Joanna Zablocki comes from a family of entrepreneurs. The Williamsburg native’s parents have operated Krystyna’s Laundromat on the Northside for 30 years. Now, she is flexing her own entrepreneurial muscle with the opening of Grapepoint Wines.
Zablocki studied wine for a year, going to tastings, reading “The Wine Bible” and volunteering at a wine shop. Her training even took her to Spain for three weeks.
Armed with her new expertise, she left her job as a project manager and on Monday, February 6th realized her dream of business ownership. She kicked off her venture with a wine tasting, the first of what she hopes will be many. “I want to introduce the community to different wines and educate people,” she said. “Wine tasting is an art form. The grapes all taste different, and there are so many different words to describe wine. It’s just an experience. And I want everyone to have that experience.”
Zablocki handpicked each of the 130 vintages available in her store. She attached a card with a detailed description of the wine’s taste to each bottle. Customers won’t find mainstream products like Yellowtail, Woodbridge, or Sutter Home in her store. Hers is a more global selection from South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Chile, California, Washington, and Argentina. “I want people to be introduced to the different kinds of grapes,” she said. “There is so much more to choose from than a Cabernet Sauvignon.”
The boutique shop serves a core demographic of young urban professionals, and Zablocki keeps the wines affordable, including a table of items for $12 and under. To engage the community, she plans revolving shows at Grapepoint, showcasing local artists such as Eliya Stein and Mike Stramiello.
Zablocki is the shop’s only employee, and currently works six days a week. But she’s satisfied with her choice to follow in her parents’ footsteps and go out on her own. “It’s so rewarding,” she said. “You put so much work into it. It’s like my baby, that’s how I describe it. I’ve put so many hours into it.”
Since it was her dream to open her own place in Greenpoint, Zablocki has been pleased with the response from neighbors and friends. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive and that makes me even more excited,” she said. “I’m really excited to be in the neighborhood and I’m happy that Grapepoint Wines is being well received.”
155 Norman Avenue
Tues-Sat 12-9 p.m., Sun 1-9 p.m.