Each wine has a story to tell. It’s the driving force behind a new online bottle store that seeks to support an often underrepresented group of winemakers.
The wine social enterprise, called Go there Wines, spotlights women winemakers, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and countries often overlooked in the global wine industry. This includes Abdullah Richi, a Syrian exile who produces wine in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, as well as a handful of other lesser-known producers from around the world.
“We try to create a connection through wine. By sharing a bottle of wine, you’re also sharing a whole country and culture with someone,” says Rose Previte, co-founder of Go There Wines, who normally works in the brick-and-mortar business.
Since opening in 2017, its Michelin-rated Middle Eastern and North African restaurant Maydan has attracted national fame for his arabic condimentsits spectacular open-fire cuisine and its wine list which has earned it a 2022 James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Program of the Year.
The busy restaurateur, who is also behind Compass Rose and an incoming laid back branching from Maydan called Tawle, has spent a lot of time living abroad and traveling to faraway places with her journalist husband and Go There Wines co-founder David Greene. (Greene is a foreign correspondent for NPR and recently started a podcast, Ukrainian storiesfocusing on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.) Previte’s research travels have taken her to top wine regions like Georgia in South Africa to discover new wines to pour in DC
At the heart of their travels is a dedication to serving others, along with delicious food and drink, most notably wine.
Previte and Greene teamed up with their friend Chandler Arnold, the CEO of Renegade Social Impact, to launch Go There Wines. The online business builds on the work that Previte does in its restaurants, showcasing wines that help build connections and support communities near and far.
“With this direct-to-consumer model, we can share bottles from wine regions and entrepreneurs taking risks and creating very exciting wines that you may not have tasted before,” Previte says.
On the back of each bottle of Go There Wines is a QR code that shoppers can scan with a smartphone, unlocking a short video testimonial that transports the viewer to the people and places where the wine is made. This includes the South African winemaker Nandumiso Pikashewho was on hand to provide samples of his sparkling wine at the DC debut of Go There Wines last week.
Pikashe sees his business as a revolutionary act that would have been banned under apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial oppression that lasted for decades until the early 1990s in South Africa. His brand of wine is called Ses’fikile, a Xhosa word that translates into English as “We have arrived.”
“For me, making this wine is an upheaval. It is the inspiration. This is the aspiration of the country I represent,” says Pikashe.
“We partner with these small wineries and give them a label and a brand, so they can tell their story to the world,” says Previte. “E-commerce and e-commerce is brand new territory for us. I think it will give our winemakers access and reach that they have never had before.