Long have American sommeliers and natural wine fanatics journeyed to Europe for fairs like La Dive Bouteille and Renaissance des Appellations in France’s Loire Valley and Vini di Vignaioli in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna. These events were the first of their kind to showcase small, artisan vintners who use organic farming methods and minimal-intervention winemaking to produce captivating and often avant-garde wines. Now, in the span of 3 days, New York will get not one but two such festivals, bringing a collective 122 winemakers to the city.
Vivent Les Vins Libres, a partnership of 6 producers (Bertrand Jousset, Emeline Calvez, Nicolas Grosbois, Laurent Cazottes, Florent Plageoles, Antoine-Marie Arena) and Parisian bistro Quedubon, under the leadership of Domaine de la Tournelle’s Pascal and Evelyne Clairet, will hold a public tasting on Sunday, February 28th at Racines in Tribeca and a professional tasting Monday, February 29th at The Ten Bells, with a party and a Grand Dinner to follow. The Big Glou, effectively New York’s first ever home-grown natural wine fair includes two days of tasting at Brooklyn’s Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg—Saturday and Sunday, February 27th-28th—with two educational seminars on climate change and agriculture.
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Food & Wine caught up with Lee Campbell, wine director for the entire Andrew Tarlow Brooklyn restaurant empire and one of two main organizers of The Big Glou, to find out what inspired this push for large-scale natural wine fairs on this side of the Atlantic.