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Rooftop Reds: Worlds first commercial rooftop vineyard.
Rooftop Reds: Worlds first commercial rooftop vineyard.
203 backers pledged $16,820 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$16,820

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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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Recognition as a Kickstarter contributor on our website!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Receive a Rooftop Reds logo sticker and be recognized as a Kickstarter contributor on our website!

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    11 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Two Rooftop Reds logo wine glasses, logo sticker and be recognized as a KickStarter contributor on our website!

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    46 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Receive a Rooftop Reds logo baseball cap, logo sticker and be recognized as a KickStarter contributor on our website!

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    13 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Receive a Rooftop Reds T-Shirt, logo sticker and be recognized as a Kickstarter contributor on our website!

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    18 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Adopt-A-Vine! Rooftop Reds management will designate a single vine in your honor. Next to your vine we will attach a plaque with your name on it. In the Fall of 2014, we will invite adopters to "Find Your Vine" on our urban vineyard at the end of the 2014 growing season!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    1 hour Spring 2015 budbreak vineyard seminar for 2 people. Budbreak signifies the start of a new vintage and the beginning of the growing season in the vineyard. Come share this experience with us led by the founders of Rooftop Reds. Also receive two Rooftop Reds logo wine glasses in 2014!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Help us with our 2016 harvest!! Pick the grapes with Rooftop Reds' founders and learn how to make an experimental small batch of wine. Also receive a 2015 harvest T-Shirt.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    1.5 hour viticulture seminar on canopy management for 2 people. Canopy management is an important aspect of viticulture due to its effect on grape yields, quality, vigor, and the prevention of grape/grapevine diseases. Learn about this important vineyard management practice through hands on instruction from Rooftop Reds founders. Also receive two Rooftop Reds logo wine glasses in 2014!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Start your own urban vineyard! Rooftop Reds will provide you with a premium potted grapevine, 5 gallon container and detailed planting instructions to ensure healthy growth for years to come. The vines will be delivered in early June to ensure a full season of growth during 2014! *Shipping limited to Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan only*

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Rooftop Reds KickStarter rewards package. Includes rewards for $50 (Adopt-A-Vine); $50 (Bud Break Seminar); $75 (Canopy Management Seminar); 2 Rooftop Reds T-Shirts; plus two Rooftop Reds logo wine glasses. A $265.00 value!

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    Limited 14 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Candlelit dinner for 2 in the urban vineyard. A selection of premier restaurants in Brooklyn to cater the event will be offered to the contributors in order to accommodate all cuisine tastes and special needs. Plus 2 Rooftop Reds T-Shirts!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Wine production tour for 2 people of the top 3 urban wineries in Brooklyn! Learn how world class wine is being made currently in Brooklyn, NY! These wineries include: Red Hook Winery; Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Oenology Winery. All tour fees and transportation costs to and from each winery will be covered. (Designated start location will be at Rooftop Reds vineyard; transportation cost to and from start location included but only for local fare) End the wine production tour with a candlelit dinner for 2 in the urban vineyard. A selection of premier restaurants in Brooklyn to cater the event will be offered to the contributors in order to accommodate all cuisine tastes and special needs. Plus 2 Rooftop Reds T-Shirts!

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Your own private vineyard escape!!! Enjoy the most unique city scape with your friends during the entire 2015 growing season - Spring,Summer & Fall. Have your own table (seats 6) in the vineyard for a total of 6 afternoon/evening visits - 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm. Have a place to go where nature and city living become one. Also includes Rooftop Reds KickStarter rewards package; a $150 value!

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Funding period

- (30 days)