Bret Birnbaum Wine Cellar Sorbets
by Marc Toneatto
Feb 09, 2010 | 21661 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Looking for ice cream with a little kick? Then Bret Birnbaum of Wine Cellar Sorbets has the perfect remedy. His Brooklyn based wine/sorbet hybrid has been taking NYC by storm, selling more than 8,000 pints a month, even in the dead of winter.

Birnbaum, a Queens native, launched Wine Cellar Sorbets in 2000 with partner Dave Zablocki, who’s no longer with the company. Wine Cellar Sorbets came to life after Birnbaum and Zablocki had an idea to open a wine bar in Brooklyn, but when Birnbaum got word of Zablocki’s new wine sorbet concoction, the plan changed to something much bigger than just a wine bar.

“It wasn’t what I was looking for at first, but I just liked the idea so much,” said Birnbaum, 38, who grew up in Flushing. “I always wanted to start my own business.”

The chief ingredient in Birnbaums wine sorbet blend is of course the wine, which he purchases from private vineyards. But no worries kids, you don't have to be 21 to buy it. Thanks to Birnbaums top-secret “de-alcoholizing” method, the alcohol content in Wine Cellar Sorbets is reduced to a mere .5%, sparing the frozen wine delight from sales restrictions.

“Our method is something we don’t share,” said Birnbaum, who works in his Greenpoint, factory with just two other people.

According to Birnbaum, it’s not easy running a sorbet factory, especially one that specializes in such a unique product. Birnbaum works at least ten hours a day, at least 6 days a week in order to meet customer demands. His biggest account in NYC is Whole Foods supermarkets, but his sorbets are also available at local shops and restaurants all over the city, including Durso’s in his hometown of Flushing.

“Working in local events and charities is a great way to promote our product,” said Birnbaum, who intends to keep his company growing. “I wanted to focus on something that one day could have the potential to be international.”

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