Bottoms Up — October 30, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Vineyards and a View



After a long day of work, nothing beats having a glass a wine to relax and unwind. However, let’s face it — how many of us really understand the process of creating wine, and the thought of driving over an hour to visit the famous East End vineyards of Long Island seems too much. With the establishment of Rooftop Reds by Devin Shomaker, New Yorkers can have the vineyard experience without leaving the five boroughs.

Nestled on a rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, Rooftop Reds has gained popularity with embracing the urban agriculture movement. “I was in a program in upstate New York about viticulture and herbs,” Shomaker said. “I was always interested in urban agriculture and was wondering if anyone applied vineyards in urban areas.”

Gaining inspiration from Brooklyn Grange, which is an urban rooftop farm, Shomaker needed to find a location that would not hinder the growth of the business. Throughout a long process, he discovered that the a prime location would be the Brooklyn Navy Yards. “I made one phone call during the developing stage and met with people from the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” he said. “I explained the idea and they were on board.”


With the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River, many people would be surprised to know the air quality within the city would not stop the healthy development of the vineyards. “Air flow is great,” Shomaker said. “Toxic Zones from Urban Air has been eliminated from the city from the Clean Air Act.”

Weather will always be an undetermined factor, but Shomaker is more concerned of the heat on the rooftop the most. “Evidence shows that photosynthesis slows down when exposed to heat,” he said. The extreme weather that New York has faced in recent years does not worry Shomaker, because he notes he is more concerned over hail than another Superstorm Sandy.

“One of my biggest goals is taking the nursery vineyards of 250 grape vines and maturing,” he said. Rooftop Reds is more than the usual vineyards people may visit. There are certain goals that Shomaker wants to achieve, including offering internships for inner city youth and educational programs for wine lovers. Another goal that will be achieved in 2016 will be bottling the wine for mass retail in New York.

Attempting to achieve his goal, Shomaker started a Kickstart that went viral and surpassed the amount he needed of $15,000. At first he was concerned of how the public would perceive an urban vineyard, but was surprised how many people embraced the idea. “You don’t know the response of the public and constantly are worrying, so I was very stressed,” Shomaker said. “Meeting the goal was one of the happiest goals of my life, and it was a big step toward developing a new area of urban agriculture.”

As his ideas become a reality, Rooftop Reds seems like it will become the latest hotspot in Brooklyn. “Big things are coming 2015,” Shomaker said.


Twisted Talk: What do you think of Rooftop Reds? Are you excited to try the wine? Discuss below!

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