Residents of Williamsburg and beyond will have one last chance this weekend to party in a neighborhood staple, Brooklyn Oenology, when the six-year-old tasting room for winemaker Alie Shaper’s 10-year-old business will close to the public.
BOE was more than just a winery, says Shaper. It was an expression of Brooklyn’s terroir, that included not just local food and drink but the borough’s fine art, film, music and artisans. “I wanted it centered around local craft,” she says. “And I wanted it to fit into the community and express what our community was about.”
But now the lease will be up next year and the the different landscape in the neighborhood had Shaper see the writing on the wall for her niche business. “It wouldn’t be smart for me to stay,” she says. “New construction has blocked our entrance; the commercial space in our building just sold for $42 million, not to mention the impending shutdown of the L train. Rather than battle through, I thought it’d be smarter to pull that portion of the business and reevaluate.”
Which has already started. BOE’s wines will still be available on her website, and her bottle club will still operate. In addition she has started a new label, As If, that for now will only produce a red, a white and a rosé. This label too will be sold online as well as in retail shops and restaurants.
The wines, whose first vintage was 2014 are named after Shaper (her initials A.S.) and the “If,” she says, is all about “choices. It’s the magic that leads us.”
The names of the individual wines are Shaper’s understanding of that magic and “my sense of gratitude to the universe to be able to discover what I like to do and be able to do it.” All three are blends made from grapes grown either on Long Island or in the Finger Lakes. The white, a blend of 40 percent chardonnay, 30 percent viognier and 30 percent sauvignon blanc ($35) is named Serendipity; “the delivery of opportunity to one ready to receive it.” The rosé is made from 50 percent cabernet franc, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent merlot, 10 percent syrah and 10 percent petit verdot (28) is named Courage “the undaunted heart of action.” The red, which is 60 percent cabernet franc, 25 percent petit verdot and 15 percent cabernet sauvignon ($40) is named Persistence, which “is to tenaciously challenge opposition in pursuit of a vision.”
So attend the (3-day!) closing party from Friday, November 18, to Sunday, November 20, to wish Shaper well in her new endeavors and drink her wine; the tasting room will be doing full service. From November 21 through November 28 BOE will be open for bottle and case sales only. On November 29 look for specials on case sale. “We’re clearing out,” says Shaper.