As some of you may know, Holly and I officially moved to Europe on July 5th. Our final destination was Barcelona, but we spent about two weeks in Sweden beforehand, and have been crazy busy since we got here!
What Were You Doing In Sweden?
I (Nic) was actually born in Stockholm. My dad (and entire dad’s side of my family) lives all over, from Malmö to Hällefors and all the way up to Borlänge. I’m fluent in Swedish and have maintained close ties to the country ever since I was a kid. We’ve even got a classic Swedish “sommarstuga” (summer cottage) on a lake without electricity, plumbing, oil, heat, or really any other amenity. A few days of fishing, swimming (for the dog and I), foraging, and hiking were exactly what we needed for a mental reset before spending a few days in Stockholm and flying down to Barcelona to start our new life.
A couple highlights from Sweden:
- Holly catching her first fish
- Norman loving life in the woods
- Nic fishing late at night and seeing a moose walk out onto the lake
- E-scooting around Södermalm
- Christian Tschida wine at Finnhamns Café & Krog
If you’ve already been to Barcelona, you probably already know the answer to this. But in case you haven’t, the weather is amazing, the food is fantastic, and the culture is uniquely Catalan. We have a lot of current and upcoming wine producers just north of us in the Languedoc, and have easy access to France, the rest of Spain, and Portugal. Barcelona International Airport is a major hub so we’re even hoping to get to far-away wine locations like Greece, Georgia, and more. As much as we love the Spanish lifestyle, were ultimately here to find the best natural wines to bring to y’all, and that’s what we’re going to do.
We’ve got a couple goals while we’re here:
- Grow our European wine portfolio
- Visit all our current and future producers to see their vines, learn more about their cellar practices, and see what wines we can bring in next
- Keep partnering with great people and companies in the natural wine world to bring interesting content and wine insights
Getting settled in a new country, as you might imagine, takes a lot of work. For weeks it felt like we were in a rut of bureaucracy, NIE's, TIE's, Visas, and appointments. Not to mention that we probably chose the worst month of the year to do all this - August, when half the country just shuts down for holidays.
Operation Rescue Norman
While we were getting our feet settled here in Spain, my dad was kind enough to be watching the dog. Summer in Spain isn't really the best time for a shaggy Golden Retriever, so it worked out perfectly. However, that left us with a but of a problem at the end of August. How were we going to get this dog back to us?
At the end of the day, we ended up renting a car and driving up to Sweden. Four nights and 30+ hours of driving later, we were there. I was lucky enough to get to drive BOTH ways back, but, hey, you have to make the most of it, right?
And the drive up wasn't a huge waste of time either. We got to visit both Domaine Mamaruta and le petit domaine in the Languedoc to see the vines, taste upcoming vintages, and spend some quality time with our producers.
So, What’s New?
We’ve been drinking a TON of natural wine from Spain since we got here (as you might imagine). Bobal, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Macabeo, Xareló, you name it. We’ve spoken to 10-15 winemakers here in Catalonia alone, and recently had a great meeting with the folks over at Vella Terra. We don’t want to say too much just yet, but let’s just say we’re hoping to significantly increase the number of producers we’re working within the coming months. Stay tuned for an update there!
Next week we’ll be driving up to Beaujolais for a meeting with David Large, Domaine de la Cure, and others. We love Bojo just as much as everyone else, and can’t wait to taste these wines and bring it in in Q4! Looking to meet David Large? Come on over to our Winemaker Meet & Greet on October 26th in Williamsburg. Here’s your chance to talk wine in a smaller, more intimate settings.
On the same trip, we’ll be heading up to Alsace for the same reason, including Domaine de l’Envol (another product that will be at our Meet & Greet!). I’m most excited about this part of the trip because I LOVE Alsatian wine. For me, it’s the perfect combination of aromatics, acid, and residual sugars.
RAW Wine NYC 2019
We’ll be there! Our Meet & Greet is going to have some amazing producers, and we’ll be at the event itself both Saturday and Sunday. If you see us, say hi!
2020 and Beyond
One thing that we get asked a lot is whether or not our wines are available in-store. As expected, a lot of this feedback comes from our major markets, D.C. and Boston. However, we get inquiries all over the place. Right now, we’re still establishing relationships with winemakers, focusing on the Club experience (please give us feedback if you have any!), and e-commerce growth. Moving into 2020 we’re going to start exploring other distribution channels too! More to come on this in the coming months.
Non-Wine Related Stuff
For those of you who want to know more about us, we do also do non-wine related things! I’ve joined a local soccer club to continue living out my professional soccer career dream (just kidding), and Holly and Norman are making friends left and right - turns out loads of people here want to hang out with a friendly Golden Retriever. If you’re ever in Barcelona, please reach out! A few people have already taken us up on the offer, and we love making new friends and having natural wine-drinking buddies!