He proposed. She said yes. They made wine.
That was how start-up wine producer Maiden and Liberty introduced itself to the greater Long Island community since Manhasset couple James and Alexandra Medwick set up shop in a modest office on Main Street in Port Washington in February. Medwick, 32, who studied for years to become a lawyer, chose to give up his corporate attorney lifestyle for a less stable, but more tasteful, kind of future: making wine.
“I worked very long hours and did some very interesting work as an attorney,” he said. “But whenever I had downtime, I was passionate about wine.”
Medwick graduated with a master’s degree in philosophy from Columbia University before attending law school at New York University. He quickly found employment in corporate law, working on mergers and acquisitions at the Paul, Weiss law firm.
But it was a family trip to Italy when he was 18 years old that helped pique his interest while visiting some of the country’s finest wineries.
“That was when I got my first taste for it,” he said. “Seeing those beautiful vineyards—I thought this was how I’d love to retire. In the back of my head, the seed was planted.”
Throughout law school and his early professional life, Medwick said he would always play around with the idea of creating a small winery on Long Island. But it was joining forces with wife Alexandra that ultimately helped push him over the edge, thanks to her French roots.
While Medwick was born and raised in Manhasset, attending the community’s schools and playing lacrosse for his local high school, his wife, Alexandra Medwick, instead drew her roots from the south of France. With multiple members of her family already working in agriculture and wine, Medwick said it was his wife’s proximity to the industry that made the dream of changing careers into a reality.
“This is about pursuing a passion and not waiting until I’m retired,” he said. “It has taken, and will take, a lot more to get it to a point where I feel comfortable calling it a huge success, but we’ve done so much. It gives us, as a family-run business, an interesting position to be in.”
Medwick said Maiden and Liberty was the fusion of the best parts of both his and his wife’s tastes, blending wines from New York and France and “marrying the strength and dynamism of the American experience with the finesse of French tradition,” the group said on its website.
“We seek to delight all who drink wine with original and unexpected blends, to spread French wine culture in America, to relentlessly pursue beauty in all we do and to share an unrivaled passion for the finest things in life,” Medwick said, as part of his company’s mission statement. “We believe that wine inspires socializing, friendship and stimulating conversation, and that responsible consumption of wine is part of a fulfilling lifestyle.”
When it comes to the Manhasset community, Medwick said he is always impressed by the support he and his wife get from their neighbors. Since the business’ inception earlier this year, he said he has been flattered to receive rave reviews from some of the community’s most sophisticated palates when it comes to wine.
“People are getting excited about our French-American blends,” he said. “It’s unique and different, and the response that people give when they taste it is incredible.”
The couple has been on the hunt for spots in some of Nassau County’s most frequented hometown storefronts, which Medwick said has been easy because of his long history growing up in the community.
Medwick and Alexandra live in Manhasset with their 2-year-old son, Raphael. Looking ahead, Medwick said he has plans to expand the reach of his business and continue his rigorous search for shelf space to win over the hearts and mouths of North Shore natives.
For more information, reach Maiden and Liberty online at www.maidenandliberty.com or by phone at 516-204-7627.