International Wines & Craft Beer, a family-owned wholesale beverage distributor located in Birmingham, Alabama, has had the pleasure of serving Alabama for more than 40 years. Throughout these years, we have worked with, and introduced to the public, some of the finest winemakers and wines of the day. These years of tasting, evaluating and launching so many exceptional wines always prompted the question, “What would we be looking for if we were to make our own wine?” A few years ago, several of us decided it was time to find out. In the spring of 2004, we went directly to some of the great sources we have discovered over the years and set out to produce a wine to our standards. Our hope was to create serious wines that captured the qualities we respect from so many of our favorite producers – all at a price that over-delivers quality for the money. WLS is about amazing values in wine.
How did we get started? We found another partner close to home. David Lawrence, originally from Birmingham, was working in California for almost 20 years. He and his wife, Judy, owned Orbis Winery. With David’s help, and over the course of a year, we tasted samples from wineries located throughout Napa and Sonoma.
The Wine Liberation Society was founded in 2005 by a veteran team of Birmingham wine enthusiasts and working stiffs. It is a custom crush negociant* project. We source fruit for our wines through our long-term relationships with winemakers including Jeff Libarle in Healdsburg, Harry Parducci in Santa Rosa, and Laurent Montalieu in the Willamette Valley. By going direct to the negociant market in California, we utilize the same sources that the vast majority of wineries buy from everyday. This eliminates one of the tiers in the distribution process, thus providing exceptional quality and value for you, the customer.
*A negociant is the French term for a wine merchant who assembles the production of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own label or name.