A podcast that puts the spotlight on people of color in the wine industry. Wine is more that just Red and White.
Sommelier Nadine Brown was born and raised along the shores of Jamaica and Puerto Rico. She came to the states to pursue a degree in social work. After working with children for a number of years she later moved to D.C. After months of trying to find a job in her field she took a job as a hostess at a new French restaurant opening on Capitol Hill. She had no previous restaurant experience and had every intention to return to social work. However, she fell in love with the hospitality industry. She quickly moved up from hostess to manager in a few short years. Nadine first came to wine by reading and found the history of wine fascinating and took her first wine captain course to help her be a better manager.
Today, Nadine is a twenty year veteran of the Washington, D.C. restaurant industry. She spent over 14 years at Charlie Palmer Steak as Wine Director and Sommelier. Nadine and her husband were managing partners of Society Fair, a boutique eatery in Alexandria Virginia, where she worked as General Manager and Sommelier. She is a two-time winner of the D.C. RAMMY’s Wine Program of the year for the region. Her palate won her the title of rising star from Star Chef in the summer of 2006. Nadine is a proud board member of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan D.C. and the nonprofit the Verasion Project. Nadine holds certifications from both the Court of Master Sommelier and WSET. She continues to be a mentor to many young professionals in the business. She is a mother of two rambunctious children, Estelle and Emerson who keep her on her toes daily.
The Veraison Project:
Black Wine Professionals
Founded by Julia Coney, Black Wine Professionals is a resource for wine industry employers and gatekeepers, professionals, and the food and beverage community. Our goal is to lift up the multifaceted Black professionals in the world of wine.
Black Wine Professionals was born out of necessity. For too long, Black Wine Professionals have been overlooked and absent from conversations, tastings, product marketing and much more. That changes now because we’re here and we aren’t going anywhere.
Black Wine Professionals will continue to grow as we expand our site to include event listings, educational resources, job postings, and a discussion forum. We look forward to partnering with companies and organizations committed to furthering our mission.
Julia Coney (Founder) is a Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas-based wine writer, wine educator, speaker, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine, winemakers, and the intersection of race, wine, and language. She holds a WSET Level Two Certification in Wine and Spirits and is currently pursuing her Master Level Champagne Certification with the Wine Scholar Guild and WSET Level Three Certification.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Thrillist, The Tasting Panel, Plate Magazine, Forbes.com, WineEnthusiast.com, The Washington Post, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine Searcher, the Financial Times, Jancisrobinson.com, Glamour, Essence, and numerous print and digital publications. Julia is a 2019 Fellow of the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Julia has spoken at conferences such as wine2wine, Assemblage Symposium, The Culinary Institute of American's Summit for Sommeliers and Beverage Professionals and Batonnage Forum. You can find her on all social media at @juliaconey.
Larissa C. Dubose (Director of Education), is a Certified Sommelier, and market-savvy Sales Manager with over 10 years of experience in the Wine, Spirits & Hospitality Industry. Larissa is currently a Senior On-Premise Manager who manages the sales and distribution goals for Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Larissa is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Level 3 Certified with WSET, and a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators.
Larissa has a thirst for education and will provide insight on seminars, books, and tools for fellow Black Wine Professionals to thrive. Larissa loves the factual aspect of wine and educates in a way that is organic, fun, approachable, inspiring, and authentic. You can find her on all social media at @lotusvinewine and her website thelotusandthevines.com
Shakera Jones (Community Liaison) of Black Girls Dine Too—a lifestyle brand, blog, and social media space—serves as a guide to the wonderful world of high-end food and wine; a need she identified from her own experiences exploring her passion for food, wine, and culture in this space. Shakera hosts bi-weekly virtual “tastings,” exploring grape varietals, production, and regions to broaden the palates of her followers through her welcoming teaching style and warm personality. A tech professional by day and wine student by night, she is currently studying to obtain certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Spanish Wine Scholar program with the Wine Scholar Guild. An aspiring wine journalist she has written pieces for Seven Fifty Daily and is one of the new cast members of SommTV.
Shakera thrives on bringing people together. In her role, Shakera will plan virtual BWP community events and when the world eventually opens up, in person BWP events. You can find her on all social media at @blackgirlsdinetoo
Maryam Ahmed (Chief T-Shirt Designer and Advisor to BWP) is a NY native based in Napa, CA. She has been in the food and beverage industry for over ten years. At the Culinary Institute of America, Maryam develops hands-on and thought-leadership programs for consumers that love food, wine
Philippe Andre of Charles Heidsieck Champagne
As a second-generation sommelier and restauranteur from Chicago, Philippe Andre has been on the cutting edge of wine and cuisine for fifteen years. He developed a passion for hospitality, wine education and Champagne early in his career. Before his U.S. Ambassador role with Charles Heidsieck, Philippe focused on wine auction curation, luxury wine and spirits brand development, and private client management. In addition to his Champagne travels Philippe serves on the board of the United Sommelier Foundation in the support of future Sommeliers.
TJ Douglas of The Urban Grape
As the wine buyer, head sales person, and architect of the Progressive Scale for The Urban Grape, TJ is directly responsible for the store’s successes. He has been profiled by the New York Times, Food & Wine, Imbibe, Real Simple, Health magazine, MarketWatch, Eater National, Boston Magazine, Boston Common, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Boston Business Journal, The Improper Bostonian, and Terroirist, among other regional and national publications. The Beverage Journal named TJ one of ten “Black Drink Innovators to Watch” in 2020. TJ has been featured on shows such as Basic Black (WGBH), The Hub Today (NBC), Dining Playbook (NESN), New England Living (CBS), and Chronicle(WCVB), and is a frequent guest wine educator at corporate meetings and retreats.
Thanks to TJ’s leadership, The Urban Grape was a finalist for Wine Enthusiast's 2020 Wine Star Award for Best Retail Store in the US, and was called “Boston’s Revolutionary Wine Store” in a cover story for Beverage Dynamics. He has taught classes on drinking progressively at, among other places, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, the Boston Center for Adult Education, Boston University, and the Boston Wine Expo. TJ is a seven-time returning Sommelier for the Nantucket Wine Festival and has been featured as the resident wine expert on the New England lifestyle show, “Home, Life, and Design.”
TJ sits on the boards of the Fessenden School and Summer Search Boston and is the founding member of the Boston Black Golf Association.
Thomas T Thomas of Thomas T Thomas Vineyards
Thomas’ entrance into the wine industry was created during a 1999 wine tasting trip to the Burgundy wine region in France. At the time he was a senior financial executive for a large biotechnology company and prior to going on that tasting trip, Thomas never dreamed of owning his own vineyards and making wine. It was that wine tasting trip in 1999 that altered his dreams, and led him to chart a new course in life… a life in the wine industry as a vintner. With the new found enthusiasm driving him forward, in 2001, Thomas was able to purchase a 40-acre parcel of land to begin the process of constructing that new future.
Located in The Anderson Valley, a cool climate wine appellation in south western Mendocino County, Thomas T Thomas Vineyards began with Thomas first developing the property and building a home, and in 2008, planting a 3-acre pinot noir vineyard. Also, in 2008, Thomas built a winery next to the vineyards, with the understanding that one day he would produce and store his own wine there. In 2011 with his first commercial crop, Thomas began selling his grapes to small local wineries that made wines from his grapes. Since Thomas didn’t have a background in the wine industry, he thought it prudent to take the long view, learning about the wine business from the ground up and he also wanted to see how his grapes performed in the hands of experienced wine makers. From 2011 until 2017, Thomas was a grape grower only, when in 2017, Thomas decided to take a small portion of his grape production to forwardly integrate and create his own wine brand; A decision that was always part of his long-range plans. Starting in 2018, Thomas stopped selling his grapes to third party wineries and now he takes 100% of his production for his own brand. Currently, Thomas makes four different pinot noir wines, where three wines are produced from 100% estate fruit and the fourth wine has a mix of non-estate fruit. Starting with the 2020 vintage, Thomas has added a Chardonnay wine offering, which he sources from quality vineyards in Anderson Valley and Thomas has also cleared additional land for a future planting of estate chardonnay.
In his short time in the wine industry, as grower, wines made from Thomas’ grapes have been recognized wining multiple Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at prestigious International Wine Competitions and also receiving multiple 90+pt scores by well known wine magazines. In his short time as a vintner, Thomas’ wines have already received multiple 90+pt scores and have received Platinum, Silver and Bronze medals at recent International Wine Competitions.
Brian Duncan of Down to Earth Wine Concepts
Chicago native Brian Duncan can be best described as a food, wine and hospitality evangelist. He possesses an unquenchable enthusiasm enriched by decades as a restaurateur, winemaker, seminar speaker and wine educator. Duncan has contributed his expertise to several Chicago’s premier dining destinations, including (Co-Founding) BIN 36 Restaurants, BIN Cafe Wine Bar and Market and A Mano Trattoria.
As a winemaker, Brian created the BIN 36 and D&S (Duncan & Sachs) wine brands sold in 30 markets around the United States. Under his guidance, BIN 36 received an “Award of Unique Distinction” from the Wine Enthusiast magazine for its commitment to delivering the most wine-friendly experience to its guests. BIN 36 was also chosen by Wine & Spirits magazine as “The Best Wine-Pairing System” in the nation. Brian's accolades include being featured as one of America's leading wine experts in GQ and Food & Wine magazine, and as a returning featured speaker at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.
Brian was honored as the Gourmet Wine Cellar Wine Director of the Year, and received four consecutive James Beard Award nomination in the national "Outstanding Wine Service" category.
In 2015, Duncan created "Down To Earth Wine Concepts LLC", a multifaceted consulting company encompassing the culmination of his career experience and expertise in Public speaking, hospitality, food and wine training, interactive wine/food seminars and corporate team building exercises.
A must listen for any wine fan
This amazing podcast is exactly what we need to have the under represented voices of POCs in the food and wine industry heard.
Elevating our narrative
I’ve learned so many amazing stories about people of color in the wine industry with this podcast! Highly recommend!
Excellent Wine Podcast!!
This podcast keeps me interested, awake and entertained. Sukari has done a magnificent job of blending both the story of the Juice and the personal story of the person being interviewed. May I please make a suggestion? Please please please eliminate the distracting background music. Because of it, it’s very difficult to hear the speakers. It takes away from the interview.
Wanda Cole’s interview is a great example. Otherwise, job well done!!!