Wine Traditions Ltd. was created in 1996, the collaborative project of Edward Addiss and Barbara Selig. The philosophy of Wine Traditions is to discover independent winemakers whose passion for their vineyard and mastery of their winemaking craft combine to create a product that is a beautiful expression of the land from which it comes. They believe their portfolio demonstrates that wonderful wines can be found beyond well known appellations and need not be over priced. For them, wine is meant to be enjoyed with dinner, everyday and at prices that make it an appropriate component of the meal.
Ed majored in composition at Berklee College of Music and started working part time in wine shops to support his late night composing. Barbara studied Italian and Art History at Georgetown University. They met in New York soon after graduating and have been together ever since.
Ed continued in the wine business working for several importer/distributors in New York. Eventually Ed and Barbara had the idea to market New York wines locally; they wanted to promote the wines made where they lived. They traveled to wineries throughout Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes, meeting and talking with producers, but it proved too difficult to get enough wineries to participate. Ed instead went to work for the San Francisco Wine Exchange, a pioneer in the marketing of independent wineries during the early days of the California local food and wine movement.
Ten years later Ed and Barbara were still eager to embark on their own project. Ed found the inspiration for Wine Traditions in an unlikely spot. On a sales call in a package store in the East Village, Ed agreed to buy a collection of “unsellable” old Crus Bourgeois Bordeaux from the owner. The wines were absolutely delicious; they were what Ed had first loved in wine. He began researching independent growers in Bordeaux which led to an exploration of the whole of Southwest France and the beginnings of Wine Traditions.
Ed takes a studied approach to developing his portfolio, marked by intensive research into geology, geography as well as the philosophy and approach of producers. The process is too laborious to allow them to cover more than a small area at a time. He and Barbara make multiple visits to an appellation in order to develop an appreciation for its potentialities before they make selections that they feel are representative of the area’s best qualities.
Ed and Barbara continue their passionate interest in supporting local food products and encouraging growth in local wine production. Ed serves on the Board of the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association which promotes the interests of domestic wineries. They see a working correlation between importing traditional wines from little known wine regions of France and engendering a vested culture of local food appreciation here in the US. By importing these wines they are preserving the culture of local wine making in France by enabling it to remain a viable economy, and, in a sense, they are importing that culture, the idea that making wine locally is culturally valuable and economically valid.
Wine Traditions currently works with 60 independently owned wineries. The wines feature indigenous varietals and are traditionally made, all following sustainable agriculture, many are organic and several follow biodynamic principles as well.