After Markus Praat spent 6 months managing a wine store in Brooklyn, he decided to bring some Brooklyn air back to Haarlem. Now, he has opened a new, truly cosy and welcoming wine store that does things differently: selling honest products in a sustainable and no-nonsense way, bringing wine from the elite to the streets, and to be more specific, to Gierstraat 14.
A Sense of Place is the name of the new store, which is a phrase that has two meanings: first, the particular characteristic of a place that makes it what it is; and, second, the particular sense that individuals have of places they know by experience. And that is what this new wine store is trying to give you: the sense of each wine’s place from the first till the last sip. The people and the stories behind them. The passion and the struggle. The smells, the soil, the sun, the rain, everything that makes the wines what they are. So, when you take a sip, you travel all the way to that place, without even moving. It will be the most deliciously tasty journey in the world.
What is it that this wine store does differently?
A Sense of Place wants to be an agent of change, by giving you delicious, natural wine, from artisan winemakers, while respecting our environment. Here is how:
Only natural wines:
• Natural wine is farmed organically and sometimes bio-dynamically and made without adding or removing anything.
• No additives or processing aids are used, sometimes not even yeast, and ‘intervention’ in the naturally occurring fermentation process is kept to a minimum.
• Some of the wines are not even filtered, and that means that they might be a bit cloudy, which is not a bad thing anymore.
While natural wine is recently trendy, it is not new: people have been making fermented grape juice without additives for thousands of years.
Some people prefer natural wine because of its rebellious nature, others prefer it for its healthier organic goodness, some believe the taste is superior, and again others value the fact that natural wine doesn’t hurt the planet – in fact, when done right, we can even achieve the opposite: regenerative agriculture.
Markus is passionate not only for the quality of the wine he sells, but also how his store can reduce its footprint and help our planet. This is how he does it:
• Only sells European products as for him it’s not worth traveling 25,000 km on a diesel-powered boat, let alone an airplane.
• For the high-quality accessories in the store, he is doing his best to offer as many second-hand options as possible. It’s a little bit more labour intensive, but well worth the trouble.
• He offsets CO2 for the orders that he ships. Right now, the store is supporting Oxfam Novib with their project to plant trees on the south side of the Sahara Desert in Nigeria, in an effort to stop further desertification and reduce carbon at the same time.
• For packaging, he reuses cardboard boxes as much as possible and sources recyclable materials.
• All the store’s energy usage is powered by 100% Dutch green energy.
What kind of wines can you find when you go to A Sense of Place?
In this beautiful, small and cosy wine shop, you will find a wide range of artisanal Italian, French, German, Slovenian and Spanish wines that you cannot find anywhere else in the Netherlands and at very good prices. Already refrigerated or not, bubbles, white and rosé, red, even the latest trend of orange wine. The orange wine, with its robust and bold taste, is made from white wine grapes where the grape skins are not removed, as in typical white wine production, and stay in contact with the juice for days or even months. Here is some of the special selection that you can also order online, but you can find much more by visiting the store.
Haarlem’s new local wine shop
Your new local wine store is here and is ready to give you the sense of place of beautiful wine lands and passionate winemakers. After you visit it, let us know in the comments which wines you tried and which one is your favourite.
Welcoming wine store selling honest products in a sustainable and no-nonsense way
A Sense of Place
2011 GD Haarlem
Visit A Sense of Place’s website here
& follow the shop on Instagram!