Photo Credit: Foundry 503
Tiquette Bramlett: The First Black Woman Appointed To Oversee A US Winery
“It’s cool being the first, but I want to make sure I’m definitely not the last,” Tiquette Bramlett told Travel Noire. Bramlett is the first Black woman appointed to oversee a winery in the United States. She has already hit the ground running in her new role with Vidon Vineyard in Oregon, starting just 20 days ago.
Growing up in California, Bramlett’s family often visited Central California’s wineries. Her father, who is from Holland, also took the family to Europe for the summers. At a young age, she began picking up on the intricacies of the wine industry, and took an interest early on.
During her college years at Chatman University, Bramlett had the opportunity to travel even more with her vocal ensemble troop.
“We went to Australia, and I was able to visit the wineries there. I really enjoyed them.”
A cancer diagnosis, a few years later, would force her to sit back and figure out what it was she wanted to do in life. At the suggestion of her mother, Bramlett decided to enroll in a sommelier course to further her knowledge of wine.
Every time she did a blind tasting, she always seemed to love those from Oregon’s Williamette Valley. That’s when she first became a fan of the region.
“My instructor told me I should pursue things further, since every tasting I chose the Willamette Valley profiles,” she told Travel Noire. “I had family members and friends in the area, so I was able to spend some time exploring the state’s wineries.”
As fate would have it, a friend of a friend knew the national sales manager of Anne Amie Vineyards, also in Oregon. Bramlett took a chance by sending over her resume, and landed her first official position in the industry. She worked her way from the tasting room, to being a brand ambassador. She was even able to get some one-on-one mentoring from Oregon’s first Black winemaker, Bertony Faustin.
“Everything that I did prior to this, really prepared me for the role.”
Appointment as First Black woman to oversee a US winery
During a tasting at Vidon with her mother, Bramlett struck up a conversation with owners, Dru and Erin Allen. What was supposed to be a short conversation turned into hours of the trio realizing that their visions for the wine industry aligned. Almost like she was just in the right place, at the right time.
“It truly aligned,” she said. “They were looking for someone to take over and oversee the winery. When they first told me I was the first Black woman to take on a role like this, I honestly made them fact check because I couldn’t believe it.”
In this new role, Bramlett does everything from running the tasting room, managing budgets, curating out-of-state pop-ups, and working with the winemakers on rollouts and production. As she describes, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, and she’s putting all the pieces together.
Bramlett is focused on building the vision while also showing that diversity in the wine industry is possible, and honestly easy to achieve.
In addition to overseeing Vidon, she runs a non-profit, Our Legacy Harvested. Through this organization Bramlett hopes to soon build an academy to help other BIPOC get their foot into the industry, too.
“It would give them the opportunity to live and work in the area, while building up their community. I want Oregon and Willamette to set the standard on diversity and inclusivity for this industry.”
To learn more or to check out Vidon Vineyard, visit: vidonvineyard.com.