As the holiday season approaches, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself scouring the ends of the internet searching for the perfect gift for the wine-o(s) in your life. I encourage you to check out Shirley Copperman’s latest endeavor. Shirley has generously offered a free item to a Terroirist reader.
Here’s the deal: Post a comment telling us about your favorite wine gift (gifted or received!) OR the wine gift you’re hoping for this year. On Friday night, we’ll select a winner at random. The only catch is that you must live in the United States. Read on for more of Shirley’s story….
Shirley and her husband Steen’s story starts in Manhattan in the 1970s. After losing her job as an English Comp professor at Brooklyn College, Shirley indulged Steen’s desire to work for himself, and the couple opened Oenophilia, a precursor to the bring-your-own-wine restaurants that are so popular in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago. Shirley is equally proud of coining the term “oenophilia” to represent the condition of loving wine, as well as the success Oenophilia enjoyed in mid-late 1970’s Manhattan.
After selling Oenophilia, Shirley and Steen’s next move was to New City, NY, where they rented and maintained actor/producer John Houseman’s (of Citizen Kane fame) mountain estate. Shirley and Steen discovered a plethora of wine-making materials in Mr. Houseman’s kitchen, and their interest in making their own wine was piqued. Using fruit picked from the same mountain harvested by High Tor Vineyards (at one time, one of the most famous wineries of the Hudson Valley and East Coast), the Copperman’s soon found themselves bottling their own wine.
Shirley and Steen left their home-brewing behind and moved to Florida in the 1980s. A chance encounter with a home vintner in Florida harkened them back to their days in New City, and Shirley and Steen soon began purchasing fruit from California and producing their own juice once again. As ingredients and equipment kept getting more sophisticated and costly, they came up with the idea to design and silk screen wine-themed t-shirts, aprons, and tote bags, and sell them online as a fun way of raising some extra cash to pay for their hobby. They channeled inspiration from their Oenophilia Restaurant scrapbook to jumpstart ideas, and began their design collection with their original logo, the robust figure of Bacchus brandishing his wine goblet.
To reiterate the rules of our contest, post a comment about your favorite wine gift or what wine gift you’re hoping for this year — and one winner will be chosen at random to receive a free gift from WayCoolTshirts! This contest EXPIRES at 11:59pm on Friday, 12/10. Finally, don’t forget to support Shirley and Steen by checking out their work!