How many years have you been in the business? Tell us briefly about your background and your current position today.
8 years locked in as a wine professional, 2.5yrs in distribution specifically. I currently serve as a wine and spirits consultant for mostly on-premise and some off-premise accounts. Additionally, I host wine dinners, classes, and tasting sessions for clients.
Did you have a particular “aha!” moment that propelled you into wine?
Yes- leaving Florida State in 2010 during the tail end of the recession with an English education. I decided I wanted my storytelling to translate to wine selling and here we are.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Watching a consumer light up when they picked the *perfect* wine for purchase. The instant gratification you get when you see someone's smile warrants a satisfaction like none-other.
What do you do to create wellness balance in your life? Any particular activity, practices, etc that are meaningful to you?
Balance? Ha! Sales don't sleep so this is an area I constantly work on. The one practice that I have found to be most healing is centering in nature. I LOVE hiking and being outdoors with my cell phone turned off. Grounding with mother earth is uber essential to being my best self for others.
What changes do you hope to see in the wine industry in the next five years?
Access to all. Our industry is a luxury. For the longest, it has been centered around those of elite merit and upper echelon in our global status pyramid. The farmers, winemakers, the servers and sommeliers, heck- the family members of said people provide skills and support that allow wine to thrive the way it does. It shouldn't be reserved for only those that can afford it. Though there are a ton of new scholarships out to help with wine and spirit education, there can always be more.
What does equality in the wine industry look like to you?
Seeing more people who look like myself at higher levels on our national three-tier system. Distribution to buying to suppliers and importers. Let's matriculate the DEI initiatives upward and not just across the bottom.
How do you feel you’re contributing to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive wine industry?
Providing more hands-on tastings and service to those in neighborhoods where unique, organic, and consumer conscious wines haven't made a footprint yet.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the same sector of the wine industry as you?
Find a mentor you trust, ask all the questions, and never be afraid to be wrong or humbled.
Name some people who inspire you in the wine industry and please explain why
Larissa Dubose is my shining star. She saw my desire to grow and enter the distribution world without a clue. She has continued to not just give sage advice on how to navigate but walks how she talks. As she always says (and practices), "All ships rise with the tide." I am just glad to be in her bay.