He then started one of the first spots in New York to sell Natural Wine - Ici in New York.
It was a Racines from Claude Courtois, 95 or 96.
You ran Ici, one of the first places to sell these wines in New York - what was the initial response to the wines you were serving, it was very new to the city.
I didn't really advertise it. It didn't say organic or natural on the wine list. But customers didn't know any of the names or appellation, so they had to ask me or the staff for explanations or recommendations.
That's how we started a dialogue and gave them information and stories that way. It was a lot of work, but their response was great, because we took the time to explain. And tasting these new wines was just enough discomfort for them to get interested and come back. Just like the food and the overall experience were different and a bit challenging for many people.
And now it seems to have completely changed in New York?
Yes ! Hipsters, orange wines, soms ! :) ! It's a good evolution anyway !
Winemakers are like story tellers, they tell the story of the land they live on, they tell the story of their life, it's their way of communicating with the world.
What caused the decision to try and make wine yourself and is there any big lessons you took - you definitely seem to have your own style.
As you know I have no academic education in wine making. But I worked in restaurants all my life, I have been eating and discovering flavors and texture all the time. I try to make what I would drink everyday, what I like, by following my feelings, my taste buds.
How has climate change affected your process and the wines themselves?
Fruits that are unbalanced, meaning a high sugar content before the fruit is ripe, and a lack of acidity.
For me acidity is the back bone of a great wine, so it's definitely a problem...Bitterness is, I think, a great backbone too. So I am playing with that. Trying to extract just a little bit of it from the grapes. Bitterness, sapidity, umami taste in some ways, are what I am looking for.