This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, restaurants and bars around the world faced a fate they could never have imagined. And while far too many unfortunately weren’t able to endure the hardship, others were bolstered by their devoted communities. From donating to Go Fund Mes and other fundraisers, to adding generous tips to takeout orders, many patrons have found ways to support their favorite establishments so they can survive the ongoing pandemic. But some businesses have also gone above and beyond to help out their fellow members of the industry. Parcelle Wines is one of them.
Parcelle’s concept is simple. The retailer, which opened in 2018, offers a small selection of wines — both digitally and at its storefront in NYC — chosen by sommeliers, with the option of on-demand delivery through the Caviar app.
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Amid the closures of many beloved bars and restaurants, Parcelle — launched by Delicious Hospitality, the group that owns NYC restaurants such as Charlie Bird — made a conscious effort to hire out-of-work somms who were either laid off or furloughed during the pandemic. “Our team is largely composed of sommeliers who made a transition post-Covid-19,” says Grant Reynolds, Parcelle’s co-founder.
In addition, the wine shop introduced a program called Parcelle Partners, which allows sommeliers to use Parcelle’s inventory and fulfillment center to sell wine directly to their customers. And in March 2020, the wine shop sold bundled selections of wines and donated the proceeds to the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s efforts to save independent food and beverage businesses from going under due to the pandemic.
Apart from these relief efforts, Parcelle has also expanded beyond its regular services, helping restaurants put together their wine lists. “I think restaurants will always be where people enjoy and discover great wine first,” says Reynolds. “Finding our way to dig into the restaurant lists we love, make some recommendations for people, and hopefully keep our customers drinking good stuff wherever they are is pretty great.”
Parcelle’s team has also crafted the wine list on JetBlue’s Mint Class menu, adding exciting offerings, such as Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc and a natural Spanish sparkling wine, to flights around the world.
Reynolds and his business partner, Josh Abramson, both have backgrounds working on the floor as restaurant wine directors, so curating wine is a well-honed skill. Parcelle’s monthly wine drop, a mix of three somm-selected wines shipped each month, is just one more way the shop is expanding its customers’ wine knowledge and introducing oenophiles to up-and-coming varieties.
“After working in restaurants for my whole life, I’ve had a career shift, and chipping away at a new business is, for lack of a better term, inspiring,” says Reynolds. Blending his wine knowledge with the tech and content experience of his team has led to a successful virtual business, with lots of informative content and advertisements that are clever and memorable.
After years of running its online and retail shop, Parcelle is now gearing up for the next phase of its brick-and-mortar presence. And while the worst of the pandemic is hopefully behind us, Parcelle continues to stand as a pillar of the wine and hospitality community today — and hopefully for years to come.