Since its launch in 2015, Hound’s Tree Wines has never had its own tasting room. It’s always been attached to Sherwood House tasting room after Alex Rosanelli bought the vineyard from the company back in 2016, and both labels have been sold there since. But now, Rosanelli has opened up a tasting room specifically for his label in Williamsburg, bringing a North Fork wine tasting experience to the heart of Brooklyn.
“At a certain point, we wanted to carve out our own space,” he said. When thinking about where he wanted to establish the tasting room, Rosanelli drew on his roots of working in the wine industry on the West coast. “There’s a lot more of a culture of urban winemaking, and more of a connection between the agriculture of the region and the local metropolitan center,” he said.
Rosenelli’s home is in Brooklyn, so that’s where he opened the tasting room in August after months of delays due to the pandemic. It’s the first estate farm winery with a tasting room in NYC, meaning Hound’s Tree grows its own fruit (on the North Fork), produces its own wine and sells it on site. On top of tying the city to the North Fork’s viticulture, he is also hoping to bring more awareness of the Long Island wine scene.
“There are so many times when I would tell people that we make wine on Long Island and they would say ‘Oh, they make wine on Long Island?’” he said. “We wanted to combat that unfamiliarity, and our goal was rather than always expecting our consumer to come to us, we wanted to bring the wine to them and bring the local culture and local agriculture right to the heart of Brooklyn and make it really accessible.”
The Hound’s Tree tasting room will also feature elements of the North Fork through its food menu. The North Fork oysters come with Schmitt’s Farm horseradish and 8 Hands chili oil. The ham and paté featured also come from 8 Hands, and the crab roll is served with North Fork potato chips.
Another part of Rosanelli’s plan is educating his consumer on North Fork terroir by offering wines from different parts of the state such as the Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley.
“Rather than just to try and explain in the context of our wines what terroir is, we wanted to give people the opportunity to really explore in a really tangible way,” he said. “Comparing how one winemaker approaches chardonnay, for example, really understanding both the differences in the approaches that we’re taking, but more importantly, the similarities of the terroir in New York.”
Hound’s Tree tasting room is located at 335 Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They are open Monday through Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.