Of Folding Chairs and Building Your Own: Blacks Gain Seats at the Wine Table

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Toward the end of his podcast “Wine & Hip Hop,” Jermaine Stone, who worked for two of our favorite wine stores for more than a decade, laid it out for the guests: “We’re experiencing an explosion, kind of like a black renaissance, in wine and culture.” 

His guests, Sukari Bowman and Larissa Dubose, wholeheartedly agreed. Bowman, a banker in Atlanta, is host of the popular podcast “The Color of Wine” and co-creator of the website “Love and Vines.” Dubose, also of Atlanta, is a Certified Specialist in Wine and has been in wine sales and distribution for about 10 years. Her blog, “The Lotus and the Vine,” promises to bridge “the gap between the wine novice and the wine connoisseur.” Stone, a former rapper, is CEO of Cru Luv Selections, a Brooklyn-based wine importer and consulting company that also hosts wine education events. The three call themselves The Wine Avengers and they’re hosting a “Legends of the Fall” cool-weather wine tasting Sept. 22 at the Wine Gallery in Harlem and introducing their new podcast, called, well, The Wine Avengers.

Others have seized another way: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, build your own table.” There has been steady growth in events open to everyone, of course, but geared especially to black wine lovers and black winemakers. In 2011, Fern A. Stroud, an IT software development project manager for more than 20 years, founded a now annual event in Oakland called Black Vines that celebrates black artists, musicians and winemakers.

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