With multiple natural wine bars popping up in New York City within the last year, venues where "wine takes center stage, and menus are designed to complement the juice, rather than the other way around," Eater contributor Rachel Signer declared this summer that the "Parisian-style wine bar" is on the rise in the U.S.
And when New York transplants Peter and Orenda Hale temporarily close their shop Maine and Loire in January 2016 to build out Drifter's Wife, the rare but increasingly popular European-style watering hole could put Portland in an unfamiliar position near the cutting edge. Maine's food scene may be nationally recognized, but not typically for its trendsetting nature — yet here comes a player that could upend the natural order of things.
As the Hales describe in a recent newsletter, the kind of wine showcased at the store — and, soon, the bar occupying its front section — is "grown organically, hand-harvested, fermented with its natural yeasts, and made with minimal interventions in the cellar." Quality- and eco-conscious consumers are drawn to these traditional methods. Of the impetus for the France- and New York-inspired bar, the former restaurant professionals say, "We're building a place that's at once a destination for people in search of true, beautiful wines and is, at the same time, a convivial hangout with the energy we feel when we drink at our favorite places."
Official closing dates have not yet been announced, but Maine and Loire will offer delivery service via email (email@example.com) during the renovations.