A beloved neighborhood wine shop is entering a new era, thanks to a local wine expert.
Since 2004, Fermented Grapes (651 Vanderbilt Ave) has been known as Prospect Heights' lively and approachable neighborhood wine shop. Now, a wine shop veteran, Kilolo Strobert has reopened the shop.
Fermented offers natural, organic and biodynamic wines, with highlighted sections specifically from female, Black and Indigenous winemakers. A diverse selection of spirits from New York distillers is also available. Strobert wants to engage with wine drinkers at every level, using pops of saturated, funky colors on the walls, expressive illustrations lining the wooden shelving units, and easy-to-understand wine categorization to create a welcoming atmosphere.
First time Fermented Grapes shopper? Strobert is looking to push bottles of Greek wine, Sake and Ready To Drink (RTD) options. "With the weather really starting to turn around, we want to make sure that any type of Stoop Juice and easily consumable options for gatherings and warmer climate gatherings are available in the store," she says.
A lifelong New Yorker, Strobert spent over 15 years in roles at award-winning wine shop Le Dû’s Wines, Le Parker Meridien (now Thompson Central Park New York), Zagat, high-end wine shop Morrell & Company, and Fresh Direct Wine & Spirits. Fermented Grapes was the site of her first job in the wine industry. Now, Kilolo returned to her roots to re-launch the concept with longtime friend and colleague Max Katzenberg, whose restaurant and consulting experience includes Olmsted, Maison Yaki and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
"Preservation of history is important to me. The history of this store is part of my wine story. A story that I wanted to preserve and also help grow," says Strobert. "When the owners decided to retire and entrust me with the foundation they built, I felt quite honored and decided that the facelift to the store would still include little bits of homage to the original owners, but revive the space in a way that was still welcoming to the community. We call this evolution Fermented Grapes 12.0."