Who We Are and Our Accomplishments:
The concept of Rooftop Reds was Devin Shomaker’s idea to bring viticulture practices and techniques to major metropolitan regions. Being a student of viticulture and enology in The Finger Lakes American Viticulture Area (AVA) in Western New York, the first logical testing ground for this urban experiment quickly gravitated to New York City. Devin Shomaker, founder of Rooftop Reds, recruited Evan Miles (3rd generation viticulturist/winemaker); Thomas Shomaker (Video Producer/Master’s Student at Columbia Journalism School); and Chris Papalia (viticulturist and winemaker) to develop this non-traditional wine business.
On May 4th, 2013 in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, Rooftop Reds' founders planted a 50-vine rooftop vineyard consisting of red Bordeaux varietal grapevines. These varietals represent all five traditional red Bordeaux grapes including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
New Urban Vineyard Location:
Rooftop Reds is working with Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) who has agreed to assist with the projects need for urban land and rooftop space.
Rooftop Reds’ Aim:
Our culture, simply and plainly, views vineyards, wine and wine making as a romantic art and practice. Not only will Rooftop Reds capitalize on this romanticism and develop a one of a kind “cityscape” but will also produce the first true city vintage in 2016. Rooftop Reds will accomplish these milestones and more…but only with your help.
Rooftop Reds is “KickStarting” in order to help fund our urban vineyard expansion in Brooklyn, NY in the spring of 2014. For every $15,000.00 raised, Rooftop Reds can establish ½ an acre of vines by use of our high density urban planter design. By establishing a mere ½ acre of vines, Rooftop Reds will be able to create the first commercially viable rooftop vineyard in the world.
Rooftop Reds' Goal:
Rooftop Reds’ goal is to provide educational seminars on viticulture practices and expose the largest wine market in the United States to the “ins and outs” of the wine industry. Our overarching vision is to help establish the next generation of wine enthusiasts, viticulturists, and winemakers through exposure to our urban vineyards. Furthermore, in collaboration with our urban partners, Rooftop Reds will produce the first-ever true city vintage with the grapes collected from the 2016 harvest.
Risks and challenges
Building a urban vineyard in Brooklyn, NY is no easy feat. There are numerous challenges seen and unforeseen. That being said, the following issues stand out as our greatest challenges and potential risks:
1. Loss of crop due to disease, cold damage and or excessive heat.
2. Structural analysis and design approval by NYC Department of Buildings.
3. Approval by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for application of pesticides.
4. Extreme weather.
While these potential risks and challenges warrant much attention, Rooftop Reds is confident that full compliance and precautions will be taken to avoid any mishaps that would be detrimental to our progress. For instance, Rooftop Reds’ leadership team possesses the proper New York State pesticide applicator license and is versed in both State and New York City Local Laws concerning usage. Furthermore, Rooftop Reds’ is hiring structural analysis and design firms previously contracted by urban rooftop agricultural businesses in Brooklyn, NY to conduct rooftop inspections. A percent loss of crop and or vines due to disease pressure and weather events will be accounted for on a yearly basis as is normal for any agricultural venture. Limiting this percent loss will be reliant on our expertise, careful planning, and collaboration with our many supporting parties and partners.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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