Meet Our Team
Nita Bardolia - General Manager
Nita comes to the wine world with an unparalleled passion and enthusiasm that’s infectious. She began her career in advertising spending 12 years as an account executive in New York and San Francisco. But her passion to cook led her to start providing private chef services part time in the Bay Area which eventually became a successful full-time endeavor.
Moving back to her native NJ roots (she is a graduate of Rutgers University) Nita continued to do private chef consulting in New Jersey…which naturally led her to make the food and wine connection. “I started to rethink what was possible in pairing food and wine. Not only was I thinking about what wine I wanted to drink with a particular dish, but I started to think about what to cook with the wine I loved.”
At the suggestion of a family friend, Nita came into 56 Degree Wine in 2006 to purchase some wines and she nearly never left! “I came by to buy a case of wine and I was so in love with the choices that I knew that I wanted to be a part of this.”
Nita worked at 56 Degree Wine part time from 2006 until 2014 when she moved on to wholesale wine sales for two different companies. Returning to 56 Degree Wine in January of 2016, she now handles sales, events, buying, and general management for the store. Nita is a wine lover first and foremost with a particular penchant for Loire Valley Chenin and high altitude Nebbiolo among her favorites.
Joe Bembry - Owner/President
“Like many people, there was a time in my life when I drank wine just to party and catch a buzz,” admits Joe. “But, eventually, after drinking some great examples of complex wines, a light bulb went off. I realized wine was something to be studied and learned as much as enjoyed.”
So, Joe sold the surf shop he owned at the Jersey Shore and never looked back. He graduated with honors and an Advanced Certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust and worked in a Hunterdon County wine store before joining 56 Degree Wine when it opened its doors in 2004.
He served as the store’s Wine Director for the next eight years before venturing into the import and wholesale side of the business, selling wine for Grand Cru Selections, BNP Distribution (Joann Bordeaux) and Juan Prieto Wines to retailers and restaurants in New Jersey and New York. His time spent on the wholesale side deepened his relationships with winemakers around the globe. Traveling the wine world many times, Joe is passionate about wine in all of its forms. Joe returned to 56 Degree Wine in 2014 and has now become the outright owner of the store as of January, 2021. Joe helps clients find wines to suit their individual palates and finds great values from vintners all over the world.
“We don’t rely on scores or reviews. We just select wines that are delicious, coming from well-tended vineyards with great soil, that's often produced by people who hand- harvest grapes to ensure their quality. Many times, these are small family-owned vineyards consumers don’t know about and represent great quality across many price points.”
“I’ll be honest,” remarks Joe. “Over the course of a year, we taste a lot of mediocre wine, so you don’t have to! Only the best of the best finds its way onto our racks.”