A new adventure wants you to discover wines from unknown producers | Lifestyle

WASHINGTON – “Wine is the opportunity to take our message to the world. We want young women in Georgia to believe in themselves and know that they can do their thing and earn their freedom,” says Gvantsa Abuladze, who makes wines with her sister, Baia, in the Imereti region of Georgia.

“My winery is called Ses’fikile, which means ‘We have arrived’. It speaks to the arrival of women in a space traditionally reserved for men,” says Nondumiso Pikashe, a winemaker from the Paarl region of South Africa. “And also the arrival of the peoples of Africa. It’s a feeling that we can rewrite history, that we can walk the road less travelled.”

“Wine creates community,” says Tara Gomez, a member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in Santa Barbara County, recognized by the California legislature as the first Native American winemaker in the Golden State. Gomez and his wife, Mireia Taribó, make wines under their Camins 2 Dreams label and mentor young black, indigenous, and women of color exploring careers in wine. “They see people like them making wine and they feel like anything is possible,” says Gomez.

These are just a few winemakers represented by a visionary new label called Go There Wines, launched in late June by Washington, DC, restaurateur Rose Previte, her husband, former NPR host David Greene, and their friend, social impact entrepreneur Chandler Arnold.

Go There Wines is an online company designed to provide a platform and a megaphone for winemakers who have struggled to be heard. It’s not about wine as fermented grape juice, Chateau This or Terroir That. It’s about history, community, and the belief that we can bring the world together through a common love of wine.

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In that way, it’s an extension of Previte’s Michelin-starred restaurants Compass Rose and Maydan, two gastronomic celebrations of the power of food to create community across political and ethnic divides. It’s a perspective Previte gained by traveling through Russia, the Caucasus and the Middle East with Greene when he was the network’s Moscow bureau chief from 2009 to 2012.

Previte got the idea for this venture during the early weeks of the covid pandemic, when restaurants closed and struggled to survive by selling their wine inventories at deep discounts. Even then, he clung to his ideal of wine, like food, as an agent of social impact. “We only sold Georgian and Lebanese wines,” he says, “because I still wanted to help those winemakers.”

At the same time, the wine industry was being criticized for its lack of diversity in the context of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. Online wine sales rose from a trickle to a boom as consumers got used to buying everything online. Prevent saw an opportunity.

“Look at the wine industry and you’ll see how it’s still dominated by Western Europe and, no offense Dave, by white men,” Previte explained during a phone call from Chicago, where he was attending the James Foundation awards ceremony. Beard. . Maydan was nominated this year for the outstanding wine program.

“The politics and hierarchies of wine, its geography and its wars are all European and male-centric,” she continued. “So we reached out to marginalized winemakers: refugees, women of color, women from all over the world who don’t have access to the American market.”

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As Arnold told me a week later at a launch event at the Maydan restaurant, Go There Wines aims to uplift “people who have been left out of the conversation for too long” and who have been “undercapitalized and underrepresented.” .

Profits from Go There Wines will be shared with the winemakers, who benefit from Go There’s guaranteed sales and marketing. But this is not just a business for profit. He also wants to make changes. Previte and her partners want us to “go there”, not only traveling to see the world, but also having a conversation. How often do we hold back, saying “Don’t go there”? These wines are meant to expand our conversation beyond our normal, limited horizons.

And that’s part of the draw for its winemakers, who include Abdullah Richi, a Syrian refugee forced by war to make wine in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. The label on his pet-nat de pinot noir spells out his dream: “I will make wine in Syria again.”

“This wine celebrates all matriarchs,” says Pikashe on the label of his sparkling cinsault.

“We fell in love with making wine,” Gómez and Taribó proclaim over their syrah from Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara, California, as if every sip we take renews their vows and celebrates their union.

“Making wine is freedom; a value that we never take for granted in our country,” the Abuladze sisters affirm in their amber wine made from the Krakhuna grape variety native to Georgia. The label of his light and refreshing red of the dzvelshavi variety is even more emphatic: “Men have been making wine in Georgia for 8,000 years. It’s our turn.”

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Do I have to tell you that these wines are delicious?