what if you don’t live in Montreal, New York, LA and can’t go to RAW WINE? Explore the Wines and People & Places sections of the dang website. Learn yourself some natty wine, for real! Then go forth and demand satisfaction from your vino merchants and local restos. THE END.

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