A toast to organic wines and liquors
By Sue Baldani
Organic produce and meats have been in high demand for years, and now consumers are looking to extend those healthy benefits into their glasses of wine. Eco-friendly wines, those produced without the use of pesticides in vineyards that use sustainable and biodynamic farming practices, are thought to be not only better for you, but better tasting as well.
“Eco-friendly wines have a technical component to them, but it’s more of a philosophical piece, which is to get to know where your wine, your product, comes from,” says Dan Dinelli, one of the owners of Cambridge Wines, with stores in Summit and Morristown, NJ.
“Alcohol is a highly-lobbied industry and there’s technically, I think, about 200 or more additives that are allowed in a bottle of wine.” Many of these natural wines are hand-harvested, have no additives or yeasts, and little or no added sulfites. And headaches, he says, come from these fillers, not the sulfites, as many believe.
Dan and his partners, cousin Anthony Dinelli and friend David Bernat, like to educate customers about wine. Roommates in their younger years, they lived on Cambridge Avenue in the Bronx, hence the name of the store. “We have a very lighthearted way of working with people. That’s in our DNA.”
He says when it comes to wine, they’re just like everyone else. “We drink wine, we enjoy wine, but the more we know about it, the more fun this journey becomes.”
Dan says he and his partners grew up with wine in their homes. “We’re Italian. It was always an extension of the dinner table – we’re bonding, we’re breaking bread, and it doesn’t need to be fancy.”
Quality can be found at every price point, he says, and they try as much wine as they can before they carry it. “We try a lot of bad wines so our customers don’t have to.”
But, Dan and his partners also want high-end wines and liquors to be approachable for those who would like to experience them. In the Summit store, these bottles can be found in what they call the Cellar. “Most places have it locked up or put away and it’s almost like taboo to touch it unless you’re super wealthy. But we want people to see what a $3000 dollar bottle looks like.”
Speaking of wine cellars, their Cellar Management Services helps wine enthusiasts manage their own private collections. “We handle the restocking, the organizing, and the upkeep, whether it’s as little as an in-home wine cooler to a thousand bottle wine cellar.”
Cambridge Wines also offers same-day delivery, a free loyalty program where shoppers can leverage points from previous shopping trips for perks, and multi-level paid membership programs. With paid membership, customers receive two wines every month or a selection of beer, and have access to special incentives, such as discounts.
The store also does Cases for a Cause, where the profits of sales get donated to whatever charity is chosen. “It’s a fun way of generating revenue for nonprofits – leveraging wine tasting to raise money.”
Start your own curated collection of eco-friendly wines today and enjoy them while spending time with family and friends. Make every day and every meal a special occasion. Cheers!
Written for Chatham & Short Hills Lifestyle magazine in New Jersey.