Every wine has a story to tell. That’s the driver behind a new online bottle shop that seeks to support a frequently underrepresented group of winemakers.
The social-enterprise vino venture, called Go There Wines, spotlights female winemakers, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and countries commonly overlooked in the global wine industry. That includes Abdullah Richi, a Syrian exile who is making wine in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, as well a handful of other lesser-known growers from around the world.
“We are trying to build a connection through wine. By sharing a bottle of wine, you are also sharing an entire country and culture with someone,” says Go There Wines co-founder Rose Previte, who’s normally in the business of brick-and-mortar.
Since opening in 2017, her Michelin-rated Middle Eastern and North African restaurant Maydan has drawn national acclaim for its Arab condiments, dramatic open-fire cooking, and its wine list, which earned a 2022 James Beard Award nomination for outstanding program of the year.
The busy female restaurateur, who’s also behind Compass Rose and an incoming casual offshoot of Maydan called Tawle, has spent lots of time living abroad and traveling to far-flung places with her journalist husband and Go There Wines co-founder David Greene. (Greene is a foreign correspondent for NPR and recently launched a podcast, Ukraine Stories, focusing on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.) Previte’s research trips have taken her to top wine regions like Georgia to South Africa to discover new wines to pour in D.C.
At the heart of their travels has been a dedication to service for others, alongside delicious food and drinks — and most notably, wine.
Previte and Greene teamed up with their friend Chandler Arnold, the CEO of Renegade Social Impact, to debut Go There Wines. The online business builds upon work Previte has done at her restaurants, showcasing wines that help build connections and sustain communities both near and far.
“With this direct-to-consumer model, we can share bottles from wine regions and entrepreneurs taking risks and creating some very exciting wines you may have never tasted before,” says Previte.
On the back of every bottle of Go There Wines is a QR code that buyers can scan with a smartphone, unlocking a short video testimonial that transports the viewer to the people and places where the wine is made. That includes South African winemaker Nandumiso Pikashe, who was on hand to provide samples of her sparkling wine at the D.C. debut of Go There Wines last week.
Pikashe looks at her business as a revolutionary act that would have been prohibited under Apartheid, a decades-long system of institutionalized racial oppression that lasted until the early 1990s in South Africa. Her wine brand is called Ses’fikile, a Xhosa word that translates into English as, “We have arrived.”
“For me, making this wine is disruption. It is inspiration. It is aspiration of the country I represent,” Pikashe says.
Go There Wines are available for purchase in 40 states, including D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Most bottles in the growing online store cost around $30. Meet more faces behind the featured vineyards here.
“We are partnering with these small wineries and giving them a label and brand, so they can tell their story to the world,” Previte says. “Online and e-commerce is this whole new territory for us. I think this will give our winemakers access and a reach they’ve never had before.”