On Sunday, April 14, 2019, Mel McMahon and Terri Stacy sat down with Nicole Kearney, founder of Sip N Share Winery to talk about the market for vegan wines, what it takes to make wine, and how Nicole is opening doors for future wine makers. Meet a new member every Sunday at 10:45 AM on 93.1 WIBC. Thanks for listening!
About Sip N Share Winery:
The Sip & Share Story
I’m a wine enthusiast! In June 2016, I attended Open Bite Night, a community block party to support a friend. There were two drinks being served – a ‘hard’ lemonade and white Sangria. I told Niesha, “There should be a vendor who only sells adult beverages.” She said, “Why not you?” A few weeks later, Niesha contacted me to let me know she had registered me for the event. There was no charge for first timers and they provided the table and chairs. I decided to no longer put off my dream and step out on faith. “Sip & Share Wine” was born.
October 1, 2016, Sip & Share Wine officially opened for business at Open Bite Night: Ridiculous. We SOLD OUT of my handcrafted Red and White Sangrias. The Sangrias quickly gained a following. I went from serving by-the-glass to people wanting to have more than a glass to enjoy as they checked out the various vendors at the different events where we set up. I obliged with Mason jars with straws in the lids. It was a hit! Then folks begin to ask to take Sip & Share Sangria home with them. Sip & Share Winery debuted in March 2018 with seven varietals of quality, handcrafted, small-batch, vegan wines.
Sip & Share Winery participated in The Hue Society’s The Black Wine Experience wine tasting and Roses & Rose’ Brunch at Essence Fest 2018 in New Orleans. Being there lead to being named by Kiarra Sylvester as one of “5 Black Winemakers You Should Be Sipping Right Now” on Xonecole.com. The Indianapolis Recorder has followed our growth with two stories that show where we are now and where we began. And I was named one of 40 African American Tastemakers (Under/Over 40) by Sabrina Jackson.
In the Beginning…
My serious relationship with wine began in 2008, when I attended graduate school for my Master in Fine Arts (MFA) at Spalding University, Low Residency MFA program, in Louisville, Kentucky. Surrounded by writers of all genres – playwrights, screenwriters, fiction, non-fiction, and poets – we discussed our lives, our work, and our craft over drinks. Wine, to be specific. Each subsequent residency we would bring wines to introduce to each other. It was there my passion for wine was ignited. I shared what I learned with others; helping many a wine drinker find their way from, “I only drink…” to, “Wow, this wine is delicious.” This always gave me great pleasure.
In 2011, my good friend Mark gifted me a 32 bottle wine refrigerator as a housewarming gift. Of course, I had to fill it! I had a party asking people to bring wine. I gave them some parameters (I drank red almost exclusively at that time) and sent my friends on a wine hunt around town. It was an incredible success. My guests got to try different wines and my wine chest was magically filled. Little did I know, I had just hosted my first home wine tasting.
In December 2013, my friend Niesha invited me to a wine tasting. I accepted without hesitation. The hostess, Marla graciously welcomed me into her home. The wine tasting was fantastic, conducted by an independent representative of a national home wine tasting company. I tasted new wines, beginning a love affair with South African wines. The group of women I was introduced to that night bonded over our enjoyment of wine. We decided to host a party monthly at each other’s homes. In January 2014, I hosted a wine tasting. My friend decided to host one as well, in my home. At the tasting, I asked where was the ‘wine lady?’ My friend answered she didn’t know. She had not talked to her since a month ago.
Having a house full of guests, I called a friend and asked to “borrow” a few bottles of wine. She brought a case. I pulled a few of hers, added a few of my own, and became the ‘wine lady’ that night. We tasted twelve bottles of wine from around the world. My friends suggested I should start doing wine tastings. I agreed and started doing some initial research. Then I moved on with my life.
In 2015, my interest in doing home wine tastings was refueled after several incidents occurred at corporate wine tastings – my name not being on the attendee list, my guests almost being turned away, being seated in the back and sushed continuously despite my wine tribe purchasing wine. The spark was ignited, a dream set in motion. Sip & Share Wine started and still continues to do home wine tastings pouring African American and women winemakers in the intimacy of your home. We bring a fun experience, wine education and build awareness about African American wines/winemakers.
I want to thank everyone who has supported, continues to support and those who will support Sip & Share Winery as we continue on our journey. Stay tuned, you don’t want to miss our next move.
Sip & Share Wine & Great Times,
Learn more at https://www.sipnsharewine.net/.