I want to tell you a true story. Just a little over a year ago, I called an old friend who had been one of my wine reps when I first got into the industry. I called him because I was looking for a particular brand of wine that I knew his distribution company carried. How did I know that they carried it? Two reasons. Our ABC board has a website that will list every wine, spirit, and beer that is approved in the Commonwealth. I also knew because I had reached out to the winery owner to find out which distribution company had it and just how many cases they had in its warehouse. I called my friend because I was surprised when I was told by another person at the same company that they didn't carry it. Because I knew that my friend would tell me the truth, I called him.
At first, my friend told me that they didn't have it. When I explained to him how I knew that they had it, he asked for some time to look into it. The following day, he called me back to tell me that they had it in a warehouse in Norfolk and no one was interested in getting it here to Richmond. Because my friend realized that it made no sense and wanted the sale, he made sure that his company transported my order to the Richmond warehouse so that I could pick it up.
I've always wondered had this wine not been owned and produced by an African-American would I have had to jump through such hoops. I could understand if it didn't sell well. But it seemed to be selling just fine in Total Wine and other big box stores. Hmmm.
I do not believe that this story is unique. So what can we do about it? I know, it's wine. Doesn't seem that important. But it is important. The Exclusive Blacklist is important and events like it are lifelines for those brave souls who dare enter this tough industry.
I've charged myself with hosting an event to celebrate African-Americans in the wine industry. The purpose is to introduce these wines to my family, friends, and colleagues and passing the assignment on to them. If we like the wines, we should buy the wines and ask the wine retailers and restaurants that we support to make these wines available. Just how much Yellow Tail can we drink? We deserve the best! And many of the wines that you will taste at The Exclusive Blacklist are rated high and receive critical acclaim by wine aficionados everywhere. We invite you to be the judge!
This year, cast your vote to decide who goes home with our beautiful People's Choice award. In order to vote, you must be present. Here's how:
The Exclusive Blacklist
The Shoppes at The Renaissance
101 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Call 804-993-4130 for tickets or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.