Reyes Selections is a small portfolio carefully selected from rekindled relationships established during my years as wine director for a white-label company that managed national programs such as The New York Times Wine Club and Williams Sonoma Wine, among others. These are small wineries, usually family-owned, that strive to be good stewards of their own land while making delicious wine. After spending many years buying their offerings and sharing their stories, I considered many of the families and winemakers genuine friends.
When GWC sold its assets and closed in 2016, I was deeply saddened since the USA market presence for most of these small wineries had existed through our efforts. Furthermore, I didn’t think I’d ever see them again, aside from the occasional social media and well-wishes. Without a clear path in my career, I naively accepted a production and GM role with Peter Paul since I had “worked a harvest” at Salomon Undhof the year prior. While I still make wines today for a small virtual Sonoma-based winery, in 2018 I jumped at the chance to work with the best of my international friends again, when Reyes Selections was launched with the help of Pennsylvania-based Pip Imports & Domestics.
Reyes Selections’s story is unique because its vetting process was accidental and thorough. Accidental because unbenownst to me, working with these wineries at GWC was inadvertently building concomitant research for this future, self-owned portfolio. Thorough because it represents the distilled results of a broad, multiple-year “funnel” that began with hundreds of brands tasted, from which dozens of wines were bought, with only a handful of deep friendships developed that became the one or two wineries within a specific region. In other words, I didn’t go “looking for a Minervois because we needed a Minervois.” Each winery represents endless, bygone hours of work & commerce over seven years that led to a rekindled selection of story-filled, bullet-proof quality wines made by awesome people I thoroughly enjoyed working with in the past. These are my friends, just as much as they are my producers.
PIP Imports & Domestics, LLC.
This vertically-aligned broker, based in one of the most complex states to do business in, was founded by long-time friend and now colleague, Emily Bell. Within days of visiting Pennsylvania, it became clear she is one of the most respected wine professionals in the whole state. Her storied background includes roles as Director of Fine Wine with Majestic Wines & Spirits/Allied Beverage Group, Manager for Ehlers Estate in St. Helena, and she holds a culinary degree from the CIA at Greystone, Napa CA.
In a shocking display of grit (and some might say foolhardiness) Shelbi Herring founded Copa Fina Imports in 2009 with 14 bottles and a single wine bag. Today, Herring and her team represent over 200 limited-production wines from Europe, South America, and New Zealand. Other than growing into a highly respected importer with markets in over 20 states, Copa Fina’s focus has remained unchanged since Shelbi first jumped into the trade — the portfolio’s heart continues to be a thoughtful collection of small, family growers.
Copa Fina, much like Reyes Selections, offers the kind of wines “the locals drink” – wines that are incredible in value, diverse in style, and honest in spirit. These wineries care about all the details that go into a perfect bottle of wine; those same bottles are the pathway from their family vineyards to our friendly tables here at home.