Now that New Yorkers all over the state are practically experts on staying the f*^k home unless absolutely necessary, most of them would agree that in times of quarantine, a good bottle of wine is as essential as the groceries that keep pantries amply stocked. After all, opening up a good bottle of wine gives us a chance to celebrate life, to share a virtual cheers with friends, to reflect on what we have and what we’ve lost during this era-defining crisis.
The right bottle — and not all bottles can do this — can also be a portal to the land from which the grapes were grown, honoring the hands that tended to the vines and harvested the fruit, even paying respect to the weather patterns that year. This might sound like a romantic daydream, but it really isn’t when you’re drinking wine that’s made the right way: Literally, each of these factors came together to turn a humble crop into the nectar that fills your glass, with little-to-no manipulation from chemical additives that often end up in mass-produced bottles with dirt-cheap price tags. Yes, that means we’re respectfully asking you to put down that bottle of Yellowtail.
To bring all the right bottles to conscious and curious consumers, wine industry veteran and Certified Sommelier Sara Moll, a young entrepreneur based in New York City, launched Vin Social.
Vin Social elevates bottles made by small producers of responsibly-crafted wine. Moll’s small business is currently licensed to ship bottles throughout New York State, but we can’t wait for Vin Social to expand to other thirsty regions. After all, anecdotally, people are drinking a lot more wine, so we hope that some of this bounty makes its ways to the responsible winemakers who are doing right by their consumers and their farming practices.
Moll designed her business to transform the act of drinking wine into a fulfilling and deliberate experience, helping to bring up a new generation of wine drinkers who aren’t just looking to consume mindlessly and who also will become wine-confident in the process. As a member of Vin Social, you get to know what you are drinking as well as the people who spent nearly an entire year of their lives making the wine, helping you to develop your own relationship to it. “We wanted to bridge the gap from grape to glass,” said Moll.
Don’t call Vin Social a wine club, though: It’s way more immersive an experience than that. “Vin Social is a subscription to the wine lifestyle,” Moll explained. Each bottle is expertly curated to give you a survey of a particular region and the wines that it’s capable of producing. Of equal importance is the fact that you will also get access to modern wine education through the Vin Social portal, with in-person gatherings once that’s a thing again. And after traveling for pleasure also becomes a thing again, you’ll actually have the opportunity to join her and her team for wine-centric travel experiences here and abroad, where you will literally meet the person and place behind some of your favorite bottles.
But regardless of whether you’re living in an era of stay-at-home orders, a Vin Social membership is as close as you can get to traveling to wine-growing regions across the globe, connecting you to the product’s origins as a holistically educated consumer.
Vin Social accomplishes this goal by doing more than just packing your quarterly shipment with plenty of padding; one of our favorite aspects of getting a delivery is the literature that is included in the box: notecards that give you a basic but informative overview of the grape, the winery, the geography that allowed your wine to come to life. In normal times, I’d see photos of beautiful landscapes and think “Oh well isn’t that nice” but these days, seeing images of snow-capped mountains, verdant valleys, and seaside hills really lights up the part of my brain that needs the reward of escape.
This season’s quarterly delivery will feature wines sourced from Chile, a country that is in the midst of harvesting this season’s grapes. If you’ve never had a spectacular glass of Chilean wine, you’re in for a serious education when you get your Spring selection from Vin Social. This shipment is curated to clue Vin Social members in to the transformation that Chile’s wine industry has undergone in recent years. “Most consumers have a very superficial idea of what Chilean wine is, and a lot of that is just based on their experience and exposure,” said Moll.
For instance, people are used to spending about $10 on a bottle of wine from Chile — and, newsflash, that is not quite the price point you are looking for if you want a quality bottle of wine, even if you’re looking for one on the more affordable side. Anyway, many wine shops don’t carry the world-class Chilean wines that Moll is excited to introduce to you.
“Because of this, people just equate Chile with cheap, mass-produced, easy… whatever, value. But there is some really exciting stuff happening with these [winemaking] leaders, the godfathers, the OGs if you will, a couple of which we’re featuring in the box, who have for a long time have been about quality and small production and terroir-driven wines,” revealed Moll. “And now there’s also this group of younger, ambitious winemakers who are exploring the outer reaches of Chile, less familiar and less renowned regions in the south.”
One of the bottles is from Viña Echeverría, made by third generation winemaker Roberto Echeverría, who shared with us how essential it is for a family-run operation like his to be able to continue selling wine to consumers who are waiting out this crisis at home.
“In Chile and in particular at Viña Echeverría, our wine production is sustainable and environmentally friendly,” said Echeverría. “This means that we take care of our land, people, and community. Maintaining our wine business is essential, not only for the sake of our own company, but most importantly because it will help to protect the jobs and well-being of many families in our local community in Molina, the small town where our vineyards and winery are located.” In short, buying wine made by producers like Viña Echeverría ensures that not only is our wine tasty — we can also feel damn good about what the stuff in our glass has done for everyone who was involved in making it for us.
“Also, we believe in wine as part of our daily life,” added Echeverriía. “Many times a glass of wine may help with stress and maintaining access to wine in these uncertain times can be of comfort. Actually I think it matters more today than ever, because a toast is a great way to say ‘to good health!’” Cheers to that, boss!
For its newest members, Vin Social’s next virtual event series kicks off on May 6th, so you’ll want to sign up before then to get the fully-loaded experience with your shipment from Chile. As a special offer, BELatina readers will get 15% off their first box with the code: BELATINA 15