NBC's ‘Grand Crew’ Puts Black Wine Lovers in Primetime

The groundbreaking new sitcom blends wine and comedy, with an assist from an L.A. sommelier

NBC's ‘Grand Crew’ Puts Black Wine Lovers in Primetime
Noah (Echo Kellum, left) and Anthony (Aaron Jennings) enjoy a glass of red wine on Grand Crew. (NBC)
Jan 3, 2022

Following a great vintage for TV and wine, one of NBC's newest sitcoms, the wine-themed Grand Crew, makes its network debut Tuesday night. From two Brooklyn Nine-Nine alums, Phil Augusta Jackson and Dan Goor, the show follows a group of young Black professionals in Los Angeles who get together at their favorite wine bar to uncork their daily adventures.

"I thought it would be really fun to have wine play a part in the name of the show, considering that the home base for the group of friends is a wine bar," Jackson told Wine Spectator via email, referring to Grand Crew’s riff on France’s grand cru classifications for the country’s most prestigious wines. "On an individual level, each cast member brings their own flavor, perspective and performative 'notes' to the table, and together they blend to make something special."

 Grand Crew premieres Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.]
Grand Crew premieres Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. (NBC)

About 10 years ago, Jackson quit his advertising gig in New York and moved to California to pursue his Hollywood career. Since then, he’s earned Emmy nominations for his writing on Key and Peele and Insecure, and also worked as a writer and executive story editor on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Before his first day with Key and Peele, Jackson met with fellow writers at L.A.’s Covell wine bar, which he still frequents today with his own "grand crew." Jackson was brainstorming ideas with Brooklyn Nine-Nine creator Goor when they realized that get-togethers at the wine bar were fertile ground for Grand Crew.

Before filming the pilot episode, Jackson says he got the cast together to share a glass of wine as a way of cementing the chemistry between the actors. "Drinking wine before and during production was more of a way to not only better understand what types of things they like to drink, but also getting to know them better as individuals so I could do my best to write about their specific talents," Jackson said.

To help with wine lingo, Jackson reached out to L.A.-based sommelier Devin Reed, former general manager at Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Wally's and who also consulted on Netflix's Uncorked.

"Initially, that consisted of me being on a couple Zoom meetings with the production team, where we'd go over the script and specific wording with the cast," Reed told Wine Spectator. "For example, a character introduces a bottle as a 'Petite Sirah from one of our best years.' I told the team that in the wine world we would normally say 'vintages.'"

Reed eventually joined the production on set. During filming, he saw a bright light shining directly onto a wine bottle (which can damage the quality of a wine), and had the production crew adjust the lighting.

Jackson added that he loves giving shoutouts to Black-owned wine brands, including Darjean Jones Wines and Theopolis Vineyards. He hopes that the show will help bring more diversity to the wine community.

"My hope is that [Grand Crew] shines a light on a dynamic that already exists among Black people. And even more than that, I hope it means that we start to see more Black winemakers, Black sommeliers and more Black people getting into wine than there already are," Jackson said. "If this show helps push that forward in any way, I’d be delighted."

The first two episodes of Grand Crew are already streaming on Peacock, and the show premieres Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Unfiltered black-voices film-tv

You Might Also Like

Counterfeit Lafite, Penfolds Seized in $150 Million Fake Wine Bust

Counterfeit Lafite, Penfolds Seized in $150 Million Fake Wine Bust

40,000 bottles of “extremely realistic” fakes discovered in China

Jan 30, 2023
Folly Follows Flood in Paso Robles Wine Country

Folly Follows Flood in Paso Robles Wine Country

After heavy rains washed out Adelaida Road, a county road crew quickly rebuilt it. If only …

Jan 17, 2023
Best of Unfiltered 2022

Best of Unfiltered 2022

From Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s legal battle over Château Miraval to a $13 million wine …

Dec 29, 2022
José Andrés Takes a Family Road Trip Around Spain in New TV Show

José Andrés Takes a Family Road Trip Around Spain in New TV Show

The star chef’s new show on Discovery+ follows his family as they tour the culinary …

Dec 27, 2022
French Star Patrick Bruel Bets on Rosé with Jaboulet

French Star Patrick Bruel Bets on Rosé with Jaboulet

The singer-actor–poker pro goes all in on an organic Provence rosé with the Rhône vigneron

Dec 21, 2022
2020 Château Mouton-Rothschild Label Artist Revealed

2020 Château Mouton-Rothschild Label Artist Revealed

British painter Peter Doig creates a vineyard dreamscape for the celebrated first-growth …

Dec 13, 2022