Salute: These Men And Women Are The Newest Black Tastemakers Under 40
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Salute: These Men And Women Are The Newest Black Tastemakers Under 40

black-owned business , Spirits , wine
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Aug 20, 2021

They are young, blazing trails, and very successful. Now, they are part of a distinguished group of Black tastemakers under 40 in the country, according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Released this month, ‘Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers 2021’ list includes several Black men and women who were selected for their work, as the pandemic continues to upend the industry and make people reconsider what they think they know about wine, beer and spirits, according to the magazine.

“We’re proud to share their stories and honor their work. These industry innovators challenge preconceptions, misconceptions and the status quo. They lead dialogues and amplify the voices of others. Plus, they inspire everyone around them to make the drinks business a better place,” the magazine stated.

This remarkable achievement is a reflection of what it is seen within the drink industry in the US. The boom of Black-owned wineries in the United States is an example of this trend. As Reuters reported in March, the Association of African American Vintners says it has grown by 500% since 2019.

We wanted to shout out this year’s Black tastemakers under 40. And, we hope to see more in 2022 pushing to diversify the drink industry.

1. Philippe André, 37

A second-generation sommelier and restaurateur, André developed a passion for hospitality and wine education, while growing up around fine dining.

Currently, he works as the wine director at Oceanique restaurant, where he manages a 32-year-old cellar with more than 1,200 selection

In 2018, André was appointed to be U.S. Ambassador for Charles Heidsieck Champagne. He worked to relaunch and reinvigorate the reputation of the historic brand, as well as developing trade and collector relationships for the portfolio.


2. Tiquette Bramlett



Tiquette Bramlett is deemed to be the first Black woman appointed to run a winery in a major U.S. wine region.

The former professional vocalist was training to be a sommelier when she fell in love with the Willamette Valley.

Now, she works to provide education and resources through Our Legacy Harvested, an organization she founded during the protests of the summer of 2020.


3. Isis Daniel, 26

This millennial sommelier and consultant made her debut on Instagram with her #TastingThursday videos, where she would taste and learn along with her followers.

During the pandemic, Daniel started working with brands to integrate them into videos. She’s now  on TikTok, where, reaching more than 120,000 viewers.

4. Kelly Mitchell, 38

Working as a mentor to aspiring wine professionals through Wine Unify, an organization devoted to racial and ethnic diversity in wine, Mitchell achieved success nationwide after launching Kelly Selects, a wine club partnership with online retailer Wired For Wine.

The club delivers handpicked, food-friendly bottles plus tasting notes and pairing ideas.

A portion of all Kelly Selects sales is donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to support racial justice.

In addition to Kelly Selects and her role with Skurnik Wines & Spirits, she is a member of Black Wine Professionals.

5. Shanika Hillocks, 31

As Wine Enthusiast reported, her mission is to make wine, food, travel and wellness more accessible and equitable.

She works as a strategic planner with E. & J. Gallo as the company’s influencer marketing manager. She is also a freelance social media marketing and consultation professional.

6. Khristopher Johnson, 34

Acclaimed by beer drinkers for both his Pilsners and IPAs, Johnson is also a beer activist who works  for the betterment of community youth, which he considers the most important and rewarding.

By managing the nonprofit Beer Kulture and the Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling, he is also helping foster the next generation of BIPOC brewers.


7. Shakera Jones, 39

A wine and fine dining lover, Jones runs the blog, BlackGirlsDineToo, in order to promote and support diversity and inclusion efforts for underrepresented groups in the food and wine industries.

The platform is where she writes informative yet accessible content about both categories, and leads virtual tastings.

She also hosts the podcast A Glass for Every Palate as well as the Weekly Wines show, both on the SommTV network.

8. Simonne Mitchelson, 28


In order to promote more diversity and equity in the wine industry, Mitchelson co-created the nonprofit Natural Action Wine Club, which raises money and attention for educational and professional wine opportunities for BIPOC communities.

She also created the BIPOC Scholarship in Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and joined Jackson Family Wines’ DE&I Employee Council, which aims to address racial disparity and establish a more inclusive environment at the company.


9. Lauren Paylor, 29

The founder of Focus on Health, a company that promotes physical, mental, social, environmental and financial wellness for hospitality workers— Paylor also works as a researcher and creator of specialty ingredients for the menu at Silver Lyan, cocktail impresario Ryan Chetiyawardana’s first bar outside of Europe.

10. Lydia Richards, 32

This Afro-Latino woman born in Panama developed her passion for wine in Paris, where she used to live before moving to New York.

There, she founded Vino Concierge, a private wine consultancy focusing on bilingual (Spanish and English) PR, education, tastings and events.

She went on to cofound Hispanics in Wine, a social platform dedicated to amplifying Hispanic and Latinx contributions to beverage and hospitality businesses, in September 2020.

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