Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
My story is a very native Angeleno one. I’m an LA native, and UCLA School of Nursing alumni for my bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degree. My interest in wine started in graduate school, when I started networking with professors and colleagues in an extended professional capacity. I would attend conferences and mixers where people were talking about wine and many of the conversations went over my head. I garnered an interest in wine as a function of professional networking but over time it turned into a passion. I love wine and the wine industry because there’s always more to learn, and wine is at the intersection of so many different fields: geography, culture, history, chemistry, etc. All of those factors combine to give you the experience of tasting a glass of wine.
I moved to South LA in 2016 and wanted to find a wine tribe in my area, but didn’t find anything. So in the summer of 2017, I made a MeetUp group on a whim, thinking I’d meet people and go wine tasting from time to time. I checked it a month later, and to my surprise I had 50 people! I got started from there in planning an event to bring people together, and almost 3 years later I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and the amazing people I’ve met, all around the catalyst of wine.
Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
From just getting started, it was a challenge to get to know people in the neighborhood and what they wanted to drink. Oftentimes in our neighborhoods we don’t have access to a variety of grape varietals and winemaking methods, and we’re restricted to buying from liquor stores and grocery stores, which also have a pejorative connotation and reputation. So for audiences I don’t want to introduce too much too fast, or start using wine lingo which can confuse people and turn them off since I’ve been on the other end of that interaction.
The other struggle is scheduling an event that’s just right as far as time of day, location, and frequency. One my first events was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and of course being the busiest travel day of the year no one showed up! So a valuable lesson was to get out of my own schedule and plan for events to be easily accessible to new audiences. I also started doing events every month, and found I didn’t have enough time in between to plan and market a high-quality event that was up to my standards. So I went to a less frequent format, but works much better for me.
Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
The mission of South LA Wine Club is to create community among wine enthusiast in South LA and Inglewood. I’m proud of being one of the first businesses to cater to this community. I specialize in providing wine education and curating unique experiences around wine. My events are primarily in and around South LA, and I also travel all over Los Angeles for private events, corporate events, and wine bar setups through my bartender certification. What sets SLAWC apart is our focus on building community through accessible and affordable wine events, which is a mentality I have in all my programming and services.
One event I’m particularly proud of is the Afro-Latin Jazz and Wine event, which is new and innovative. I partner with my colleagues at Flowers Rhythm Dance Music (RDM) to bring in world class Afro-Latin jazz musicians, and pair the wine to the ambiance and energy of the event.
Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years? Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
I think wine trends are different between South LA and LA in general. The umbrella term of “Natural wine” is a huge trend in Los Angeles in general, but some of the more tart and pungent/ “funky” tasting notes may deter those who are enjoy a more fruit forward tasting profile. I think for South LA the link to natural wine trend are the differences in wine harvesting and wine making methods and how that translates to a better quality of what we put in our bodies overall. In my observation is this links to the consumption of the recent legalization cannabis products in our communities as well, in exploring cannabis people want to pair products with experiences, which include wine. To that end, there’s a growing trend of CBD infused wines and elixirs that are coming in dispensaries.
In my events and education I talk about wine equity and wine access, specifically how systematic inequality links to the wine and beverages that are marketed and sold to the communities in South LA. Small production winemakers, women winemakers, and winemakers of color are also growing, but they often aren’t able to access communities in South LA, although the winemakers themselves represent these same communities. I predict that through SLAWC and other local partners we’ll be able to bridge that gap and connect the two.
Is there any pricing information that is relevant to our readers? If so, and if you would like us to share it, please include details (in bullet form) below.
I can tailor wine experiences to all budgets, contact me for a quote!
- Website: www.southlawineclub.com
- Phone: 3105692897
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org