Selling natural wine in 2022: looking back to move forward

By Dave Schavone

You know what’s undeniably awesome? The Canadian power trio Rush. A shared love of that band is one of the first things Diego and I had in common, and we saw them live together 7 or 8 times. One song, “Time Stand Still,” is about taking a moment to appreciate the people and experiences that make up your life. It’s usually on my mind as we flip the calendar from one year to the next, when work slows down for a bit, we’re in touch with family and friends, and we have time to reflect on what really matters, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

That’s a long-winded way of saying I’m super sappy around New Year’s. The world seems to spin faster and faster. There just isn’t time to stop and appreciate everything. In the spirit of slowing down, here’s a look back / look ahead.

Visiting Quaderna Via in Navarra was my 2022 high point. We knew the brothers, Jorge and Raul, made delicious wine–and in the way we felt wine should be made. But the trip confirmed what we didn’t know: we share similar thinking about wine and ecology and the way all of these things need to fit together in this rapidly changing world. We’re still riding that high into 2023.

Man, I love to travel. I feel so damn lucky for the opportunity to visit insane natural wine bars in Barcelona or enjoy some pints at an ancient pub along the Thames, but it’s the smaller moments that echo more loudly. Example: the amazing pizza I had at a grocery store in Detroit or the views from the train from Sacramento to Berkeley. Seeing and experiencing different parts of the US and the world, especially places I never thought I’d visit, is such a privilege.

Easily the best things about 2022 [really every year we’ve been working on this project] were the people we met. From collaborations at dinners like Wicked Kitchen or Thali Supper Club, big events like San Fermin in Nueva Orleans or NOWFE, the incredible people we’ve worked with at Queen Palm Media, Finchform Co, and Jave Insights, or the thousands of people for whom we poured and with whom we shared countless glasses of RedThumb wine. It’s a belabored point that nothing brings people together like good wine, but nothing’s more rewarding than those moments.

Getting our second vintage into everyone’s hands is priority number one in 2023. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Another key goal is pushing into new cities as quickly as possible—expect some announcements shortly. We’re also tasting new wines all the time to bring you more of the best, responsibly produced vino from all over the world—right now looking at delicious wines from Italy, France, and South America. In addition to new wines, we’re ready to share all the info about the wines we do find, with a greater focus on the amazing winemakers who make this all possible and third-party certifications (aka validation of claims) for each bottle we put on shelves.

But my biggest hope for 2023 is for more of the amazing things that made 2022 so incredible—more new places, more new experiences, and more people smiling and laughing over a shared bottle. Thanks for a great year, and an even brighter future.