Alas, the community is losing a beloved Market Street institution. Andy, Randi and Marty Meyrowitz, longtime owners of The Wine Harvest, have announced that they are closing their cozy neighborhood gathering place. “A confluence of events, a lot
of different situations that lined up at the same time” led to the decision, explained Andy Meyrowitz, who started out working as a stock boy in his family’s business at age 18. “Half my life!”
In addition to the financial benefits—reducing the cost of rent, condensing the staff at the Wine Harvest Park Potomac—closing the Kentlands store will “allow me a personal life, to grow as a person and as a member of the community. It also will enable my parents to wind down,” Meyrowitz said. “I’m not angry or disappointed,” he added. “This is all for the good of the mental and physical health of my parents and myself.”
Meyrowitz, who studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and is a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, has accepted a new position in the industry. He will be a manager for Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, a 70-year-old business that belongs to close family friends. “I grew up in their store,” he recalled.
After 12 years of 90-hour work weeks between the two Wine Harvest locations (the Park Potomac store opened in November 2010), Meyrowitz expects to be putting in 30 percent fewer hours. The Park Potomac store, just around the corner from his parents’ Potomac residence, will remain open with much of the Kentlands staff relocated there, and Meyrowitz will continue to act as a buyer and manager.
Original owners Karen Fenner and Lynn Nellius opened the Kentlands Wine Harvest in December 1999; they sold the business to Randi and Marty Meyrowitz in April 2002. “It was an opportunity for my father’s brother-in-law, Stan Cohen, who was our general manager for 15 years,” Meyrowitz said.
The Kentlands kitchen will shut down on June 30, but the store will remain open for a few days during which the community, Meyrowitz said, is welcome to come in and reminisce, purchase wine and beer, and bring in food from outside.
Meanwhile, Meyrowitz has been overwhelmed and gratified by expressions of sadness from regulars who have heard about the closing. As the family’s letter to the community said, the Wine Harvest was “our own little Cheers.”
Still, Meyrowitz insisted, “The business was not about me or my parents. It was about the whole community.”