Wine Traditions Ltd. was created in 1996, the collaborative project
of Edward Addiss and Barbara Selig. The philosophy of Wine Traditions is
to discover independent winemakers whose passion for their vineyard and
mastery of their winemaking craft combine to create a product that is a beautiful expression of the land from which it comes. They
believe their portfolio demonstrates that wonderful wines can be found
beyond well known appellations and need not be over priced. For them,
wine is meant to be enjoyed with dinner, everyday and at prices that
make it an appropriate component of the meal.
Ed majored in composition at Berklee College of Music and started working part time in wine shops to support his late night composing. Barbara studied
Italian and Art History at Georgetown University. They met in New York
soon after graduating and have been together ever since.
Ed continued in the wine business working for several importer/distributors in New York. Eventually Ed
and Barbara had the idea to market New York wines locally; they wanted
to promote the wines made where they lived. They traveled to wineries
throughout Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes, meeting
and talking with producers, but it proved too difficult to get enough
wineries to participate. Ed instead went to work for the San Francisco
Wine Exchange, a pioneer in the marketing of independent wineries during
the early days of the California local food and wine movement.
Ten years later Ed and Barbara were still eager to embark on their
own project. Ed found the inspiration for Wine Traditions in an unlikely
spot. On a sales call in a package store in the East Village, Ed agreed
to buy a collection of “unsellable” old Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux from
the owner. The wines were absolutely delicious; they were what Ed had
first loved in wine. He began researching independent growers in
Bordeaux which led to an exploration of the whole of Southwest France
and the beginnings of Wine Traditions.
Ed takes a studied approach to developing his portfolio, marked by intensive research into geology, geography as well as the philosophy and approach of producers. The process is
too laborious to allow them to cover more than a small area at a time.
He and Barbara make multiple visits to an appellation in order to
develop an appreciation for its potentialities before they make
selections that they feel are representative of the area’s best
Ed and Barbara continue their passionate interest in supporting local food products and
encouraging growth in local wine production. Ed serves on the Board of
the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association which promotes the interests of
domestic wineries. They see a working correlation between importing
traditional wines from little known wine regions of France and
engendering a vested culture of local food appreciation here in the US.
By importing these wines they are preserving the culture of local wine
making in France by enabling it to remain a viable economy, and, in a
sense, they are importing that culture, the idea that making wine
locally is culturally valuable and economically valid.
Wine Traditions currently works with 60 independently owned
wineries. The wines feature indigenous varietals and are traditionally
made, all following sustainable agriculture, many are organic and
several follow biodynamic principles as well.
In the past few years, they have begun working with fabulous distributors in other states. We feel close in philosophy and goals to movements such as Fair Trade and Slow Foods, as well as environmental movements. Our hope is that Jenny & François Selections helps passionate winemakers, who respect the environment and high standards of quality, to continue what they do by bringing their wines to the United States.
They love to educate about natural wines, and share the same excitement for these wines with passionate wine professionals and individuals across the US just as we do.
Jenny Lefcourt, a native New Yorker, originally landed in Paris to study French film during her PhD at Harvard.
After many visits to Paris wine bars and vineyards throughout France, all paths led to wine instead of academia.
Jenny divides her time between France and the US (mostly Paris & New York).
François Ecot, during his years playing jazz piano and tuning and restoring accordians in his native Paris, not only developed his musical ear, but also his smell and taste for wine.
His childhood visits to Chablis vineyards near his family home in Burgundy sparked his interest early. In 1999, he went back to school for winemaking in Beaune, and spent years apprenticing at vineyards doing everything from plowing with a horse to harvesting. He now even makes wine from a small plot of vines he planted in Burgundy.
His hands-on experience in the vines and cellar are a big part of what makes Jenny & François Selections so unique.
François spends most of his time finding fabulous natural wines on his travels through France and beyond.
Together they make a formidable team.
Selections de la Viña
Selections de la Viña is a Spanish portfolio of authentic wines made by authentic people. The wines transmit the passion of their winemakers who are small growers making wines that sacrifice quantity over quality. Farming practices are organic or biodynamic. Additives are limited in the cellar. Many are reclaiming obscure regions and native grape varieties. Most importantly, the growers are making wines that they love, and wines that represent the land from which they come regardless of market trends.
Croatia and Slovenia have, along with Greece, the longest winemaking history in Europe that pre-dates even the Roman Empire. The perfect climatic conditions and the hands-on care of traditional winemaking result in wines that are top-quality and world class.
Vinum USA is the leading importer of Croatian and Slovenian wines in the USA. We take exceptional pride in our portfolio of wines, which represents a wide-range of artisanal winemakers from the regions located around the Adriatic Sea. Our emphasis has been placed on naturally crafted wines that express their origin and local character. Most of the wines in our portfolio are made from preserved local grape varieties such as Plavac Mali, Pošip, Malvasia Istriana, Refosk, Teran, Crljenak Kaštelanski (original Zinfandel), Maraština, Babić, Klarnica, Graševina (Welschriesling) and Žlahtina. However, we have tremendous wines made from international varieties shaped by small winemakers into confident wines with a local identity and an affinity for a wide variety of fare.
Emily and Stephan Schindler have invested everything they own in Winemonger, a company that imports, distributes and retails Austrian wines. "When we started, all we knew was that we both loved wine," Schindler says. Everything else, she says, they learned the hard way.
They both met as students at the American Film Institute, but they bonded over the bottles of wine they shared each evening at dinner. Emily, the daughter of a wine-loving Stanford University professor, has been swirling, sniffing and sipping wine as long as she can remember. And Stephan, whose family owns a tiny vineyard in Vienna, loves the wines of his homeland.
When Stephan wanted to introduce his favorite Austrian wines to Emily, however, they were nowhere to be found in Los Angeles. One afternoon in the couple's Hollywood backyard they had a moment of clarity: Emily would stop rewriting other people's mediocre movie scripts and Stephan would extract himself from a job producing "Star Mania," the Austrian version of "American Idol." Instead, they would import Austrian wine and sell it on the Internet.
Purple teeth, red tape!
It took a year to organize the paperwork, which entailed much more than an import license. There were the wholesale license, off-site retail license, label approvals and customs compliance to obtain, and they had to build an Internet site, not to mention learn the logistics of shipping and exporting wine from Austria. Buying trips to Austria were rare treats.
Winemonger's first shipment landed at the port of Oakland in October 2004. Thanks in part to delays at customs and more paperwork snarls, the first Internet sale -- four bottles to a California customer -- wasn't made until June 20, 2005.
"We kept getting little things wrong," Emily says. "And getting wines from California to other states turns out to be as complicated as importing them in the first place."
As they worked through the layers of state and federal bureaucracy, Emily says, "people kept saying, 'You can't do that.' Well, turns out you can." But since they were combining so many different businesses into one entity run by just two people, no one person had the answers they needed, she says.
It's been worth it. "Our vintners have become good friends & the adventure of finding the wines, knowing we've picked great ones, I love that part."
What Makes a Winery ‘Indie’?
One set of hands. One person who guides every step from the vineyard to the consumer. In contrast to larger producers, Indie Wineries are a one man/woman show and do not have any disconnect. The wines reflect the personality of the winemaker and have a soul and character that make them unique and beautiful.
Small production all around 4,500 cases/year
All are produced naturally, most certified organic, and many biodynamic
Small estates, many that have a cult following, but that fly under the radar of the big guys getting the press and media attention. They are just making their way into the wholesale market and have an unbeatable quality/price ratio. These are the future stars of the wine world...
Communal Brands is the most excellent wine importation, distribution and brand development company operating near a train yard in NYC, period.
Important stuff: We love wine and choose them from people we love: to wit, Melissa Saunders née Monti has one foot in Italy, another in New Zealand – hence Communal’s focus on these regions. Truth (typicity) is critical in all things, but especially wine. We do not dismiss juice trends, we simply believe wholeheartedly that wines can evolve to accommodate taste without abandoning tradition, hence our battle cry: Classic Wine for Modern People.
We also have an affinity for innovation. Enter the Communal Cooperative. The natural evolution from our inspirational namesake (the Communal Table), the Coop includes a growing cadre of NY based importers with a shared sensibility. This has made us arithmetically bigger in portfolio and sales force, and exponentially bigger in profile and market footprint. The Communal Coop provides its members large scale efficiency while allowing them to specialize and focus their selections: the whole greater than the sum of its parts (battle cry part II). It has also made our croquet outings that much more competitive.
There’s more to our story, but we will only tell it in person after drinking too much (most days after 8).
Vinotas Selections was established in 2008 with the goal of seeking out and discovering the finest small-grower Organic or Biodynamic values the wine world has to offer. We focus on importing high-quality, small-production, hand-crafted wines and strive to ensure that they retail for the most part under $20 US. These are truly wines that taste more expensive than they actually are.
Vinotas Selections does not take a shotgun approach to representing wines. We take the time to discover new and upcoming boutique family wineries, with the goal of finding high quality wines that satisfy our customers’ needs. Our wines are from actual people who tend the land, farmers, not cooperatives or factories. We develop long-lasting relationships with our winemakers to ensure that quality and value remain consistent.
We don’t represent brands. We represent works of art and labors of love.
Our family run business continues to expand nation-wide and to partner with small/mid-size distributors who love wine as much as business. We work with our clients to cultivate effective partnerships, ensuring that they get what they need for their respective markets.
Vinotas Selections’ customers can expect only the finest services that they require, from access to the best vintners, to logistical support, and finally to assistance with the promotion and marketing of Vinotas Selections wines. We will do everything to ensure that both our customers and our suppliers are satisfied.
Cochs' (pronounced "coaches") Vermouths have been made using the same recipe since their founding, almost 70 years ago. Over 150 botanicals are used, many of which are native to the winery’s Mediterranean setting. Today, their winemaker is Gemma Martinez.
Although the Vatican has decided to suppress the qualification, for a very long time De Muller had owned the title of pontifical suppliers which was granted by all Popers, from Pius X to John XXIII.
The winery is located in Reus, near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Catalonia. Reus is considered the epicenter of Spanish vermouth and Cochs is historically regarded as one of the top producers in the area. Their wines are made with a base of white wine, infused with 150 botanicals. Highly guarded, the recipe includes cinnamon, orange peel, chamomile, rosemary, ginger, oregano & vanilla. The wine is then fortified with Melazas, a liquor made from molasses, and lightly sweetened.
Their Vermouth Reserva is produced in a manner similar to Sherry and was recently named “Best Vermouth in Catalonia.” The wine is aged for a year in used oak barrels, giving it more body and smoothness than traditional vermouth.
While delicious in a mixed drink, Cochs vermouths are traditionally enjoyed neat, on ice or with soda. Depending on the type of wine, they are customarily served either with an orange slice, lemon twist or olive for garnish.
"I didn't think that there would be anything better on the glass market, this glass is." Francois Mauss, president of the Grand Jury European.
The Zalto Denk'Art Glasses were named for Father Hans Denk, the Austrian wine priest who has spent decades in the study and tasting of wines, and who is one of the most valued wine experts in Austria. Father Denk guided the glassmakers in the design of each bowl to elicite the best qualities for the type or style of wine it is meant for.
The extraordinary design of Zalto glassware is then matched with perfectly executed balance and craftsmanship, and places Zalto glassware at that rare point where form meets function in complete harmony.
The complete line of Zalto glassware includes the Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, White Wine, Universal, Sweet Wine and Water glasses. All of the Zalto glasses are lead free.
The line is produced by the Zalto Glasshutte in the town of Neunagelberg in Lower Austria, where the art of glass blowing goes back to the early 14th century.
The roots of the Zalto family, six generations now in this region, reach back to the famous glass artisans of Venice.
Their pursuit of perfection has continually raised the bar in the level of Austrian crystal work: a quality that has been recognized the world over for decades if not hundreds of years.
At first glance, a Zalto glass seems nearly too delicate to hold, and yet it is actually quite durable due to advanced techniques and design. The glass is one piece from bowl to stem, with the base then attached. This differs from other glasses where the bowl is attached to the top of the stem, creating a weakness at that point. This, in conjunction with another element of the design, means that if the glass tips over it lands on it's strongest point- the curve of the bowl- and rarely breaks.
Every aspect in the design of the Zalto line has been made in the pursuit of creating the finest wine glass available. The curve of the bowl of each glass in the Zalto Denk'Art line are tilted at 24, 48 and 72 degrees, which correspond to the tilt angles of the Earth. As the ancient Romans knew, this triumvirate of angles, when used in vessels for food and drink, not only kept its contents fresher, but also improved the taste.
Further, the width of the bowl at the point of the curve is such that it allows for the greatest amount of surface space desired for the type of wine it is intended. A good swirl can be given at that point, and the shape then funnels the bouquet to the nose.
That the glass is lighter, thinner and more elegant in appearance is more than just an aesthetic ideal. It is that the lip of the glass is so thin that the wine is delivered better to the palate. The glass itself doesn't stand in the way of the taste of the wine. If you can imagine trying to sip a fine wine from a hefty beer mug, you can understand why this is so.
Dishwasher safe. In fact, dishwasher safer. Hand washing the glasses can actually be more risky as pressure from within the glass has a greater chance of causing breakage.
The glasses are resistant to clouding and scratching and in tests have remained crystal clear for over a hundred passes through the dishwasher.
In this way, you can feel free to use your Zalto glassware as your "everyday" glass as well as the glass for your best occasions.