Renowned Importer Visits Midwest 

Vintegrity was proud to add North Berkeley Imports to their portfolio last November and extra proud to recently host a tasting event at Tannin Wine Bar with North Berkeley owner Billy Weiss.

North Berkeley imports is known for representing an enviable selection of French and Italian producers and offering such wines as Grower Champagnes (which generally has extremely limited availability in the United States), as well as fine Italian wines from leading regions like Barolo – and not so known regions such as Mt. Etna, a quickly rising star in the wine world.

According to Billy, the emphasis his company places on relationships has been essential in procuring many of the European wines that are unique and hard to find in the United States. Deep connections with the winemakers and growers along with a knowledge of which vineyards continue to have excellent vintages year after year has been a key to North Berkeley’s success.

Vintegrity Interviews Billy Weiss

Vintegrity was recently able to sit down with Billy to ask a few questions about himself and his import business. First on the list of questions was what makes a great bottle of wine? “Good people make good wine,” Weiss replied. “We try to ally ourselves with winemakers and growers who are also good people…. there’s something about this quality that somehow transmits into the final products.” He also relayed that North Berkeley’s focus on consistency and balance – and less on price points ­– helps ensure quality.

Consistency matters beyond the wine, Weiss explained. Through good times and bad, North Berkeley supports and values the artisanal farmers. “Every year we show up to buy and support the hard-working people that make these great wines possible,” Weiss said.

When asked him how he finds new wines when in Europe, Billy replied, “Our wine selections from all over the world are attributed to many factors, but word of mouth is very important. Newer wineries receive their reputation from through the recommendations of winemakers at the older wineries. It’s very word of mouth within the community!”

North Berkeley Wins Importer of Year 2019 & 2020

When asked about North Berkeley Imports receiving Wine & Spirits “Importer of the Year” in both 2019 and 2020, Weiss attributed this accomplishment to the ongoing almost organic factor of promoting the growers they represent. He also noted that North Berkeley had never sought public acknowledgment. In fact, the awards came about after many of their wines received an above 90 score – which in turn piqued interest in North Berkeley.

Vintegrity offers a special thanks to Billy Wiess for our recent time together – and, of course, the great wines! Vintegrity looks forward to a continued great partnership with North Berkeley, a company that shares similar values – and a similar love of fine wine!