Ramona brings can-do attitude to wine drinking

Traditionalists may not approve but wine in a can is a growing market

Jordan Salcito of Ramona wine.

Jordan Salcito of Ramona wine.

 

Should we be drinking wine from cans this summer? Mixed with fruit juice? Traditionalists may recoil in horror, but this is what Jordan Salcito of Ramona wines and Ronan Farrell of Irish wine importer Wine Lab would like to see happening. Sales of hard seltzers and canned wine are booming in the US, so why should we be any different?

Jordan Salcito is a wine lover, sommelier and entrepreneur. She started out with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Philosophy. “These have less practical applications than I wish, I dreamt about writing about food and restaurants and so went to culinary school and then began cooking at Daniel, a very famous New York restaurant,” she says.

“One night there was a wine event with winemakers present and I fell in love with it. I did a harvest in Burgundy. It was a powerful experience; you meet the people behind the wine and the history. I was able to understand things that would never be able to from reading books. For the next 10 years I worked at harvest. I picked grapes the first year - it was back breaking and wet, but you become intimate with a vineyard, the way the light hits it, the bugs, everything, if you are standing in the middle of it.” 

Ramona wine spritzes in cans.
Ramona wine spritzes in cans.

Salcito worked as sommelier in a number of top New York restaurants including 11 Madison Park and WD-50 before becoming wine and beverage director for David Chang’s Momofuku group of restaurants, where she compiled an award-winning wine list for his Michelin-starred Ko restaurant.

“The idea for Ramona [her wine spritz] grew out of an obvious large void for something that did not require people to trade down on their values at casual moments. There are times for a bottle of great wine, but at the aperitivo hour there were so few refreshing delicious drinks. I am not a beer person, memories of bad college parties, so I wanted something like beer but not beer, and it had to be organic and sustainable. I looked at it and saw no options.

“It’s fun to see the wine community embrace it. It is not competing with the beautiful wines of the world; it is meant for a very different occasion but sharing the same values.” 

Salcito started the project a few days after learning she was pregnant. “I was in shock; we were planning a baby but it happened very quickly. This idea had been there and now I was in a position to do it. My universe was changing so this was the perfect time. It has been so much fun, I’ve learned a lot, at every turn, the mistakes I’ve made generally involve me questioning my value system, listening to big companies and experts. The right way to do things is in line with your beliefs.”

As well as an organic sparkling rosé wine, there are three wines spritzes in the range, organic ruby grapefruit, organic Meyer lemon and organic blood orange. These come in a can and are a blend of wine and fruit juices. Low in alcohol (5-7%), lightly fizzy and not too sweet, they make a great sunshine aperitif or sipping drink. All of the grapes and citrus fruits used to make the spritzes are certified organic. 

On Wednesday, May 12th,  Salcito will be joining winelab.ie online for the 11th instalment of its First Look Club – a monthly subscription service where members try new wines before meeting the makers.

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