Bar and Garden Interview
A Boutique Store That Sells Sustainable, Organic and BioDynamic Liquors, Beer and Wine
Interview with Ryan Frick
Ryan Frick was a corporate wine buyer for 15 years at Whole Foods. He was responsbile for an 80M budget which he used to source organic wine. He became disillusioned by the corporate wine industry and their marketing. People would buy organic food at Whole Foods and forgo buying organic wines and would instead buy $4 wines. After watching this for many years he realzied there was gap of information. People were knowledgable about buying organic food but were not as knowledgable about buying organic wine. He decided to leave Whole Foods with the intention of encouraging more people to buy organic wines with an entry price point of $10 per bottle. His goal was to support the ecosystem of organic wine growers and natural wine makers and create awareness that wine is as much of a food product as food. Currently wine, alcholol and beer are not considered food products by the FDA and as you will see in the article this categorization creates an environment with deception and confusion.
Why did you decide to start working at Bar and Garden?
Bar and Garden was opened by his friends to support the growing organic and byodynamic wine movement. I wanted to be a part of the solution and not support the problem. Every bottle is organic and the grapes are grown by families committed to organic, biodynamic practices and sustainable practices. The winemaker use the natural the natural yeasts form the grapes, the air, the barn, etc.. to ferment their wines. Our percentage of income has gone down as we sell our wines at $12-18 which is the optimal price point. We want to be a resource to people and a place that supports small family and organic farms.
What are your thoughts on organic food?
We have our own urban garden. We love the seasonality that our garden brings and the environment it produces for our family. We shop at the farmers market and love to support our local farmers as we support our local wine growers and makers. Our goal is to focus on eating less meat and more veggies.
What's the current state of wine and beer?
Wine, Beer and Alcohol are not food products per the FDA. Therefor companies dont have to tell you what they put in their as a food company would have to tell you. That means if you dont know the grower, wine maker then you have to trust a company which doesnt have to prove to you if they have integrity in their products process. When making these wines the big growers and companies will source grapes from growers that spray with pesticides and other toxins and then throw all of it into a vat to ferment, without rinsing. They will then add sulphur which kills any natural yeasts, from the grapes, air or building. Since the yeast has been killed they will add their own strains of super yeast to make the wine. Some strains take the wine from low levels of alcohol from 0-8% and other yeasts are introduced at higher levels, 8-16% The final product requires additives of flavors to counteract the strong alcohol content and the lack of well balanced flavors killed by the sulphur. These companies are required to report none of this. At the end of this process you no longer have a natural wine. it is more cost effective for these companies to do this. Therefor wine drinker misses out on the natural flavor and health benefits of a wine that is organically grown and naturally fermented.
What are your final thoughts?
"A natural bottle of wine is made simply by growing grapes organically or biodynamicaly, harvesitng the grapes and puttting them in a vat to ferment. Simple, simple, simple The final product is a natural wine with lower alcohol content and the flavors of the grape." What’s your goal with wine? To produce a refined product that tastes the same each year or a product that is a product of Nature. They source wines with all natural yeasts?