The Rare Wine Co. was founded in 1989 by Mannie Berk. And within 15 years, we were recognized as one of America’s premier wine merchants, in the dual roles of national importer and retailer.
Our first major award came in 2002, when we were voted the Best Wine Importer in America, as part of Food & Wine magazine’s American Wine Awards. Then Mannie was named a Wine Personality of the Year in 2002 and 2004 by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, followed by a pair of James Beard Award nominations in 2008 and 2009.
In our role as a major national importer, The Rare Wine Co. represents nearly three dozen of Europe’s most revered producers, including such iconic names as Giacomo Conterno, Pingus, Bartolo Mascarello, Alvaro Palacios, Jacques Selosse and Domaine Huet. Our goal is not to concentrate on a single country or region but to have a portfolio that represents “the best of the best,” with a strong emphasis on classic winemaking.
We also have what is arguably the greatest library of old and rare wines of any wine merchant in America. Our library allows us to provide both private and restaurant clients perfectly aged wines, dating back to the 19th century, for their cellars and for special occasions, and to do so at reasonable prices.
Finally, over the past quarter century, we have been fierce advocates for wines and regions we believed were neglected in the world spotlight. Thanks in part to our work, wines ranging from Chablis and Cote Rotie to old Champagne and traditional Rioja enjoy far more prestige today than they did when we founded our company.
We have even helped restore to prominence wines threatened with virtual extinction. Today, both Madeira and traditionally made Barolo are thriving in part because of The Rare Wine Co.’s passionate advocacy. And, through our pioneering work with estate-grown Tuscan olive oil, we’ve established new standards for the selection and care of extra virgin olive oil, regardless of its origin.
We keep in touch with our clients through our newsletter (first published in 1992) that has long been considered the finest of its kind in America. And our wine dinners are world famous, as they typically feature a jaw-dropping range of wines and vintages. We approach each event as a unique opportunity to tell the story of a great producer or a great vintage, and the choice and range of wines reflect it.
We represent more than thirty iconic producers exclusively for either California or the U.S. But we also vigorously champion several dozen others whose wines and philosophy we deeply admire. And we support our belief in them with an unparalleled library of wines dating back decades.
When Blake Murdock joined The Rare Wine Co. in 1999, the company's primary focus was on sales to private collectors. Over the next decade, as National Wholesale Director, he built RWC into one of America’s most respected import suppliers, with national or California distribution of such iconic producers as Alvaro Palacios, Jacques Selosse, Dominio de Pingus, Giacomo Conterno, Giuseppe Mascarello and Domaine Huet. Prior to joining RWC, he worked for the first desktop-published wine magazine, the International Wine Review, and learned the wine business at Michael Skurnik Wines, the highly respected New York wholesaler/importer.
After an earlier career in government in Chicago and Boston, and a few years writing and teaching about wine, Mannie Berk couldn’t resist the call of a vast quantity of old Madeira he found in London in 1987. Two years later he founded The Rare Wine Co. Since that time, he has made RWC America’s finest non-auction source for older wines, including Madeira, of which he is considered the country’s leading authority.
In 2011, he edited and co-authored the second edition of Noel Cossart’s Madeira, The Island Vineyard, which the International Cookbook Awards named the best book on European wines published in the United States that year. In 2002, he was named Food & Wine’s Best Wine Importer, and he is a two-time James Beard Award semi-finalist and two-time Wine Advocate Wine Personality of the Year.
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