Brett Ludemann, CSW, (Certified Specialist of Wine) is not new to the liquor business in Utah. He worked for a large wine brokerage in town for ten years before starting Flora/Fauna in January 2017, after being approached by a producer out of California that wanted to sell wine in Utah. Opportunity knocked and Ludemann answered with Flora/Fauna Wines.
“The name Flora/Fauna always seemed like a good restaurant name to me, but I also think it works well in describing wine,” Ludemann said. “In order for wine to be made, it needs a lot of contributing flora and fauna. My interest now is naturally-made wines, with no manipulation in the winery. Fermented grapes, that’s it. Many of the producers are not typical to what people think California wines are all about. It’s fun to introduce people to new and different wines.”
Previously, Ludemann brought in wines from large scale wineries, very different products than he brings in now. Currently, Flora/Fauna focuses on small production wines, with 40 domestic labels on his list, along with a few imported brands. According to Ludemann, there is a trend happening in wine called ‘New California’. These producers use natural techniques and produce wines that are lower in alcohol and higher in natural acidity.
“My experience was helpful when I was reaching out to new wine producer’s,” Ludemann said. “I think they recognized that I had some experience but also understood my passion for these smaller productions and naturally-made wines. I reached out to people I was personally interested in and discussed with them how I thought we could sell some wine in Utah. I am careful about how many producers I take on. I don’t want to take on more than I can handle.”
Four times a year, Ludemann can submit wines to the DABC for consideration. If they choose to buy any of the wines submitted, they are then sold in local wine stores. Ludemann can also sell wines directly to restaurants that are not sold in the wine stores, but he cannot handle the wine himself, which poses a bit of a challenge. Also, the state only has so much warehouse space which makes it difficult to bring new products in.
Wines are sold directly to the state or special ordered from restaurants or consumers.
Restaurants like to special order wines that are not sold in the wine store as it adds a uniqueness to their wine lists, and the state does not purchase a lot of the wines that Ludemann specializes in, so that partnership is very valuable.
You can find Flora/Fauna wines at Current Fish and Oyster, Pago, and Copper Onion.