Where to Buy and Drink Natural Wine in NYC
Dry January, who?
Wild, funky, unfiltered, pure: Natural wines defy easy description. Unlike conventional wines, natural wines are generally untouched, sans chemicals and without hundreds of additives—minimalism at its winemaking best. But don’t presume organic is the same as biodynamic is the same as every natural wine produced (even experts get exasperated drawing distinctions). Though the modern definition of natural winemaking isn’t always clear (and that is changing), it has long been respected for its ancient viticultural roots and earth-conscious techniques.
“Natural winemakers are always innovating: They are the ones that really have a massive effect on the entire wine industry, natural or not. Natural wine is really normal wine... more than any other wine!” explains sommelier and natural wine expert Doreen Winkler, founder of Orange Glou, the first wine subscription service dedicated entirely to skin-contact wines.
And the wine-loving public is taking notice, with sales for natural wines soaring for the last several years. Lauren Werst, wine director of Café Kitsuné, points out, “Consumers will seek out organic produce but will go home and drink wine with not only additives but also bad farming practices. Natural wine has introduced a new transparency and mindfulness to what consumers are drinking and purchasing.”
Amy Racine, beverage director of JF Restaurants and head of The Loyal Wine Shop, agrees. “It’s wild all the areas people are just beginning to uncover and dive into. It’s really exciting, and I think something great is coming for natural wines.”
And ever-curious New Yorkers—fortunate beneficiaries of living in the nation’s top natural wine market—can take full advantage of their access to an exceptional variety of producers, varietals, and regions. Here, our selection of 19 spots to find and drink natural wine. Please consult each locale for specifics—with the indoor dining ban still in effect, many venues have pivoted to (heated) outdoor dining, pickup/delivery, and even virtual tastings. And as always, be sure to mask up and social distance responsibly.
Open barely two months, Winona’s—a modern European café and natural wine store—is led by executive chef Cressida Greening (formerly of The Breslin; she’s also a sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers). The wine list focuses on low-intervention, biodynamic, and natural wines, spotlighting small producers like Austrian couple Anita and Hans Nittnaus, who make terroir-driven biodynamic wines; and Pheasant’s Tears in Georgia, started by an American painter and an eighth-generation family winemaker. All can be paired with chef Greening’s menu, which includes anchovy toast with pepitas and parsley; tortilla española with piquillo pepper aioli; and lamb belly fritters with mint yogurt and Aleppo dust. An outdoor structure is slated to open mid-January where dinner on select nights and weekend brunch will be served; they also offer customers complimentary wine consultations via text to their wine hotline.
How to order: Reservations available via Resy. Pickup available via website and delivery via Seamless and Doordash. For complimentary consultation, text Winona’s wine hotline at 718-200-1261.
Rosella’s focus on sustainability extends not only to its sushi menu (for which ingredients are sourced exclusively within the U.S.) but also to its natural wine list. Uchiko veterans Jeff Miller and Yoni Lang created the restaurant’s menu utilizing locally sourced, sustainable fish and seasonal ingredients, while beverage director and co-owner TJ Provenzano built a wine list that represents lesser-known stateside regions (from Maryland to New Mexico), while accentuating small producers—such as Vermont’s La Garagista, a woman-owned natural winery that employs a permaculture philosophy (to work with, rather than against, nature); or Ambyth Estate Winery, Paso Robles’s sole biodynamic vineyard which ages their orange wines in amphora (ancient Greek vessels). Beginning January 16, Rosella will be open for lunch on the weekends.
How to order: Reservations available via Tock. Pickup available by calling 646-422-7729. Delivery via Grubhub, UberEats, and Caviar.
At Atla, beverage director Yana Volfson spotlights natural wines from a country many wine drinkers may not realize produces them—Mexico. (She also heads temporarily-closed sister restaurant Cosme’s beverage program, where she has worked with organic winemaker Vena Cava to create the restaurant’s house red since it opened). Though winemaking has existed in Mexico for centuries, it is only more recently that natural Mexican wines have gained recognition. Volfson’s wine list includes bottles from Bichi, created by brothers Noel Téllez and chef Jair Téllez who produce biodynamic wines in Valle de Guadalupe (which is considered Mexico’s premier wine region, producing the vast majority of the country’s wine); and La Casa Vieja, where fermentation of the 120-year old dry-farmed vineyard is done using only native, wild yeasts.
How to order: Reservations available via website. Delivery and pickup available via website. Delivery available via Caviar, Grubhub, and UberEats.
The ultimate in café culture comes to the West Village from Paris-meets-Tokyo fashion brand Kitsuné: This all-day café offers small plates (the menu was created by Tokyo-based chef Yuji Tani), speciality coffee drinks, and a whole roster of natural wines. Wine Director Lauren Werst runs the natural wine program (which was developed by The Four Horsemen's Billy Smith) and recently launched the locale’s own wine club, Super-Naturel. Presented as a virtual monthly salon, selections have included biodynamic wines like those from Auvergne winemaker Julien Altaber or orange wines from Majer Zemianske Sady, an independent family estate in Slovakia. Digital wine classes are set to launch this year with walk through tastings of each month’s featured wines.
How to order: Pickup available inside (limited outdoor seats available in front of the café).
Coast and Valley
Traveling to the West Coast may seem out of reach these days, but this California wine bar and eatery offers plenty to savor til then. Partners Eric Hsu and Stephanie Watanabe, who hail from the Bay Area, created Coast and Valley as an homage and celebration of California wines (even the menu has a wine country feel with California-centric ingredients woven throughout) as they are being produced today, from orange wines to pet-nats to new world wines. Until indoor dining resumes, those seeking the best of the Golden State can stock up online —with selections like a sparkling blend of chardonnay and chenin blanc from Finke’s Widow; or Colète, the first Napa Valley Merlot from winemakers Rajat Parr (the James Beard Award-winning sommelier and former wine director) and Marie Vayron Ponsonnet, who was raised on her family’s vineyard in Pomerol, France.
How to order: Pickup and delivery available via Doordash. A 20% discount applies to in-store wine pickups; wine bundles available as well. Call 917-838-7559 for more information.
A name that translates (from the Piedmontese) as “of the past” is rather fitting for this cozy Italian bar that offers over 100 natural Italian wines by the glass (don’t worry, you can have the whole bottle, too). The husband and wife team (who also opened natural wine spots Have & Meyer and Terre) keep sustainability and biodiversity at the forefront of their offerings; even their menu evokes a respect for agriculture, showcasing slow food inspired Italian dishes. The wine list often features orange wines and selections by producers across Italy—from the mountains of Northern Italy to the volcanic soil of Sicily. A plant-filled outdoor patio offers respite from the cold with heat lamps, cozy blankets, and hand warmers.
How to order: Reservations available via OpenTable.
For wine director Pierre Derrien, the world of natural wines is one he is personally tied to, even before his time as sommelier at Clown Bar in Paris. The wine list at Ernesto’s, which he notes features 99% natural wines, is influenced by his travels, producers and distributors he has long known, wine tastings from New York to Paris, and his customers’ evolving tastes. Current must-trys include a 2018 sparkling red from Loire Valley producer Michael Autran; 2019 orange wine from biodynamic micro-winery Cosmic Vinyaters in Catalonia; and a 2014 red from Asturian producer Dominio del Urogalloa, a small wine estate in northern Spain, where the vineyards are carved into the canyon-esque valley walls. Executive Chef and Partner Ryan Bartlow (whose culinary pedigree includes Alinea, Frenchette, and Michelin-starred Akelarre in San Sebastián) leads the modern taverna, with a distinctive menu dedicated to the cuisine of Spain’s Basque region.
How to order: Reservations available via Resy.
The Four Horsemen
The natural wine bar and restaurant may be best known for being co-owned by LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, but it really stands out for its time-and-tested dedication to amplifying (no pun intended) smaller wine producers. Wine director and partner Justin Chearno heads up the wine list, which spotlights vintners like Burgundy’s organic winemaker Fanny Sabre (taught by natural wine pioneer Philippe Pacalet); fourth-generation Austrian winemaker Christian Tschida who produces only sulfur-free wines; and Frenchman Laurent Saillard, a chef and restaurateur in NY who returned to France and refurbished an old winery to produce organic wines. Canopy-covered outdoor dining features fare from longtime chef Nick Curtola.
How to order: Reservations available via Resy. Online store offers wine, cocktails, coffee, and more for purchase. Limited local delivery available during outdoor dining hours.
More often celebrated for its seasonal cocktails and overflowing raw bar, Grand Army Bar also offers a highly curated selection of natural wines on its drinks menu. Beverage director Brendan Biggins draw out small producers like low-intervention, biodynamic winery Liten Buffel, which produces an organic Riesling in New York; a sparkling rosé from Fraz Strohmeier who has been producing natural wines for nearly two decades in Austria; and a natural red deemed the “perfect pizza wine” from Czech Republic star winemaker Milan Nestarec. The team also recently launched their own bottle shop, giving patrons the chance to bring home the wines (and food and cocktails) previously enjoyed barside.
How to order: Reservations available via Resy. Takeout available via website.
Hanon’s natural wine program was created by Jorge Riera, current wine director of the wildly popular Frenchette (and formerly of The Ten Bells, Wildair and Contra), who crafted a smaller list designed to complement the restaurant’s umami-focused style of cooking. This NYC outpost of the original namesake—which is in Kamakura, a Japanese city known for its soba—revolves around udon. The menu, led by sushi veteran and chef Takahiro Yanagisawa, includes two different types, both made in-house. Riera’s approach to the noodle-based fare focuses on Italian wines (also more affordable, he notes), which naturally contain underlying umami notes as a result of the maceration and bubbles in the glass. The rosé, by contrast, includes lesser-known varietals (and brings out deeper flavors in the dashi); for the reds, Riera kept the options fresh and light, aiming to uplift the palate especially when richer meats were paired with the udon.
How to order: Delivery available via Seamless. For more information, call 347-799-1433.
June Wine Bar
Just five short years ago, June was amongst the first to introduce Brooklyn to the world of natural wines—today, it’s amongst the best known of natural wine bars regardless of which borough you’re coming from. Small plates include cassoulet, salt-baked celery root, and chicken schnitzel. The extensive wine list, which offers an impressive array of by-the-glass options, is overseen by co-owner Henry Rich and beverage director Kipleen Green. Current offerings include wines from smaller producers like Portugal’s Joao Pato which specializes in Bairrada’s indigenous varietals; Domaine Ozil in Rhone, where two brothers produce both biodynamic wines and a range of organic produce (from olives to peaches); and Champagne Marie Courtin, where winegrowers farm the vines biodynamically by hand. June also has a weekly CSA + Wine Club and offers outdoor dining on their heated patio.
How to order: Reservations available via Resy. Pickup available via website. Delivery available via Caviar.
Named for the grande dame of Burgundy wine, Lalou Bize-Roy, this Brooklyn-based wine bar and restaurant befittingly includes a large selection of natural wines (over 150 bottles). Joe Campanale and Dave Foss, friends and veterans of the wine and food worlds, teamed up to devise the robust list, which highlights producers like Vera de Estenas who crafts wines using century-old Bobal vines; organic Georgian family-owned winery Gotsa; and Vignai da Duline, husband and wife organic winemakers who intentionally allow their untrimmed vines to find balance and direction. Chef Jay Wolman’s menu offers richly satisfying dishes like quail with baby artichokes, bouillabaisse, and house-made boudin blanc with black trumpets. A covered back garden has heated outdoor dining, in addition to space in front of the wine bar itself.
How to order: Outdoor garden seating available. Delivery available via Caviar.
Leo, launched by the same team behind Bushwick favorite Ops, offers perfect-with-wine fare, like Neapolitan pies, paninis, square slices, and more. The natural wine list is overseen by Sierra Echegaray—an alum of The Four Horsemen. Featured producers include winemakers like Quinta do Paço, a small family farm near Lisbon where the influence of the sea, clay-limestone soils, and local grape varieties combine; Vinyes Singulares in Catalonia, which has been a continuously harvested property since the 15th century; and Puglian winemaker Natalino del Prete whose organic vineyards produce unpretentious, everyday wines.
How to order: Reservations available via Resy. Delivery, pickup and shipping available via website.
Unassuming wine shops are hardly commonplace, so it’s hard not to be delighted by Parcelle—where sommelier and owner Grant Reynolds (co-author of How to Drink Wine, which released last fall), uses playful touches like indie-artist deco’d baseball cards to present patrons with pairing suggestions. Their client’s most common requests these days? Pet-nat (“naturally sparkling”) and orange wine. Their current natural wine favorites include selections like a Blanco Seco from the Canary Islands, an all-organic red from Sicily and a fancier Tissot from Jura, the beloved French region renowned for its natural wines. Parcelle, whose team is sommelier-based, also offers a monthly wine subscription (Wine Drop) and virtual wine tastings, in addition to a limited-run patio pop-up that ran last year.
How to order: Wine available to purchase via website, by calling 212-258-0722 or texting 212-460-WINE. Pickup and delivery via Caviar.
This wine and spirits shop (from the team behind natural wine bars Wildair and Michelin-starred Contra) is currently accessible via a semi-permanent pop-up shop in the Mini Market of the Market Line (the main store is currently closed for in-store shopping). While the original location offered the chance to enjoy a glass you love and then take the bottle home, the current iteration still provides customers the chance to purchase wines guided by expert staff at the satellite shop. The online shop features producers such as La Distesa, a third-generation family winery in San Michel; Danish sommelier-turned-winemaker Anders Frederik Steen, who destems grapes by hand during the early harvest; and German wine making couple Rita and Rudolf Trossen, who in 1978 converted their entire estate to biodynamics. There’s also a monthly wine club that offers four, six, or eight bottle subscriptions.
How to order: Delivery and pickup orders available via website. Pickup orders may also be received at the Mini Market Wednesday-Sunday.
Coastal Italy is the inspiration and spirit behind Pips, a natural wine bar that offers small plates, pasta, and seafood on its menu from executive chef Jared Braithwaite. Launched by the team behind Gran Eléctrica and Colonie (which is next door), the wine list is centered around low-intervention natural wines, featuring winemakers like Furlani in Trentino, a region whose volcanic soils gives way to some of Italy’s finest wines; Franco Terpin, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, whose family vineyard inspired his production of orange wines with indigenous yeast; and Fattoria Mani du Luna, a biodynamic winery run by three longtime friends.
How to order: Delivery available via Caviar.
Created as a social space to spotlight independent musicians, artists, and creatives, Public Records is also the base for a vegan restaurant, outdoor garden available for dining, retail store, and café. The natural wine list includes limited production bottles from wineries around the globe—like Porta Bohemica in northern Bohemia, founded by a laboratory scientist and chemist turned natural winemaker; Austrian producers Maria and Sepp Muster, who operate a biodynamic winery in Styria; and Czech Republic-based natural wine pioneer Richard Stavek. More recently, they have launched a weekly wine series to highlight different producers each week throughout dinner service (curated by Via Whines).
How to order: Reservations available via Resy. Online shop available via website.
Operating one of the country’s first natural wine bars with a zero-waste approach is the ambitious mission behind Rhodora, which was created by the same team behind June. Converting salt into soap and composting wine boxes is just the start. The vegetarian spot collects all uneaten scraps for composting, educates their vendors on delivering items with reusable containers (or no packaging at all), and recycles both their natural wine bottles and the corks. Natural French wines round out their current wine list, among them a PicPoul Blanc, Semillion, and Grenache/Syrah. In addition to a weekly wine club subscription and CSA box, they’re currently serving their menu of wine, cocktails, and food on their outdoor patio.
How to order: Online store available via website.
The Ten Bells
With over a decade under its belt, The Ten Bells was one of the earliest arrivals to the natural wine scene in NYC (it was founded by three employees of Le Pere Pinard, a nearby bistro). The wine list, originated by Fifi Essome (one of the original owners) was later expanded by Jorge Riera (wine director of Frenchette). The philosophy was to support their winemaking friends by making natural wines more accessible (many of which have since become household names, Riera notes). The tapas style menu offers a variety of small plates and snacks. The natural wines on offer include nearly two dozen by the glass and a greater selection by the bottle—spotlighting small producers like winemaker Andrea Cervani, who planted his vineyards using clay and limestone soil in Emilia Romagna; and sparkling wine from Oyster River Winegrowers based out of Oregon. They feature a daily happy hour with oysters and wine, in addition to hosting the Mediterranean menu of Sami & Susu, which relocated from Brooklyn to The Ten Bells late last year.
How to order: Heated outdoor seating available. For reservations, email email@example.com or 212-228-4450.