In Brooklyn Her Champagne Wishes Came True

Gratefully, though not surprisingly, “The Law of Cause & Effect” works both ways! Follow your dreams, listen, explore, be more than fair and the universe has a way of also doing the right things to support & assist you. It is the story of every successful entrepreneur or person with an idea to add to the general well-being and quality of other people’s lives. Oh, and if you happen to need some really delicious champagne for a special event???

In Brooklyn, Her Champagne Wishes Came True



Laurie Foti

Marvina Robinson fell in love with champagne as a “broke college student,” when she and her friends would scrape together enough money to buy a bottle or two, for no particular reason, except to enjoy.

From then, she had a goal: to create her own label, along with a place to sample it.

In February 2020, after more than two decades spent working on Wall Street, Ms. Robinson, now 45, debuted B. Stuyvesant Champagne, named after the Brooklyn neighborhood where she grew up.

On June 30, she opened a 2,000-square-foot tasting space and headquarters at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where she has begun to host regular “sip and chats” featuring her bubbly, and hopes to soon host other events, including intimate weddings.

Ms. Robinson built her business from the ground up. Not only did she do all the footwork herself, she also came up with all the funding. “I don’t have any investors, no venture capital money, this is all me,” she said. Her product is produced in Epernay, France, part of the country’s Champagne region, and imported to the United States. The brand now offers several varieties of Champagne, including reserve, grand reserve and rosé.

As one of the few Black women to own a Champagne label, she has been met with incredulity from some peers. “When I go to shows, I get the, ‘Is this really Champagne?’” she said, adding, “I’ve just learned to block it out.”

The entrepreneur, as she tells it, has had little time for entertaining skeptics. While completing her headquarters this year, Ms. Robinson debuted a line of glassware, the Anivram Dining Collection. She is partnering with the chocolatier Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, in Lower Manhattan, to make truffles infused with various B. Stuyvesant Champagnes. And she has plans to introduce a branded vending machine stocked with her product.

“This hasn’t been an easy route for me,” she said. “But if you build it, they will come. You just have to be consistent with your business practices and your goals, and it’ll pan out at some point in time.”

I didn’t have anybody to turn to when I was working on this. I’m a woman. I’m Black. To be honest, I didn’t trust a lot of people because I was turned away by so many. I got so many negative comments like, “This is not your field. This is not your arena. This is not what you’re good at.” I just said, “OK, I just have to figure this out on my own.” And that’s really what I did.

I was dismissed from three or four vineyards. I was OK with that; I looked at it as, this is not the right one for me. Then I met one vineyard owner and I actually liked her because she would answer all of my questions. She was open-minded to the things that I wanted to do and that’s what I liked about her.

There are people that judge you just based on what you look like. So, you have to prove yourself. I will always be tested because I’m not the norm. Even when retailers reach out, the first thing they say is, “Why should we buy B. Stuyvesant?” I say, “You have the option to purchase what you like.” I don’t lead my brand with “I’m a woman” or “I’m Black.” I lead with the quality of the product.

I designed it myself: The walls are navy blue because that’s the color of the label for our grand reserve, our signature cuvée, which was the first cuvée that I moved forward with. We laid new floors. We are at the Navy Yard, in an old building. This place was very interesting looking: gray walls, not pretty. We put time and money into the space.

When people come to an event, we want it to be an experience. No two events are the same. I guide everybody through the tastings. I talk about my adventures in France, I even suggest other champagnes. There are so many beautiful champagnes out there.

If you drink out of the wrong glass, you don’t get the full experience. If you drink out of a coupe, you lose your bubbles. The bubbles actually have aroma and actually enhance the taste. You need to use a tulip glass or a standard white wine glass because it opens up but it’s not too wide. It allows the champagne to breathe, but it’s not too open where your cuvée will get warm fast or go flat fast.

I go through this all the time. Even building this new space, I was nervous. I was scared because it’s so expensive to build out a beautiful space. Sometimes when business is slow, I get a little nervous, “Oh my gosh, it’s slowing down.” Every business has a cycle.

I go through those emotions. But then I look at people celebrating with the champagne, and I get excited. We had three weddings request our champagne just these past two weeks.

People ask us to make boxes for their guests or for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen. Last year, we had a New Year’s Eve wedding where they did a toast of the Champagne and they wanted some of the larger bottles. At another wedding, each guest is receiving a bottle of Champagne in a wooden box with a custom stamp.

People think champagne is celebratory. You’re popping this bottle, you see the bubbles, the fizz, you’re doing a cheer. So, it goes hand in hand.

Though for me, it could be opened anytime. It’s a go-to drink.

We’re toasting to B. Stuyvesant fully expanding throughout the entire United States and the world. We’re just enjoying that. It took us years to get to this point. And we’re sipping out of Anivram Dining Collection glasses. In 10 years, we’re also going to be toasting to the N.B.A. choosing B. Stuyvesant for celebrating the championship game win. That’s what we’re going to be toasting to.

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

In Brooklyn, Her Champagne Wishes Came True

In Brooklyn, Her Champagne Wishes Came True

So! We now know that “Crypto” is here to stay! How do we know this? We do because we’ve just had the first case of “Insider Trading” filed in that space! Yes, it has taken this long for some genius to figure out their foolproof way to pull it off. “Heck” they thought. “Its a brave new world and it will take regulators years to figure out “which way is up! We’ll have a blast until then!


Well, “years” came a bit quicker for the trio involved here…a cautionary tale. Ie: Doesn’t matter what or when or where! What goes around comes around!


But who is in charge of that? What or who is watching and pointing it out to the regulators? What is their email address and phone number?


Sorry, unlisted! Its a force you can’t feel or touch but is real and tangible just the same. Its called “The Law of Cause & Effect” and it just struck a blow for the honest and good folks, yet once again! Wise up! It’s not a he or a she. Its a “Principle” and it is always watching and always responding in perfect measure.

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward


For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.