The Wine Hustle Series | Ariel Arce of Niche Niche (and then some)
You know when something just screams YOU and you need to know everything about how it materialized immediately? Well I think I found that “something” and IT. IS. EPIC.
I was recently scrolling through instagram and discovered a genius wine + food concept (not your traditional restaurant) and was instantly curious. Needing to know more, I reached out to who is now our next Wine Hustle Series feature - Ariel Arce.
Ariel, a native New Yorker with an epic cool-factor, loves her bubbly and has some incredibly unique concepts on her resume, including Air’s Champagne Parlor and Tokyo Record Bar to name a few. However, her latest project immediately grabbed my soul (and guess what, I haven’t even been yet). I am thrilled to introduce to you the new (as of March 2019) Niche Niche, a dinner party concept featuring a different wine host each weeknight already holding that ‘tough NYC’ reservation. Just how I was drawn to Niche Niche, Ariel’s energy and motivation is insanely palpable which is shown through her interview. So grab some Cristal and get ready to feel fucking awesome!
How did you get your start in wine and what was your initial inspiration?
My initial inspiration was my family, who would host “Newcomber Club” parties and they were always entertaining and I grew up in a household of wine. My real education for wine began when I was working for Chef Grant Achatz. This is when I fell down a rabbit hole of Champagne and thought I would dedicate my life to working with this one beverage.
I think my dream restaurant is Niche Niche - what is the story behind the name and can you elaborate on the concept (readers, you can thank me later!)?
That’s very flattering. The fact is that Niche Niche is in your home every day if you want it to be. We felt that as wine professionals, this is how we best experienced wines; opening bottles throughout the course of the evening, tasting a bunch of different wines and seeing how they paired with food. We are so willing to order a bunch of plates of food and take one bite off of each in a restaurant, but we’re not often willing to do that with various glasses of wine. The idea behind Niche Niche is that you get to sample 4 different wines every night chosen by a different wine professional who has a different and educated perspective on wine, and we just cook for you.
The story behind the name is three things: it’s poking fun at the idea that wine is too specialized, too “niche” and too pretentious. Plus, Ali G. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=niche-niche
What is your favorite part of your job?
Getting to work with the amazing team that we have every day and creating a community of likeminded professionals who are incredibly supportive and open to spreading the gospel about the education of wine.
What is the best advice anyone’s ever given you? Do you have a “mantra” you stick to?
The best advice I’ve been given is to stop trying to convince people that you can do it, just do it and figure out if you can.
The mantra I stick to is to just be kind. If you approach everything from an empathetic place, a space of kindness, people are more receptive to helping you. It’s not easy but it’s grounding.
At WINEFARER, we love hearing about the unexpected journeys that stem from wine. Can you share your favorite wine journey with us?
My whole life is an unexpected wine journey. Through this business I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel the world through wine, experience completely different cultures, extreme generosity and incredible artisans. I don’t take for granted what I do for a living. A huge part of the spaces I try to create is a way to pay forward the generosity I’ve received.
It seems like you love wine as much as I do, in three words, describe your love affair with wine?
Wine’s fucking fun.
Finally, what advice would you give women entrepreneurial spirits who want to start their “wine hustle” but are hesitant to take the leap?
Stop being so afraid and thinking you need to know everything before you do something. Women hold themselves back and feel like they need to be educated to be confident. Nobody knows everything, we’re all just figuring it out. Take a risk, don’t be afraid to fail, everything is a learning opportunity. Also, don’t do anything for the money; do what you believe in and what you’re proud to do and the money will come.