We present the wines of small vineyards in this competitive worldwide market, in order to defend an endangered species — winemakers who work like artisans, crafting a different wine each year. They do not impose a preconceived taste on their wines, but look to be surprised by what nature gives them — natural wines.
Natural wines are low-tech or no-tech. These are handmade wines in the truest sense from a group of passionate winemakers that go one step further than organic and biodynamic producers by using organic methods in the cellar as well as in the vineyard — meaning no laboratory yeasts, enzymes, sugar, artificial concentrators, acidification, or sulfites are added during fermentation, and the wines are aged and bottled without stabilizers, or excessive filtering or sulfites.
Equally important, these grower-producers take special care to reduce yields, handpick the grapes, avoid pumps or other rough treatment of their harvest, and plow the earth between the vines, which forces the roots to dive down deep in a thirsty search for terroir.
Natural wines, pure wines, real wines, wines from the terroir, complex wines, wines for thirst!
This philosophy of winemaking differentiates these wines from the all too common taste of technology-driven wines, and offers us what wines should — mystery, romance, and adventure!
We created Jenny & François Selections in 2000. We distribute our wines in New York ourselves, through USA Wine Imports. We also work with fabulous distributors in other states across the USA. We feel close in philosophy and goals to movements such as Fair Trade and Slow Foods, as well as environmental movements. Our hope is that Jenny & François Selections helps passionate winemakers, who respect the environment and high standards of quality, to continue what they do by bringing their wines to the United States. We love to educate about natural wines, and share our excitement for these wines with passionate wine professionals and individuals across the US.
Jenny & François Team:
Jenny Lefcourt, a native New Yorker, originally landed in Paris to study French film during her PhD at Harvard. After many visits to Paris wine bars and vineyards throughout France, all paths led to wine instead of academia. Jenny runs the company out of our Soho office in NYC. She lives on the Upper West Side with the talented photographer James Robinson and their daughter, Zoe, born Feb. 2012.
Photo credit: @jamesrobinsonpictures.com
Check out 750’s Profile of Jenny Lefcourt and her Natural Wine Legacy.
Scott Pactor opened Appellation Wine & Spirits in Chelsea, one of the nation’s first stores to focus on organic, biodynamic and natural wines in 2005. The store was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Jenny and Francois’ portfolio. Appellation closed in 2016, but Scott has remained an avid imbiber and proponent of natural wines and is thrilled to join the team in an operations role. Scott lives in northern Manhattan with his wife and two kids and enjoys bike riding with them to the tip of the island during his free time.
Stefan Cavin grew up in Idaho, where he finished his BA in History. He worked for an Idaho winemaker who used his PhD in entomology to travel the world teaching farmers how to grow biodynamically and sustainably. Stefan got hooked on the idea that wine should resemble the place it comes from. One night after drinking lots of good wine, Stefan bought a one-way ticket to New York, and after peppering Jenny with many emails, landed at a desk as Operations Manager at Jenny & Francois Selections.
Nick Gorevic had his first taste of Natural Wine (Marcel Lapierre’s Morgon) in 2008, and hasn’t looked back since. Shortly there after he made a pilgrimage to France with his wife, who was getting her masters in French, where they lived for a year. He worked the harvest at Chateau Cambon (Domaine Lapierre’s second label), and spent the time attending every Natural Wine Tasting he could, and visiting every Winemaker he could find. When he returned in the fall of 2010 he sought out Jenny with a desire to bring what he learned to the New York City wine scene. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter Lila, born in February 2012 and he consults on the wine list at June, a natural wine bar in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Nick is also responsible for the design of this website.
After many years in the restaurant industry in both NY and Phoenix, as well as exploring her love of wine outside of work, Lauren Kennedy moved back to her home in New York and began her wine career at Shinn Estate Vineyards, a small biodynamic vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. As Shinn’s tasting room manager, she learned about viticulture and winemaking and in the process developed a love for natural wine. In 2011 she moved to Brooklyn and began working for Jenny & Francois Selections where she is inspired to continue working with handcrafted, honest wines that she feels good about sharing. In her free time she enjoys writing, photography, and traveling and hopes to eventually integrate her love of travel with her passion for good wine.
Phil Sareil began his career in wine in 1987 working in Kermit Lynch’s now famous Berkeley wine shop. In 1988, he tasted Marcel Lapierre’s wine at his uncle’s house in France, and after he showed the wine to Kermit, he began importing the wine in 1989. He worked the harvest at Domaine Lapierre in 1997, and after that moved to New York to work in wholesale wine distribution. During that time he worked for Winebow, Polaner Selections, and finally at Kermit Lynch as a regional sales manager. After 25 years in the trade, Phil is as passionate as ever about wine and Jenny & François Selections is a perfect fit to continue his passion.
Daniel Sutton began working at a wine shop while studying for his degree in Economics at Michigan State University. During that time, he also worked in various fine dining establishments and enjoyed many nights of cooking meals, playing music, and drinking wine with friends. It was then that his love of good wine and food evolved into a profession. In 2007, Daniel moved to New York, where he managed and purchased for one of New York’s oldest wine shops, and then worked as a sales representative in New York City. Daniel joined Jenny & Francois Selections in 2014 and is excited to manage national sales. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the accordion, mushroom hunting, long distance running, and watching Mich St. Basketball.
Linus Kessler is a local product of Brooklyn. He is a proud father of seven year old Penelope. Linus has been in the wine world for 19 years, and started in wholesale when he was 22. While gaining a classic education in wine, he was passionate about natural wine from the start with a trip to the Dive Bouteille, the Loire Valley’s famous natural wine fair, in his first year. Linus joined the J&F team in 2017.
With a degree in Environmental Studies and several years working as a chef under her belt, Leah Rinaldi feels right at home amongst the wines at Jenny & Francois. After a visit to Alsace to spend time with Christian Binner and his wines, Leah decided to leave a career in corporate events to follow her passion for natural wine. She immersed herself in the natural wine culture of Australia during a three month sabbatical, before returning to Brooklyn to work for Jenny & Francois. When not drinking natural wine, Leah can be found rock climbing and telling dad jokes.