Our History

Rosenthal Wine Merchant is composed of a close-knit group of people who understand that wine is an agricultural product and that in its best and purest form wine must reflect a specific sense of place.

We share the goal of communicating this concept to a growing audience by presenting the finest examples of wine made in the classical European tradition.

Rosenthal Wine Merchant started in 1977 as a humble, one-man retail operation located in New York City but very much outside the mainstream of the wine business. Neal Rosenthal, having stepped away from his corporate and international law practice, was joined shortly thereafter by his partner Kerry Madigan, and the two expanded their fledgling company from its retail base to become an importer and distributor of fine wines and specialty food products.

The objective from the outset was to work as directly as possible with growers who were dedicated to producing limited quantities of the finest quality wines and who shared the RWM passion for terroir—that ephemeral “sense of place.” Since our initial forays into California, France, and Italy in 1979-1980, the RWM portfolio has grown to include over 150 different suppliers. These growers hail from almost every viticultural area of France and Italy, as well as the mountainous Valais and Vaud districts of Switzerland, Spanish Catalonia, and four of Austria’s major winegrowing regions.

The wines are selected for concentration, purity of flavor, and clarity of expression. All products brought to the marketplace by RWM are produced in as natural a manner as possible; we believe strongly in organic and biodynamic farming, as well as overall sustainability.

Our selections display a striking balance between finesse and power which results in exceedingly age-worthy wines.

Rosenthal staff group shot

Through the efforts of our small and passionate team, the RWM portfolio is now distributed in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Our consistent growth, both in number of suppliers and clients, has never led us to stray from presenting the finest quality products which speak clearly of their place of origin. As we have grown, we have preferred to change the commercial balance at our growers, encouraging them to shepherd more wine into bottle rather than into the hands of negociants. We continue to seek out additional small sources of supply rather than work with cooperatives, negociants, or large commercial producers.

Each grower is visited at least twice yearly to follow the evolution of the wines and to track the development of each estate. The entire sales staff also visits each grower so that the nuances of each wine can be successfully communicated to our markets. We note with pride that our list of growers has remained rather constant over the years—a testament to the richness of our relationships with our suppliers. Together, we have weathered the occasional difficult vintage because of these extraordinary partnerships and the commitment of our growers to provide RWM with wines of character and class every vintage. Rosenthal Wine Merchant is proud of the fact that our selection is distinctive and expresses a consistent style, and we have never purchased wine to simply fill a slot or a missing appellation.

Meet our team