We’re Finally Getting a Brooklyn-Made Wine

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There’ve been a bunch of Brooklyn companies turning out great wine for a while now, but given how much of the borough is covered in pavement, their grapes are, by necessity, grown elsewhere. A new upstart called Rooftop Reds is looking to change that, and planted a “50-vine rooftop vineyard” in Windsor Terrace last spring to test the waters. It seems to have gone well, and they launched a Kickstarter to move operations to a much bigger setup at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (they’ve long since hit their funding goal).

Here’s how they explain the project:

“The concept of Rooftop Reds was Devin Shomaker’s idea to bring viticulture practices and techniques to major metropolitan regions. Being a student of viticulture and enology in The Finger Lakes American Viticulture Area (AVA) in Western New York, the first logical testing ground for this urban experiment quickly gravitated to New York City. Devin Shomaker, founder of Rooftop Reds, recruited Evan Miles (3rd generation viticulturist/winemaker); Thomas Shomaker (Video Producer/Master’s Student at Columbia Journalism School); and Chris Papalia (viticulturist and winemaker) to develop this non-traditional wine business.


Our culture, simply and plainly, views vineyards, wine and wine making as a romantic art and practice. Not only will Rooftop Reds capitalize on this romanticism and develop a one of a kind “cityscape” but will also produce the first true city vintage in 2016.

In an interview with Gothamist, Shomaker says that the goal is to have the wines ready to sell by summer 2015, but in the interim, they’re also offering to help people set up rooftop “urban vineyards” of their own. Seems like as worthy a warm weather project as we’ve ever come across.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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