Tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you a wine geek?
I love stories and what is wine but a living, breathing story? Our experiences with wine are so entirely wrapped up in our own memories and experiences of the world. You and I could be enjoying the same bottle at the same exact time and our perception of that wine will be completely different because our life experiences are completely different. And I could enjoy that same wine a week, month, year, or decade later and my experience with it will be different each time. It’s like reading a book over and over again and noticing different plot points because your life experiences have changed since the first time you opened it.
Extraterrestrials just landed on earth. What wine do you pour them?
A dry riesling from Alsace or an Austrian grüner veltliner, so they aren’t corrupted by the people who say that white wine is bad or that riesling is always sweet. Plus, I bet the acidity would be a nice palate cleanser for them after floating around in space for a while.
What's your favorite scent you have ever smelled in a wine?
Petrichor! That sort of earthy scent you get after it rains when it hasn’t rained in a while. It’s like freshly wet rock, ozone, and herbal all wrapped up into one tasty package, that I often get from grüner veltliner, sauvignon blanc, and in cooler climate cabernet franc. It’s fucking intoxicating!
Any favorite music or podcasts you like to listen to while you drink wine?
When I’m feeling fancy it’s this French Dinner Party playlist I found on Apple Music full of fun songs from Madeleine Peyroux and Eartha Kitt (there’s also a song from the Aristocrats soundtrack on there, because I’m weird).
When I’m feeling nerdy it’s the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text Podcast.
If you could visit any wine region in the world right now what would it be and why?
I really want to go to Kamptal, Austria so I can learn more about grüner veltliner, the variety that has me so entranced right now. Or maybe Mosel, Germany just to SEE those terraced vineyards and weep over their beauty… and so my husband, who is a beer guy, can have something delicious to drink while I’m sobbing over a glass of riesling.
What do you think is the most exciting thing going on in the world of wine right now?
That the world of wine is having its reckoning over its racism, sexism, and classism. This change has been necessary for so long. The truths we have to face collectively are VERY uncomfortable, yes, but I’m excited to see the wine world grow and become more inclusive.
What would you like to see in the future of wine?
More diversity. I’d love to see the statistics for women winemakers and leaders become more equal and we NEED to see more BIPOC representation in the wine industry. Diversity is necessary for the sustainability of this industry. Without it, we will fail.
What advice would you give yourself looking back to when you first started working in the wine industry?
Ignore the people who tell you that you “can’t do it.” They are threatened by you and are only projecting their own fears and insecurities onto you. It took me a long time to realize that I don’t need anyone’s approval to be successful, I just need to keep doing what I believe is right and remember that my success can be inspiring to another young woman just entering the industry.
Who are some people that inspire you in the world of wine?
Simonne Mitchelson & Justin Trabue, two incredible women who have organized and executed on a scholarship fund for BIPOC students entering the wine industry via Cal Poly SLO. Also, Wynne Solomon, winemaker for Peake Ranch Vineyard who is one of the most intuitive and talented young winemakers I’ve had the privilege of documenting. You are going to want to keep your eyes on these three women; they are going to blow us all away!
Anything in the works you'd like to mention or promote?
Well! I am working on creating a podcast to give actionable digital marketing advice to wine, beer, and spirits brands as well as an online course focusing on how wine brands can build an effective Instagram marketing strategy! podcast.craftandcluster.com
To stay up to date on the release dates of those two things, you can follow me on Instagram @craftandcluster or sign up for my email list where I give weekly Instagram marketing tips at www.craftandcluster.com/
Thank you Heather!