How many years have you been in the business? Tell me briefly about your background and your current position today.
I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 16 years old. I started in a chain restaurant as a hostess around the corner from my house - you know, the ones where we had to wear a lot of “flare”. Worked there as a server and bartender on the weekends throughout college until senior year when I decided I wanted to work somewhere in the city closer to school. I got a job at a hot new restaurant in Atlanta where we sold some of the best sushi, tapas, sake, martinis and wine. I loved it. The rest was history. I now own 3 Parks Wine Shop which opened in 2013. Prior to opening 3 Parks Wine, I spent most of my career working and managing notable restaurants in Atlanta and New York City. I hand selects all of the wines at the shop and also assists in pairing wines for local events and dinners throughout Atlanta. Voted Atlanta Magazine’s 2020 “Best Wine Shop - Readers Choice” and Wine Enthusiasts 2020 “50 America’s Best Wine Retail / Best Wine Clubs in America!”, 3 Parks is go-to destination for all things wine. I focus on small, organic, biodynamic, and natural wine producers. A place for wine lovers, and those eager to learn alike. 3 Parks Wine Shop offers weekly tastings, a large selection of wine offerings, wine growlers on tap, and the best wine club in GA. A hip, fun wine shop dedicated to finding your favorite wine! Centrally located between Grant, Glenwood, and Ormewood Park (Hence, the name 3 Parks).
Did you have a particular “aha!” moment that propelled you into wine?
I actually fell into wine! It wasn’t planned or intentional. My “aha” moment was then just realizing I loved it and I was pretty good at it.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Two part answer:
Having a dynamic team around me. A team that loves the store as much as I do and makes every person that walks through our doors feel amazing. Being part of a community. 3 Parks Wine Shop is a very community driven business. I focus on giving back as much as possible.
Can you describe any prejudices you’ve experienced in this industry?
It’s less and less everyday, but I’ve been in this business for a long time, so I've experienced it all. Black women in wine weren’t always taken seriously, and depending on the market, we are still not taken seriously. Fortunately I live in Atlanta!
What changes do you hope to see in the wine industry in the next five years?
More rooms that look like me. More wine professionals of color. An industry that has rid itself of intimidation and is accessible for all.
What does equality in the wine industry look like to you?
Equal pay. Accessibility. Opportunities presented to everyone.
In what ways would you say you are contributing to equality in wine?
I mentor as many people as possible, and I literally have a space for people to visit and feel welcome. 3 Parks Wine was created to give people a place to learn, taste, and shop for wine in a comfortable, unpretentious way.
What message do you have for anyone now entering the wine profession?
I tell everyone the same thing. There is a place for everyone in the wine industry. Learn as much as possible, taste as much as possible, surround yourself with people who know more about wine than you do, and know that you are supposed to be there.
What other industry heroes do you admire and why?
Tahiirah Habibi - the person leading the pack. There isn’t a wine professional fighting the good fight that wouldn’t mention Tahiirah. We are all so grateful for the work that she is doing in this industry. Not only is she influential in creating the change, but she is holding people accountable to ensure that businesses and individuals honor and maintain this rapid progress. Dorothy J. Gaiter - I love hearing her speak about her journey in this industry. She’s been doing this a very long time, so she has all the stories to tell. She is an incredible writer and is truly inspiring.