Vanessa Wong, owner of Fishtown Social, a natural wine shop and bar in Philadelphia is expanding to the Jersey Shore.
On Friday, July 1, Wong will open the doors to Wahine Wine Company and Fish & Whistle Market. The two new businesses will be located next door to each other in a newly constructed building at 101 N. Dorset Avenue near the foot of the Dorset Avenue Bridge in Ventnor, NJ.
Wahine Wine Company will be similar to Fishtown Social, with the shelves stocked with natural wines, while also offering craft spirits and beers. Fish & Whistle Market will be a gourmet market focused on bringing regional and Philly-made brands to the shore, including everything from cheese to charcuterie, to freshly prepared foods, to produce and groceries. The market will also partner with a number of local and Philadelphia-based small businesses to host pop-ups and tasting events throughout the year.
“Anybody who knows me knows that I love the beach. The ocean is and has always been my happy place, my respite,” said Wong. “It’s also no secret that operating under the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board makes it incredibly difficult to accomplish what I originally set out to do in Fishtown, which is to make good wine approachable and accessible for everyone. Thus, a location at the Jersey Shore where there is no state-run retail liquor system is a total no-brainer. There is so much more wine available at a significantly lower cost. I just need to find time to taste it all.”
As a business owner and natural wine expert, Wong said she wants her customers to feel good about what they drink at the shore. Her new shop will offer bottles, cans, boxes, and bags of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines that you won’t find anywhere else (besides Fishtown Social, of course). The wines Wong will supply are made with care, minimal intervention, and no additives. Both the shop and the market will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week, closed only on Tuesdays.
As to why she decided to name her store Wahine (‘waa-hee-nee’) Wine Company, Wong said the inspiration came from her two daughters, ages 7 and 9.
“Wahine is often used as a term for a female surfer,” said Wong. “I have two little wahines of my own who love the ocean and have fearlessly taken to surfing. They’re brave, spunky, and beautiful inside and out, and as their mom, I hope to model courage, hard work, sacrifice, and gratitude. Years ago, I chose to pursue what I love, so I dove into the male-dominated wine world without any previous experience. I had no fancy certifications, and naively, no fear. Fast-forward six years and here I am doing it all over again. The first time was for me. This time, it’s for my wahines.”
Fishtown Social Bar & Wine Shop, located at 1525 Frankford Avenue, is open seven days a week. Learn more at http://fishtownsocial.com.