WHY WE'RE HERE
Nine O’Clock Wines was co-founded with love by two friends,
Celine Roberts and Christie Kliewer.
After meeting on the job at Bar Marco in 2018, we both fell in love with natural wine and began imagining a future in which this passion would be the central focus of our work.
Using our backgrounds in library science, food journalism and the service industry, we dug into the world of natural wine, tasting everything we could get our hands on, and learning from our colleagues.
Over the next few years, while we folded napkins, sipped wines with our coworkers and encouraged guests to taste new wild and wonderful bottles, we always came back to the same idea: wine should be fun and approachable. There are no wrong answers when it comes to what people enjoy in their glass, whether it’s a sweet white, a funky, skin contact sparkler or a savory red.
Through Nine O’Clock Wines, we hope that our guests will feel encouraged to ask questions and learn about natural wines with us.
Wine is meant to be shared
and we want to share it with all of you.
WHY NATURAL WINE?
1. It reflects a place back to you
The production of natural wines relies on the moment-to-moment realities of the land. The winemakers must take into account rain, wildlife, soil, wind and a thousand other variables throughout the growing and winemaking process. Because of this, we believe that natural wine is a more honest representation of what happens from the moment the vine is planted to when the wine reaches your table. When a grower or winemaker commits to using only natural methods and works without the use of chemical pesticides, preservatives or additives, they must carefully consider each decision to yield a balanced, finished wine.
2. It forces a closer look at labor
Commercial winemaking often places more importance on the final product than the way that product comes to be. A natural approach to winemaking has the opportunity to force businesses to look more closely at the lives of people growing the grapes and as well as the stewardship of the land. The vineyards and wineries of natural winemakers are usually small(ish) operations, allowing more transparency in their processes and a more careful consideration of resources. We hope the smaller scale and greater transparency in these businesses will lead to a decrease in the use of predatory labor practices and underpayment of workers.
3. It supports new and diverse winemakers
Natural winemaking has opened the doors of the wine industry to people that may not have had the influence, money or connections to start a large, commercial winery. Younger, more diverse growers and vintners are able to start smaller vineyards on less costly pieces of land, using more traditional (if labor-intensive) methods. By reducing start-up costs and often working with native or forgotten grape varietals, they have been able to create new space in the wine market for experimentation. By emphasizing natural wines and telling the stories of these growers and winemakers, Nine O’Clock Wines continually seeks to amplify lesser heard voices in the wine world and we hope to help create a more inclusive and welcoming place for them.
4. It’s delightful to drink
We are fascinated by the flavors, textures, colors and blends of varietals that natural winemaking can achieve. The swirl of a little sediment or the gentle fizz of pétillant natural (naturally sparkling) wine keeps our minds intrigued and our palates sharp. Wines like these are beautiful, delicious and always changing!
5. It’s the beginning of a longer journey
We believe it’s important to admit the failures of the wine industry. Identifying and correcting those faults is difficult when the collective focus is mainly on expense or rarity. The wine industry’s penchant for exclusivity hobbles the creativity and progress it desperately needs to welcome more people in. Nine O’Clock Wines seeks to be a place for celebration, accountability and education. We will make mistakes but will do what we can to create a more just world, in wine, and beyond.
Thanks for reading through all of this! 👋