“I grew up loving wine, but I never saw myself or people of colour represented — I honestly do not recall ever seeing wine positioned in media as something for people of colour.” While working in the marketing industry, she studied wine on the side, on her own, because even at the institutional level of wine education, she didn’t feel comfortable entering an environment where she and people of colour were not all that present.
And now, she’s doing something about it. Last fall, she launched a series of events called Spring Into Spice, starting with an Instagram account on which she talks about wine and “spicy” foods — encompassing cuisines from the African-Caribbean diaspora. Her mission: cognitive diversity in wine. During the pandemic, she ran wine pairing seminars on Zoom. Her live tasting events — spanning cuisines of Mexico, New Orleans, Ethiopia, Thailand, the Caribbean and more — regularly sell out. On May 28th, the Spring Into Spice Food and Wine Festival launches in downtown Toronto, with 30 ethnic food tents and a range of wines from Ontario and the world. “It’s about using food and wine — something that people get together with to enjoy, share stories and memories… and I think it’s powerful to put together these kinds of experiences and make sure it’s not just, for example, East Indian, or Asian or Black people. I want sixth-generation Canadians, old-world Europeans, everyone around the table.” —DICK SNYDER