When we first got going with American wineries it was just a pet project. There wasn’t anywhere near the diversity and brilliance we’re seeing today but a few standalone innovators really caught our attention. We loved the idea of being able to support domestic companies, mostly bright-eyed upstarts like us and it means so much to us to have a hand in the growth of their businesses. It began with the cartoonishly awesome wines of La Clarine Farms and snowballed from there into an ever expanding group of righteous homegrown winemakers. We work with these folks directly, a shoulder-to-shoulder connection that lets us play a meaningful role in helping realize the future of the burgeoning American natural wine scene. It’s more than a worthy mission, we love these wines! Some of the most innovative wine in the world is happening right here! How cool is that?
Used to be that awesome Greek wine was the kind of thing we dreamt of representing. There was almost nothing around until this scrappy, totally unpretentious Greek dude name Aris Soultanos changed that. He took the long way ‘round sleuthing out growers that lovingly preserve heritage grape varieties and gently nudging them into natural wine territory. Each winery he represents is an ongoing collaboration, a process requiring incredible tact and persistence that would not be possible without Aris’ special blend of geniality and idealism. The ambition is to create a new paradigm of Greek oenological excellence, turning aside the Bordeaux inflected cellar work of most modern greek wineries and resurrecting ancient traditions: subterranean volcanic fermentors, 150 year old heritage amphora, wine kissed with aleppo pine resin. You know, the cool shit.
JENNY & FRANÇOIS
Jenny was one of the first people we spoke to about distribution. She was very supportive from the outset and willing to take the risk on a newcomer to the distribution game with more enthusiasm than know how. We’ve both grown a ton since then - her company was still finding itself just as we were. Even then it was clearly a cool collection of people who were super passionate trying to figure out how to turn this crazy idea into a real business. Today J&F is a cornerstone portfolio with some exceptional benchmark producers focused on France with a growing collection of satellite badasses like Gut Oggau, Cousin and Nestarec. Being clever business people they’ve also created Gaspard and From The Tank, collaborations with excellent growers to offer the kind of affordable, cleanly grown and cleanly vinified wine we all need in our lives.
CENTRAL EUROPE :
Hootanny begins with the life affirming love of wine, evolves to include spontaneous romance and grows even to incorporate the enduring love of lifelong friendship. To begin, New York native Summer Wolff was a seasoned sommelier and wine broker on a journey through central Italy that would take her up to Piedmont. There she met Barbera virtuoso Fabrizio Iuli and everything changed. “We often joke that we’re not sure if I was more smitten with the wine or with Fabrizio himself,” Summer says, “regardless I had to have both.” Through Fabrizio she was connected to a network of Fabrizio’s winegrower buddies, traditional artisans producing high integrity, natural wines from responsibly farmed grapes. After stepping away from her first import company, she took her small cadre of excellent growers with her to into a new, two-woman import company. She runs the business with her longtime friend and managerial badass, Carolyn Agee. Summer’s job is to be the archnerd and liaise with the producers and, as Summer puts it, “once the wines hit US shores she takes the baton and makes sure they are checked in and moved out to all of our incredible distributors.” The duo have a small but terrific portfolio totally rock-solid, classically styled wines.
Our relationship with natty wine archnerd Matteo Mollo got going before Olmstead Wine Company or SelectioNaturel were even on the horizon. The camaraderie started with many, many bottles of impossible wine and long conversations in the subterranean archives of The Wine Bottega, Boston’s original natural wine outpost. Matt has an unreal level of understanding and a crackerjack portfolio of some truly transformational Italian producers. At the start, the zany natural wine thing was pretty much all about France and though today you can find a fair share of raw Italian producers, there was nothing at the time except for Cornelissen and a few others. Matt brought in these really eye opening wines that weren’t like anything else out there backed up by some super solid, old-school stuff and a few ‘fuck yeah’ Lambrusco producers. For us, as for so many others, Matt has been an incredible resource and mentor. We simply could not have made it as far as we have without our relationship with Matt. At the shop he was an invaluable resource and a steadfast customer, and now he’s our closest import partner with a book of wine we just couldn’t do without. He’s family, for sure.
SELECTIONS DE LA VIÑA
You can’t help but adore Alvaro de la Vina! He’s a goofy, passionate guy that swaggered into the wine world with this utterly spectacular portfolio of Spanish iconoclasts. Spain’s traditions are not static for Alvaro, they live and breathe and grow and change. His portfolio is a blazing litany of happy renegades, joyfully testing the limits of Spanish terroir. No doubt he’s got some stalwart old-timers in the mix, but what makes Selections de la Vina special is the concentration of pure innovators. If Salvador Dali made wine he would be represented by Selections de la Vina!
Alvaro has expanded his vision to include Chile where a viticultural revolution is gaining momentum. “The vigneron concept is alive in Chile" Alvaro says "they’re self sufficient, they farm all of their shit: they got horses and pigs and chickens, they’re like cowboys!”
ZEV ROVINE SELECTIONS
We met Zev almost 10 years ago at a crazy party with tons of old Jura wines in a semi-industrial loft in Boston’s meager Chinatown. From the outset, Olmstead was going to seek out the most lively, animating natural wines we could get our hands on and Zev had ‘em. We were both in the beginning stages of building our respective companies and that early partnership gave us access to some seriously hip, statement making wines. Bringing these wines around the Boston market was super exciting, to show cutting edge buyers the wines of Jean-Pierre Robinot and hear them say ‘holy shit this is some crazy, amazing stuff.’ Over the years it’s been awesome to watch Zev’s company grow like crazy and to be able to maintain our relationship with him. One of the best things about this business is being able to grow together and really matter to one another over the years. Today, Zev Rovine Selections is a powerhouse of far reaching awesomeness that has only gotten stronger and more dynamic with the inclusion of Central Euro wine sherpa Kreso Petrekovic’s righteous contributions from Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia.
CENTRAL EUROPE :
Sv Vicenco (Croatia)
Podrum Franjo (Croatia)