Sharing Black Voices: Wine Spectator Instagram Live Chats Will Spotlight Black Wine Professionals in August

The Instagram series will feature sommeliers, winemakers, vineyard managers and other industry leaders

Sharing Black Voices: Wine Spectator Instagram Live Chats Will Spotlight Black Wine Professionals in August
From left: Vision Cellars founder and winemaker Mac McDonald, Monte Rosso vineyard manager Brenae Royal and One Market Restaurant wine director Tonya Pitts (Photo of Tonya Pitts courtesy of One Market Restaurant)
Jul 27, 2020

Throughout the month of August, Wine Spectator will spotlight Black voices during its Instagram Live series, Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, highlighting the achievements of industry leaders from wineries, restaurants, distributors and other aspects of the wine business.

Straight Talk with Wine Spectator is a new Instagram Live series featuring conversations with wine and food newsmakers. The live chats kicked off in early April amid widespread shutdowns from the COVID-19 crisis, in order to shed light on the changes and challenges these industries are facing, and have since expanded into regularly scheduled programming. (All previous episodes are archived on our IGTV channel for viewing anytime.)

The series kicks off Aug. 4 with Wine Spectator executive editor Thomas Matthews and Heitz Cellar CEO Carlton McCoy. McCoy is a Master Sommelier and former wine director at Grand Award–winning restaurant the Little Nell in Colorado. McCoy joined the iconic Napa winery in 2019.

On Aug. 6, Matthews interviews Mac McDonald, owner and winemaker of Vision Cellars. The Sonoma-based winemaker fell in love with Burgundy-style Pinot Noir at an early age, and focuses on making complex Pinot Noir in California. McDonald is also the founder and chairman of the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), a voice for Black-owned wineries and winemakers.

The following week, senior editor James Molesworth interviews both Brenae Royal (Aug. 11) and Will Blackmon (Aug. 13). Royal is the vineyard manager at Monte Rosso, one of California's most historic vineyards, which dates to the late 1800s and is now owned by E. & J. Gallo. Nicknamed "The NFL Wine Guy," Blackmon is a Super Bowl champion who founded the Wine MVP, a client-based service that tackles personal wine buying, educational opportunities, private events and a monthly subscription wine box.

On Aug. 18, Julia Coney, veteran journalist and educator, will speak with Matthews about her work as an advocate for diversity in the wine industry and as founder of Black Wine Professionals, devoted to finding and developing talented new voices. André Hueston Mack, sommelier, vintner and author, joins Matthews on Aug. 20. Mack got his start as a sommelier at the Palm in San Antonio, and eventually became head sommelier at chef Thomas Keller's Grand Award–winning restaurant Per Se in New York. Mack later founded his Oregon wine label, Maison Noir, in 2007, and also became a restaurateur and wine shop owner with & Sons, a ham bar in Brooklyn, and neighboring Vyne Yard.

Terry Arnold (Aug. 25) is senior vice president of human resources at the nation's largest wine wholesaler, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits. Matthews will talk with Arnold about his time as a captain in the U.S. Army, his work developing and implementing policies to manage and motivate Southern's 20,000 employees and his efforts with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Matthews will also interview Tonya Pitts on Aug. 27. She's wine director of One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, overseeing a 600-selection list that holds the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. She serves on the advisory board of Wine Unify.

Tune in to Straight Talk on Wine Spectator's Instagram page, every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Plus, keep an eye on our schedule for bonus chats during the day with winemakers from Europe and other regions outside the Americas.

More Straight Talk

See More

Leading from the Top: A Live Chat with Carlton McCoy

Aug 6, 2020

A Wine Industry on the Edge: Live Chat with Anthony Hamilton Russell

Aug 4, 2020

Old World in Sonoma: A Live Chat with David Ramey

Jul 28, 2020

The World's Winemaker: A Live Chat with Paul Hobbs

Jul 17, 2020

An Award-Winning Mindset: Wine Spectator Chats with Restaurant Industry Stars

Jul 8, 2020

News Straight Talk

You Might Also Like

Leading Vintners in Châteauneuf-du-Pape Make Two Big Acquisitions

Leading Vintners in Châteauneuf-du-Pape Make Two Big Acquisitions

The Guigal family has purchased Domaine Les Clefs d'Or in Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, while the …

Aug 6, 2020
Leading from the Top: A Live Chat with Carlton McCoy

Leading from the Top: A Live Chat with Carlton McCoy

The CEO of Napa's Heitz Cellar talks about his incredible journey from high-school dropout …

Aug 6, 2020
U.S. Dietary Guidelines Panel Takes Aim at Moderate Wine Drinkers

U.S. Dietary Guidelines Panel Takes Aim at Moderate Wine Drinkers

Proposed new guidelines would cut recommended daily limit of alcohol consumption for …

Aug 5, 2020
A Wine Industry on the Edge: Live Chat with Anthony Hamilton Russell

A Wine Industry on the Edge: Live Chat with Anthony Hamilton Russell

The South African vintner talks about taking the reins as owner of Hamilton Russell …

Aug 4, 2020
Anderson Valley Pioneer and Handley Cellars Founder Milla Handley Dies at 68 of COVID-19

Anderson Valley Pioneer and Handley Cellars Founder Milla Handley Dies at 68 of COVID-19

A leader for women in wine and a champion for her Mendocino home, Handley helped legitimize …

Aug 3, 2020
Canned Wine Sales Are Bursting at the Seams

Canned Wine Sales Are Bursting at the Seams

Familiar names and new faces are diving into the soon-to-be $200 million market for wine in …

Aug 3, 2020