‘Fresh’ wine pop-up to feature natural wines and tasty snacks

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

It was a sad day when Brandon Brock closed The Longshot in Sandpoint.

“We loved the wines we poured, and thought it was important for our community to have access to unique offerings such as natural wine,” Brock told the Reader. “We also loved building a relationship with the folks who loved what we did and for the people we were lucky enough to partner with and call friends.”

To dip a toe back into that world, Brock and his partner Jacey Lawson will host a natural wine pop-up event called “Fresh” from 7-11 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17 at Bluebird Bakery (329 N. First Ave., in Sandpoint). The event is not ticketed and guests are asked to show up if they’d like to sample natural wines and tasty snacks.

For the event, Brock will again draw on the expertise of Ryan McReynolds — a former wine partner with The Longshot who Brock calls a friend and “wine sensei.”

“They collect and distribute this beautiful wine. We’re extremely happy to be working with them again,” he said.

A bunch of Idaho-grown grapes. Photo courtesy Idaho Wine Commission.

While traveling through southern France and northern Spain by car with Lawson this past summer, Brock said they spent a lot of time seeking out natural wine bars and shops from one town to the next.

“As we were sitting in a bar in Toulouse … we were overwhelmed with inspiration by the service we were having,” Brock said. “Everything was very casual and fresh, but so well done. We began brainstorming this pop-up concept right there on those barstools in Toulouse.”

Brock said the concept of “Fresh” is a wine and food program that aligns with an ethos of fun, care, sustainability and intention.

“Each event will be approachable, never asking for a large ticket fee,” he said. “We will partner with local businesses that share these same values, and we’re incredibly honored and thrilled to be partnering with Jill [Severson] and Bluebird Bakery as the host for this first pop-up. Jill embodies all of the elements that we love in a small business owner: a deep care for the customer through providing a warm environment with a focus on quality and artistry.”

“Fresh” will offer natural wine in the same style Brock used to buy and sell at The Longshot. 

“Natural wine is made with minimal intervention, both in the vineyard and the cellar,” Brock said. “It emphasizes organic or biodynamic farming practices, avoiding synthetic additives and pesticides.”

The goal of natural wine, according to Brock, is to showcase the true expression of the grapes and the terroir — or natural environment in which a wine is produced — resulting in unique and often more nuanced flavors.

Brock and Lawson will serve flights of natural wine, including a Petillant Natural from Germany, followed by a 100% Chardonnay from Les Lunes out of Northern California. The final wine of the flight will be a chilled light red blend from New Zealand wine producer Kindeli. Flights will cost $8 per person.

Along with flights, they will offer unique wines for $12 per glass and will also have a small allotment of wines by the bottle for $45 each.

Snacks will include a complimentary charcuterie experience designed by Lawson with quality local products intended to compliment the wines served.

“We’re thrilled to bring ‘Fresh’ to Sandpoint and make it a monthly tradition,” Brock said.

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