Neighborhoods often develop on the merits of a single street. Brooklyn is no exception. Carroll Gardens has Smith Street, Park Slope has Fifth Avenue, and Gowanus, the transitioning neighborhood in between, has Third Avenue. Tom Hyland and Rick Lopez share a love of wine and a passion for Gowanus, a neighborhood they believe is quickly stepping out from the shadows. Their love has been built into a brick and mortar storefront on the corner of 11th Street at 493 Third Ave. They’ve decided to call it Gowanus Wine Merchants. Digest NY dropped by to chat with the guys about their new store, what they expect when Whole Foods opens seven blocks away, and why people are making so much noise about uncommon grape varieties showing up in the wine world.
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare didn’t have a liquor license when it opened in 2009. With the early BYOB status and Chef Cesar Ramirez’s back-to-basics, bright, elegant food, the restaurant quickly became a haven for collectors, wine eccentrics, and anyone looking to eat at one of Brooklyn’s most exciting restaurants.
Michele Smith started working at Brooklyn Fare in the summer of 2010. She was hired with the intention of building a wine list that would pair with Cesar’s food once the restaurant got its license. That happened in January this year. You can’t bring your own booze to 200 Schermerhorn Street anymore, but you can pick from Michele’s wonderfully curated list.
Digest NY recently talked with Michele about putting the list together, her philosophies about wine, and what it’s like to work with the same six people six days a week.