Brooklyn Oenology was born out of Alie Shaper's love for three powerful forces: wine, art, and the creative energy that emanates from Greenpoint to Red Hook and beyond. An engineer by training and a winemaker by trade, Alie launched the project in 2007 with the goal of making wine in, of, and for Brooklyn—every grape is grown in New York, and every label features a piece by a Brooklyn-based artist. We tracked Alie down at BOE's new tasting room in Williamsburg to see how the endeavor's been going (and to find out what we should all be drinking).

SCOUT: How did you decide to launch your own winery?
ALIE: I moved into Brooklyn seven years ago ... and when I got to here, I'd already been thinking about what sort of venture I might do for myself in the wine scene, and just walking around the neighborhood one day, all of the sudden the idea for BOE just came to me out of thin air!

SCOUT: That seems to be the Brooklyn effect!
ALIE: Yes! It's one of the reasons I love living here. You're surrounded by creativity and entrepreneurship and at the time, the food scene here was really starting to take off and to gain some real ground and interest. And it just occurred to me that there's no reason that wine can't be done inside of an urban center.

SCOUT: And Brooklyn Oenology was the first?
ALIE: Yeah, there were no tasting rooms, no wineries established here at the time, and so my inspiration was kind of Brooklyn Brewery. Brooklyn used to be a hub for breweries, we used to have 48 different ones, and they all disappeared and died away until Brooklyn Brewery came along. The concept of making alcholic beverages in Brooklyn is not a new thing, it just had died away. And since those guys showed up, quite a few other craft brews have come up in the city, and it just made sense to me: if beer can do it, why not wine? I mean, duh! [Laughs]. But the overarching concept of the whole thing was not only to make wine, but to make wine that's a part of the Brooklyn fabric. That day I was taking a walk, I was looking at these warehouses and thinking about the history of Brooklyn as hub of heavy industry; there have always been things being created or made here. But that "heavy industry" moved out ... and in its place there are now all of these new creative endeavors. It's artisinal industry. Anything you can think of— movies, music, anything having to do with creation was going on here, and I was like, I have to be apart of this.

SCOUT: Did you always think of incorporating art directly onto the bottle?
ALIE: It was part of the first idea. I didn't want to be just another wine, so, I came up with the idea to make it an expression about Brooklyn by directly incorporating local art. See, good wine really treats all of the senses except sight, which is always left off a bit by the way side. So, I thought, let's put Brooklyn-made art on the labels—not commissioned, but existing works, straight up what local artists are doing on a day-to-day basis. To me, that made a marriage of this company and this wine with it's community. Here's a bottle that represents where you live - something that gves you joy and pride while you enjoy it. Brooklyn is a place that has a magical air to it, no matter where in the world you mention it's name, people know what's going on here. It's magical, and I wanted to capture that.

SCOUT: How do you find and select your artists?
ALIE: Through a combination of things. It's just natural to bump into them here, which is how I started. I started with two wines, and both artists i found literally selling their artwork on the streets of New York. One of them, Tracy Barbosa -- I met her years before when she was selling her art on the streets in SoHo. I just found here while walking around, and I just really really loved her. So, when it came to find a label artist for my first wine, I remembered her, and thought, "I wonder if she's in Brooklyn, and sure enough, her studio was a few blocks away." How beautiful is that?

SCOUT: Is there a trick to matching a label to the right wine?
ALIE: We find the piece that viscerally works with the wine. Like our 2008 Viognier. The label artist is Deborah Brown, who we have up in the tasting room right now. It's utterly stunning, plus, how cool is it to have the original piece hanging right here as you taste it? Our Viognier has got these beautiful floral and botanical flavors, with lots of white fruit. It's perfect for spring drinking. So Deborah's painting, with this blue green wash and subtle figures goes great with it. And it's got this crazy little piece of barbed wire running through it, as a reminder of that Brooklyn edge. It's pretty, but you know: we're still in New York!