Welcome to the Wine Geek of the Week
Where I ask my favorite wine geeks shitty questions!
This week's guest is Justin Trabue @jmedici320
Tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you a wine geek?
I was named after the winery my parents visited when they traveled to California. I now work in the region that stole my parents heart. I geek out when a friend brings over a new wine, I love blind tastings, and there is nothing like sending my parents home a mixed case and seeing what they enjoy. I believe wine should be fun, and always paired with good food and great people.
Extraterrestrials just landed on earth. What wine do you pour them?
CO Cellars Melon Drop or Paix Sur Terre’s Picpoul Blanc. Something light and fun!
What's your favorite scent you have ever smelled in a wine?
Melon candy, runts, or worcheshire sauce
Any favorite music or podcasts you like to listen to while you drink wine?
Between the Devil, In Another Room, Moses Sumney, Oshun, Rain Sounds, Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls, Hercules, The Color of Wine, Missy Elliot, The Friend Zone. Depends on the mood :)
If you could visit any wine region in the world right now what would it be any why?
I would go to Argentina! I have never explored that part of the world. I would like to learn more about Malbec, Bonardo and Tannat as well as other grapes.
What do you think is the most exciting thing going in the world of wine right now?
The positive responses to Black Lives Matter from a majority of the wine world, with actual changes within institutions and the industry as whole. We as an industry have an opportunity to rebuild a better system of inclusion and visibility of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. I am joyous to see all of the scholarship and mentorship opportunities that are being created and look forward to seeing how they continue to grow. I also look forward to learning more about inclusion for transgender people within the wine industry as well as consumers, and how to create safe, welcoming environments! I acknowledge I have a lot to learn and look forward to it!
What would you like to see in the future of wine?
The wine industry needs to grow in the understanding of the way whiteness is normalized; exhibiting wine as a luxury good in a white male dominant industry allows for gatekeeping to continue, rather than providing opportunities to do this work and learn. I would like to see BIPOC being paid fair wages, given the opportunity to have safe and inclusive environments. Once we are hired actually listen to us, and understand that we are not a monolith. When you see someone do something wrong, say something: don’t be complacent. I hope to see more opportunities for people and communities to find an interest in wines without the fear of judgement or assumptions when purchasing wines or wanting to learn more about something.
What advice would you give yourself looking back to when you first started working in the wine industry?
Don’t let anyone tell you you're not worthy. That is their insecurity, I am meant to shine like the sun! Be willing to make mistakes and ask questions, you’ll learn better that way. Know your worth, and get paid for your time and labour! You are strong, you are kind, you are powerful.
Who are some people that inspire you in the world of wine?
Shittywinememes, Simonne Mitchelson, Lane Tanner, Erica Christian, Jordan Robinson, Regine Rousseau, Riki HIll, Larissa Dubose, Tahiirah Habibi, Rachel Nye, Heather Daenitz, The McBride Sisters, Sharde Marie, Marlon Noble, Nancy Ulloa, Haley James, Alisha Sommer, the list goes ooooooon. So thankful for the knowledge and kindness of all of these people.
Anything in the works you'd like to mention or promote?
My friend Simonne recently founded and created a scholarship for my alma mater, Cal Poly SLO’s wine and viticulture department. Full and partial scholarships are being provided and the first round of applications is due on Dec 3rd! The goal of this program is to create a more equitable and inclusive future for BIPOC in the wine industry through financial relief, internships, mentorships, and job opportunities.
I am also helping with a really awesome group of people to put together an opportunity for a natural wines project. Stay tuned for more info on that in the months to come!
You can find me pouring wine in Paso Robles at ancient peaks winery, I look forward to seeing new people in the tasting room! www.Ancientpeakswinery.com
Learn more about the wines I help to make at www.lumenwines.com! Based out Santa Barbara county, we produce low intervention, cool climate Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Grenache Noir.
You can keep up with me, my pet rats, my love for movies, and more @jmedici320 IG