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Icy Liu - Works for Becky Wasserman & Co.Founder of Asian Wine Professionals & Ungrafted

Updated: May 23, 2022

How many years have you been in the business? Tell us briefly about your background and your current position today.

I've been full time in wine since 2015. I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to NYC for college. I worked in finance afterwards and never knew wine could be a career choice! I worked in wine retail and distribution for Bonhomie Wine Imports NY before moving to Burgundy to pursue my wine business and enology studies. I now work for Becky Wasserman & Co. Climate change, #metoo, and the Black Lives Matter movements affected me greatly. They promoted me to create Asian Wine Professionals and Ungrafted, a podcast about wine, humanity, and the planet. In each episode, I interview an industry professional on a specific subject about the environmental and societal aspects of wine.

Did you have a particular “aha!” moment that propelled you into wine?

My friend treated me to a lunch at Per Se. I had a bottle of Sonoma Pinot Noir in a big pinot glass. I stuff my face inside the glass and really was mesmerized. Afterwards, I found out that wine encompassed so much I love--history, geology, culture, viticulture, vinification... I really love the community as well.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

Meeting growers and sharing their stories and promoting their wines. I love researching topics for Ungrafted--it takes a lot of time but is so rewarding!

What do you do to create wellness balance in your life? Any particular activity, practices, etc that are meaningful to you?

Yoga and hiking. I also started cooking more...just like wine, it helps me learn about cultures and traditions. Plus I love to eat :)

What changes do you hope to see in the wine industry in the next five years?

More diversity in ownership of companies and land. Companies and individuals try to reduce their carbon footprints to the best of their abilities. People understanding that you can carve out your own paths in wine.

What does equality in the wine industry look like to you?

People have the same access to opportunities and feel welcome and heard.

How do you feel you’re contributing to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive wine industry?

By bringing forth topics through the Ungrafted Podcast and highlighting more Asian Wine Professionals through the AWP Instagram.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the same sector of the wine industry as you?

Be open minded, taste widely, and meet as many people as possible. Never stop asking questions!

Name some people who inspire you in the wine industry and please explain why.

There are so many!! Diana Snowden Seysses for her commitment to highlighting environmental issues such as the carbon footprint of wine. Elaine Chukan Brown and Julia Coney for all their diversity work. Valerie Kathawala (Trink Magazine) for seeing an underserved market and writing interesting and important stories. Christina Rasmussen and Daniela Pillhofer (Little Wine) for the comprehensive way they think about running their company. I also love how they talk about wine. Tomoko Kuriyama (Chanterêves) for her commitment to her vines and profession, and willingness to teach and share.

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