Pascal and Daneen Lewis, residents of Harlem for nearly three decades.
Embarked on a unique venture driven by a simple observation during a stroll through their neighborhood – the absence of a quality wine shop. This realization ignited the spark for their ambitious project: the creation of the Harlem Wine Gallery.
“We’ve been in this neighborhood for close to 30 years and never found a place we liked to buy wine. We would travel downtown,” shared Daneen, co-owner of Harlem Wine Gallery, with NowThis News. “Being active in our community, we thought, ‘Why are we leaving our neighborhood to buy wine? We should have a shop!'” And with that, the Lewis duo set their plan into motion.
“…loving every second of it.”
Despite lacking prior experience in the wine industry, Pascal and Daneen dived headfirst into their venture. They took classes and enrolled in the Wine Spirits Education Trust, arming themselves with knowledge about the intricate world of wine. “We naively jumped into it,” admitted Daneen. “And now, seven years later, here we are, loving every second of it.”
Harlem Wine Gallery transcends the typical wine shop experience. The Lewis couple aspires to connect with the community, utilizing a spacious area in the back for tastings and events. Their calendar showcases a variety of wine-related happenings, often blending wine with music and culture, and many of these events are free.
Pascal emphasized the intimidating nature of buying wine for most people, stating, “This space allowed us to have an educational space that would allow us to educate our community members about wine and winemaking.”
What sets Harlem Wine Gallery apart is its unique inventory, boasting the largest selection of Black-owned wine brands and products by Black winemakers in New York City. The shop also features wines produced by women, along with a significant collection of natural wines and those originating from New York State.
Pascal noted the lack of representation within the industry and expressed, “As a retailer, I could have a space where these wines could be showcased, actually giving them a prominent place within the store. Black brands and Black winemakers need an uplift, and we help provide that uplift.”
Looking ahead, the Lewises are directing their focus towards community engagement and collaboration with small businesses in Harlem and neighboring areas. They aim to broaden the understanding that wine-grape growing is a form of agriculture.
“… a community hub…”
Daneen acknowledged the ongoing learning journey, stating, “It’s just a never-ending journey of learning about wine.” In essence, Harlem Wine Gallery stands not just as a wine shop but as a community hub, a testament to the Lewis couple’s dedication to education, representation, and fostering local connections.
Here’s the Harlem Wine Gallery team on Instagram:
Harlem Wine Gallery, 2067 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10027, 646.912.9365, https://harlemwinegallery.com/
Photo credit: Source.
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