Tastefully Chic: A wine shop in Williamsburg

Tastefully Chic: A wine shop in Williamsburg

We adore a fabulous bottle of wine but above all finding the best wine shop is an integral part of shopping for that perfect bottle of wine. And that is why choosing a go-to wine shop makes purchasing more enjoyable. There is something extraordinary about cruising your favorite wine shop and discovering new wines, getting personalized help, and getting beautiful recommendations. And that is why we wanted to introduce you to a tastefully chic wine shop in Williamsburg.

I understand that every wine I taste is fundamentally the same as every other. Yet I also understand that every wine differs in terms of its origins, intentions, history, and relationship to a place and heritage.

I don’t remember where I read the above statement. But it stuck with me because I believe it to be true.

Wine has always been of great interest to me. I love learning about it, finding a good bottle, and making notes in my wine journal. My knowledge of wine is beginner-level at best [maybe I’m being modest — a little above beginner]. But I am enjoying the process. I find many aspects of wine exceptionally satisfying — the wine OBVIOUSLY, which represents so many things to me. The content of the bottle, time, place, people, food, the way it’s made, and of course, culture. Our connection to wine is simply through our senses, making experiencing wine truly special to me.

The Best Ingredients

I want to buy food with quality ingredients and nutrition as a consumer. Therefore, I opt for quality, sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly food products whenever possible. I appreciate that these practices have spilled over into the world of wine because I love to enjoy a nice glass of wine several times a week.

I became interested in organic wine a few years ago. So when the opportunity came up to visit a wine shop that focuses on organic, natural, and biodynamic wines, I was extremely excited—and made my way to a wine shop in South Williamsburg.

Spirit Animal

Spirit Animal is located at 20 Broadway in the Southern section of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. It is the brainchild of Chef and restaurant owner [of Barano] Albert Di Meglio — affectionately known as chef Al. The wine shop opened in June 2019 to provide extended customer service to his restaurant’s patrons.

The well-curated inventory combines organic, biodynamic, and natural wines. And 98% of the shop’s inventory falls into one of these three categories.

A bit of information

Organic, biodynamic, and natural wines are all an alternative in terms of the way the wine is produced. These categories represent a departure from conventional winemaking and mass-market practices.

Organic Wines

Organic wine solely means the grapes are grown, observing the principles of organic farming practices. Artificial or chemical fertilizers are not added — the grapes are cultivated without pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. The legal definition of organically grown wine varies from country to country.

In the United States, a farm is certified organic by the USDA. In contrast, in other countries, most organic farms are certified by a local organization called IMO control [Institute for Market Ecology]. Additionally, organic wine imported from other countries to the United States is subject to Strict guidelines.


Organic wine emphasizes what is not done to the vineyards and grapes, while biodynamic emphasizes what is done to them. Biodynamic is a very intentional process with no chemical intervention — a practice that is used in viticulture [grape growing] and dates back to the 1920s. This process predates the modern organic movements and is said to be the true expression of terroir because it works in harmony with the earth’s cycle.

The entire process and timeline for enriching the soil, planting, pruning, and harvesting are based on phases of the moon as well as astrological signs. It’s a holistic approach that has proven effective and promotes vigorous vines that, in turn, produce healthy grapes.

Natural Wines

Natural wine has gained popularity recently; however, it is technically the oldest method. Stating a description or definition is challenging since natural wine may follow similar characteristics as organic and biodynamic. However, winemakers’ codes of conduct may vary. Natural wine is an unregulated term and only refers to the winemaking process after the maturity of the grapes, not the way the grapes are planted, grown, or harvested.

The Space and the Team at Spirit Animal

Tastefully Chic: A wine shop in Williamsburg

Walking into Spirit Animal was quite refreshing — the space was bright and airy, and racks of wine and spirits lined the walls. However, in the center of the shop lies the most outstanding feature of the space, an interactive area [a curved bar] for wine tasting and small classes.

The trio of Spirit Animal is a unique bunch [Johnny, Chef Al, and Austin Flechler]. I love that their knowledge, intentions, motivation, and desire combined uniquely to create such a space. A space created to share with the customer at the forefront. An environment that strives on taste, education, and bringing forward the best there is to offer.

Wine shop in Williamsburg

Meet Johnny

Johnny, a managing partner at Spirit Animal and former attorney. He started his entrepreneurial journey in his parent’s store at a very young age. His passion for this tastefully chic wine shop in Williamsburg, and he intends to find ways to include the community on an ongoing basis at Spirit Animal. His desire to create a collaborative and welcoming environment through tastings, education, and community makes his contribution unique.

Meet Chef Al [Albert Di Meglio]

Chef Al [Albert Di Meglio] is not a sommelier by trade. Still, his extensive knowledge of food and wine makes him a valuable contributor to Spirit Animal, with 20-plus career cooking in many kitchens in New York City. As a result, he has developed an unwavering palate and understanding of food and wine, allowing him to effectively and successfully pair wine with delicious flavors. With such talents, who would not want his recommendation on a great bottle?

Meet Austin Flechler

Austin Flechler’s six senses for selecting the perfect bottle for a customer or the ideal addition to the already well-curated wine offerings at Spirit Animal make him an invaluable asset. With 13 years in the Hospitality Industry, Flechler utilized the last five years to obtain a firmer grip on his craft. As a Sommelier, lover of natural and biodynamic wines, and wine director, he developed his passion for wine into a desire for more natural and low-intervention winemaking practices. He credits his travels through wine regions, meeting, tasting, and learning with winemakers for this specialized knowledge.

What to expect at Spirit Animal

Spirit Animal’s foundation for choosing wine is quite simple “the farming practice.” I believe that statement caught my attention the most while meeting with Flechler. When a business or company takes responsibility for giving their customers and community the best of products and services, they are worthy of a shout-out.

With a strong desire to explore all things wine and spirits, anyone who visits Spirit Animal can expect something new and different. The team’s effort and persistence to discover winemakers, producers, and distillers that fit a particular list of criteria is the driving force behind the shop’s concept.

Flechler says the importance of finding “winemakers, producers, and distillers that are methodical yet passionate, uncompromising yet whimsical, holistic yet refined, and most importantly genuine and approachable” is paramount.

This wine shop in Williamsburg currently carries approximately 100 to 150 different bottles. The goal is to take the guesswork out of selecting the perfect bottle for you or me.

Wine shop in Williamsburg

As Fkechler stated, “Instead  of having five or six different types of Sauvignon Blanc, we may have two true Sauvignon Blanc options and carry a couple of similar things in style.”

I hope you stop by and visit — I had such a pleasant visit. This unique wine shop in Williamsburg is dedicated to educating its customers through tastings. Wine tasting is scheduled once or twice weekly with small classes. What a treat if wine is your thing.

“To us any wine, no matter how flawless,  is useless without someone to share it with. That’s where you come in. We could have all the best bottles in the world but without your desire to taste, learn, and get excite we’d be pretty bored. So, we’ve built Spirit Animal with you as our first priority.”

Austin Flecher

The next tasting is Thursday, September 19th — I promise it will be worth the trip. I hope to see you there.

Spirit Animal
20 Broadway, corner of Kent Avenue
(929) 489-3012

Sunday 12 to 8 PM
Monday through Saturday, 12 to 10 PM



Sources for Article

Nat C.


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