Our headline speaks the truth! Sprudge is first to report that Diversey Wine, the new project from Ordinaire founder Bradford Taylor, is now open at 3023 W. Diversey Avenue in Chicago's Logan Square. It is the sister shop of Ordinaire and the forthcoming Psychic Wines, opening soon in Los Angeles. Diversey opens with a 100+ bottles of natural wine across 700 square feet, with a focus on offering the city of Chicago access to producers previously unavailable in the city.
That's a significant expansion from opening day at Ordinaire. When the landmark Oakland wine bar and bottle shop opened in 2013, it sported just 40 offerings. “I was planning on going similarly minimalist this time around,” Bradford Taylor tells Sprudge, “but I just couldn't make it work. I've just become so attached to so many producers over the past five years.” The new shop—teased by Taylor in our 2017 interview—has no shortage of choice, but to help narrow things down for shoppers, here are five of Bradford Taylor's favorite bottles on opening day, with notes on each.
1) Mendall “Terme de Guiu” Blanc. Salty and exotic. One of Laureano Serres' greatest whites.
2) Vin de Cabanon (Alain Castex) “Fleur au Fusil” (magnum). Rustic Fresh Mags from one of the greats.
3) Les Capriades “Pepin a Bulle” (magnum). Late Disgorged Chenin Pet Nat. So fresh and elegant.
4) Le Coste “Bianchetto”. White blend from one of our favorites. Lifted and Mineral. Lemonade wine.
5) Cantina Giardino Rosato Frizzante. The greatest sparkling rosé.
Diversey is just the latest salvo in the ongoing natural wine boom taking place across Chicago. Long the fulsome terroir of beardy beer bros, the City of Big Shoulders is now happily home to such natural wine destinations as Red & White Wines, Income Tax, Rootstock, Bad Hunter, long-serving industry favorite Webster's Wine Bar, and Parachute, the Avondale restaurant whose beverage director, Matty Colston, presides over one of the best natural wine lists in the country (in the opinion of this writer). Add to that one of America's premiere natural wine festivals, Third Coast Soif, and you've got a city thirsty to rethink its beverage destiny. “I'd say Chicago is the future, but it's already there,” Taylor tells Sprudge.
The shop is in “soft open” mode for now, and will host a proper opening party on May 19th. In these early days Taylor is settling in as the shop's proprietor, soaking in the natural light, reading books behind a modest table that serves as both bar and register, and selling wine to the curious neighborhood. “Ordinaire was originally supposed to be 90% shop and 10% bar, and of course that's reversed now,” he tells us. “So the subdued vibe at Diversey feels like a dream from my past come back to life.” There's even a small collection of kids toys in the corner, there for Taylor's own children but also to serve as an invitation of sorts for the neighborhood. “I love having lots of generations in the shop,” Taylor says.
Normalizing delicious wine in America for the next generation? We are strongly here for it. Starting this summer Diversey will act as the de facto wine list for Cellar Door Provisions, which is located next door at 3025 W. Diversey. They'll soon be joined in the neighborhood by the first cafe from Chicago roaster Four Letter Word. To stay up to date on upcoming events at Diversey, including casual tastings, small events, and weekly producer-focused tastings, join the Diversey Wine mailing list.
Photos by Eric Perez for Sprudge Media Network.
Jordan Michelman is a co-founder of Sprudge. His writing has appeared in T Magazine, The New York Times, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and Willamette Week.