From the earliest civilizations, a hardy tankard of wine has been the standard fixture at table settings of both rich and poor - from Trimalchio's lavish banquets to Bruegel's peasant weddings. Archaeological excavations have unearthed the first evidence of wine production in the Republic of Georgia. Those remains are over 8,500 years old, but the many of the traditions and processes around wine making have remained the same as they passed down from generation to generation.
Serial entrepreneur David Waldman wet his feet in the wine industry when he started Pheasant's Tears, a private wine label in Kakheti, Georgia. After a few years, Georgian wines, including Pheasant's Tears, became internationally recognized with clients and fans including Alan Rickman, chef Ben Ford and Jancis Robinson.
After the success of Pheasant's Tears, Waldman and partner (& wife) Marian Leitner began noodling over a new vision: Archer Roose, an artisan-quality wine at an affordable price point in eco-friendly 3 Liter packaging. Leitner explained, "If you buy a bottle of wine in the U.S. that is under $20, you are paying more for the packaging and the shipping than the wine inside the bottle. When I first heard that, I perked up. I love my wine and I don't want to pay more for the bottle than I do for the wine!"
Together, Leitner and Waldman started testing all the boxed wine on the market, but it didn't take too long. While there are over 100,000 different brands of bottled wines competing for shelf space, there are only 30 brands of 3L boxed wine. The low-cost, low-quality brands like Franzia have stagnated in growth, but premium boxed wine has been growing 20% each year for the last ten years and 75% last year alone.
After months of extensive market research, Waldman and Leitner concluded that there was an intriguing opportunity for high-quality, affordable boxed wine. But, there were other added benefits. Boxed wine produces 80% less landfill and 60% less of a carbon footprint than bottled wine. Not only that, but boxed wine lasts a full 6 weeks after opening as opposed to just 1 week (at the most) for the majority of bottled wines.
In 2014, Leitner and Waldman officially started the company. "We've always had an appreciation for boundary pushers, feather rufflers and unconventional explorers. So Archer Roose is a manifestation of that. We named it after Edith Wharton's Newland Archer and Teddy Roosevelt. It's a contrast of sophistication (the Archer) and exploration (the Roose) that makes our wine perfect for fine dining or adventuring," says Leitner. Following that tradition, they have established fruitful partnerships in the arts including with the American Folk Art Museum, BookCourt, the Women's Project Theater , and Loft Opera. Archer Roose uses its product and resources to enliven these events, but also to promote causes that are near and dear to the company from promoting diverse voices in theatre to shining a light on up-and-coming poets.
Beyond its commitment to corporate responsibility, Leitner and Waldman decided that another main tenant of the company would be "splendory without snobbery." This means that Archer Roose is painstakingly conscious about supplying their customers with excellent wine. With a renowned wine maker on staff, the team has discovered small artisanal wine producers and rented capacity to custom produce their wine. The wine is shipped in bulk to the US and packaged in New York. "Because of our new model, we are providing wine that would normally be $20 a bottle. You can get a box of Archer Roose for $32. So that's 4 bottles for $32. If you were buying our wine in a bottle, it would be $80 or more," emphasized Leitner.
Currently, Archer Roose has 3 varietals: a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Carmenere. The wines are getting rave reviews from sommeliers and enthusiasts. The Reverse Wine Snob describes the Carmenere as "a pleasing and expressive aroma full of spicy plums, red cherry, a touch of green pepper, a little cola and cedar. Taking a sip reveals a really tasty wine with smooth, soft tannins and similar flavors to the nose with a bit more cola," In other words, not your typical boxed wine. But for Archer Roose, this is just the beginning.
All three Archer Roose wines are flying off the shelves in New York City and the founders are rushing to keep up with the overwhelming demand. Fresh off a capital raise, they are using the infusion to expand varietal options, which will soon include a Rosé and a Cotes du Rhone. "We want to make your buying choices easier by curating a portfolio of really incredible wine for you and having a dozen interesting varietals sourced from around the world." By 2020, Archer Roose is on pace to offer 15 varietals and to be making tens of millions in revenue. Leitner admits, "we are definitely ambitious with the current growth, but as we like to say at Archer Roose: keep your eyes on the stars and your wine in a box!"