“Just a few decades ago there was a revolution in the food world, in which people became more aware of where their food was coming from, who was producing it, and how it was being made,” says Matt Colvin, co-owner of Lawrence Park in Hudson. “At the time, it seemingly did not transfer to wine. People were eating organic vegetables and free-range meats while guzzling wine made in a factory and flavored with sawdust.”
Irony aside, this is the emerging market that Colvin and his wife, Margie, wanted to tap into. The couple had wanted to open a bar ever since they started in the New York City service industry 15 years ago. They decided to capitalize on the rising popularity of natural wine and open a place that served bottles from small, independent producers with a strong sense of place. After a fateful weekend trip to Hudson a couple of years ago, the Colvins knew the little city was the perfect fit, and Lawrence Park opened its doors in September 2019.
What is “natural”?
Because it’s not a regulated method of production, “natural wine” can refer to a broad spectrum of beverages. However, Lawrence Park has a strict set of guidelines as to what they classify as “natural”:
• The grapes have to be farmed organically, without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. When possible, they also seek out producers who practice biodynamic farming techniques.
• Rather than using lab-produced yeast to ferment wine, all of the wines that they work with are made with indigenous yeasts that live on the fruit itself and in the air surrounding the vineyards.
• Wines that are farmer-made are also very important to them, as they hold a greater connection to the land and quality of product.
Colvin admits that people can be intimidated by a menu filled with wines from producers they’ve never heard of and made from grapes that they don’t recognize. Lawrence Park is tackling that with an “aggressive” by-the-glass program (anywhere from $8-$20), and allowing people to taste wines until they find one that feels right for them.
“Margie and I want people to feel welcomed and comfortable here no matter who they are,” shares Colvin. “We want newcomers and beverage geeks alike to be blown away by their experience.”
While the Colvins had originally planned to offer just cheeseboards for hungry customers, their friend Anthony Feretti expressed interest in helping to develop the menu into an elevated selection of small plates like bone marrow, miso-onion grilled cheese, and the Park Pretzel, served with gochujang cheese spread and stone-ground mustard.
As for hopping on a trend, Colvin isn’t too worried about natural wine falling out of favor. “People have yet to turn their backs on organic food, right?”
Open Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Sun, 3 p.m.–12 a.m.; Fri–Sat, 3 p.m.–2 a.m.
260 Warren St, Hudson