Wine Down LIVE: Traveling Vineyard Pajama Drama review

@iwinedaily was kind of enough to sponsor this week’s episode of #WineDownLIVE and I was pleasantly surprised by this tasty varietal!

Malvasia also called Malvazia is a white wine grape originating from Greece. It’s typically used to make a sweet variety of Madeira wine. If you love your moscato (and that’s ok) I encourage you to try this one! It’s very tasty😋 On the nose there are strong citrus notes and I even smelled a hint of floor but on the tongue it’s not citrusy at all. The acidity is low and the finish is short. Overall it’s a little sweeter than what I usually drink but I wouldn’t mind pulling this one out after dinner. What’s your favorite dessert wine? 💁🏾‍♀️🍷🥂✨

Rating: 8.5

Reigning Title: The Crowd Pleaser

Transition Wine: Y

Wine Down LIVE replay: Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon

This week’s episode of Wine Down Live was so much fun! We had more live views than ever before and I’m so happy because I got to share wine made by a Black woman! Brenae Royal is the vineyard manager of Monte Rossi vineyards and is doing a phenomenal job! Check out the deets and catch the replay below 💁🏾‍♀️🍷✨

Wine: Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon

Pickup Location: Libbie’s Market

Price: $44

Rating: 10

Reigning Title: The Girlfriends Wine (Pros Only)

Wine Down Live Recap: Buttercream Chardonnay

This week I reviewed another tasty varietal that caught me completely by surprise! You’ve got to catch up on this week’s show!

WINE: Buttercream Chardonnay

Location: Total Wine

Rating: 10

Pairing: popcorn or truffle fries

Have you tried this one? Did you love it? Talk wine to me friends!

10 things your winery needs to bring in more DIVERSITY

Hello winefriends!

This is a topic I felt so passionately about I needed to wait for the creativity to hit me for the best way to deliver what will be a fun but sensitive topic. I recently visited a vineyard here in Virginia (formerly Upper Shirley plantation) currently known as Upper Shirley Vineyards and received less than impressive service. This was my second time visiting the winery and both times I witnessed the manager (or maybe he was the owner) walk around to greet all the tables around us except ours.

My friend and I were the only people of color in the bar/restaurant area (there weren’t even any black employees). We were not greeted warmly like the guest around us at other tables and our waitress acted as if when we ordered our food and wine that it was no absolutely no rush. Basically— sis took an hour to bring us everything. Literally.

This annoyed me but instead of bothering to make a fuss— because sadly this is nothing new I thought I would ask the wine friends what are some things they look for in a good winery visit. I pray many wineries around the world read this and get their act together!


Welcoming & Knowledgeable Staff

This was the #1 answer I received on the gram when I posted this question. Educate your staff to know the wines, the history, and details about the process. But more importantly make sure they are kind and love people. Wine is a connector of persons. Don’t let your staff ruin that.

Tour of the Property

Most people visiting the winery want to feel it inside and out. They don’t just want to taste the grapes. They want to see where they’re grown, touch the vines, and not just hear the history but feel apart of it. Take interest in making your space beautiful.


Wine Shop

When tasters come to have a great experience we want to spend money! Have the wines readily available so we can take them back home to relive the experience. A cute little store with wine trinkets wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

Events & Entertainment

Create an experience around your wine! You make a Pinot and so do a million other people. What sets your Pinot apart? Change the way I experience your Pinot and I’ll buy it forever. 🥰


Ship it… Ship it Good!

Purchasing your wine is one thing but not having to worry about how to get it back home is a whole other story. Bless your wine friends and make sure you can send the wine right to their door. This will also eliminate the decision process- now I can buy them all!

Great food for pairing

Do not have me try 10 different vintages with no menu in sight. The charcuterie is great but invest in a brick oven so I can soak up some of this wine with a good pizza. (shout out to Charles Krug for getting me right in Napa)


Diversity In Staff

If you’re a winery owner and you’ve never read “Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria” you should read it. When your staff lacks diversity your customer base most likely will too. Who’s going to go back and invite a more diverse community to your space if there’s no diversity on your team? In this year 2019 not only is there no excuse but it’s sad.

Partnering with diverse influencers is another great way to shake up your customer base. Wine lovers come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Do better with diversity & inclusion.

Good Backstory

Teach your staff how to really tell your story. A good story is what will keep your tasters engaged and give them something to share when they go home. A good story = word of mouth. Then everyone will want to visit your winery!


Cute Winery Dog

While I’ve yet to meet a winery dog I can call friend, I totally understood this response when it popped into the comments. Make sure she’s absolutely adorable and thinks people are adorable too!

Great Wine

Make sure your wine is at its best and ready to serve. The wine friends also requested healthy pours. Don’t be stingy.


Experience is everything.

Your biggest focus should be how your customer is experiencing your wine + your brand. Put effort into making each customer feel special and your efforts in diversity & inclusion will go along way.

Cheers 🥂 to everyone getting right!

Sipping Joyously,

Shayla V

VinPop Snacks Review

Summer snacks are needed from the beach to the wine festivals and they can be nothing less than tasty! While I’m not a huge snacker my husband and I are big movie watchers so popcorn is always the first thing I grab when I’m looking for something to satisfy that movie food craving. I was so excited when my friends at VinPop shared this new snack with me!

Check out my latest review and find out which bag was my favorite from VinPop!

Then head on over to pick up your bag here!

Have you had VinPop before? What’s flavor is your favorite for summer? Let’s talk snacks in the comments!

Napa Valley Vlog: Charles Krug Winery

The power of social media is getting on Twitter one day, tweeting my little heart out when all of a sudden I get an inboxed message! Sonoma Wine Guy and I chat it up and I get invited to Charles Krug Winery. The oldest running winery in Napa. I’m delighted. I say yes and that I’ll be there soon. Here’s a look at what happened next!

9 NY Cocktail-Centric Events You Shouldn't Miss This Summer


If you live in New York, you know the most anticipated season of the year is SUMMER. After a long, unbearable winter with virtually zero hours of sunlight, NYers are ready to show up and show OUT. If you’re looking for some cool, cocktail-centric events to check out this summer, The Cocktail Snob's got you. I did the research so you don’t have to. Read on for the hottest summer events in NYC.

1. Vueve Cliquot Polo Classic

Technically, the purpose of this Vueve Clicquot-sponsored event is to have a picnic and watch a polo match. But let’s be honest...This one’s for the bad and bougies who wanna show off their summer best and sip on bubbly. Sign me up!

Date & Time: Saturday, June 1

Location: Liberty State Park

Cost: $90-$475-get tickets here

2. Rose´ Wine Mansion

That’s right-it’s back! And this time it’s bigger than last year. If you’re unfamiliar, Rose Mansion is a wine bar, wine museum, and amusement park all rolled into one with some awesome backdrops and props to create Insta-worthy shots. Sip pink wine from all over the world as you make your way through 14 interactive rooms and get educated on summer’s favorite wine. Your ticket includes a wine glass, 8 wine tastings, and a few other goodies.

Date & Time: Starts on Saturday, June 1 and continues through the end of the summer

Location: 111 32nd Street

Cost: $35 during happy hour (weekdays before 5pm); $45

3. Zinfandel Experience New York City

An absolutely zincredible collaboration amongst some of the best vintners in the world. Get a taste of a wide variety of Zinfandels poured by some of the founders of the modern American wine movement.

Date & Time: Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 6pm-8pm

Location: Houston Hall

Cost: $59-$79-get tickets here

4. Bacon & Beer Classic

As the name suggests, this an opportunity to kick off your summer with gourmet bacon dishes and unlimited craftbeer from New York’s best restaurants. At the “Bacon and Beer Paradise”, you can enjoy live entertainment while a panel of expert judges selects the best dish and beer.

Date & Time: Saturday, June 8, noon-10pm

Location: The Brooklyn Mirage

Cost: $69-$119-get tickets here

5. New York Rum Fest

.Brought to you by, this festival is all about education and premium rum tastings.

Date & Time: Saturday, June 15, 2pm-8pm

Location: Metropolitan West

Cost: $35-$110-get tickets here

6. Pinknic

It didn't take long for this festival to become a NYC summer staple. Since 2016, organizers have seen thousands of people come for a day or weekend of food, live entertainment, a pool, and of course spirits. Put on your best pink and white outfit and drink up all the rose´.

Date & Time: Saturday, July 19 & Sunday, July 20

Location: Randall's Island Park

Cost: $95-$500-get tickets here

7. Midnight Mimosaholic Masquerade Ride

Food Before Love, a site created for foodies by foodies, is hosting their signature midnight brunch boat ride this summer. But this time, it's mask on for the masquerade party. Between sips of bottomless mimosas, nosh on brunch appetizers and make some new foodie friends.

Date & Time: Friday, August 9, 11:30pm-3:30pm

Location: The Skyport Marina

Cost: $55-$90-get tickets here

8. NY Cocktail Expo

Sample and vote for cocktails from the city’s best mixologists. After your libations, head to the rooftop for an afterparty.

Date & Time: Sunday, August 18th I 3PM-9PM

Location: Melrose Ballroom, Long Island City

Cost: $65-$75-get tickets here

9. Margarita March

An annual event, showcasing the best margaritas NYC (and beyond) has to offer. Your ticket gets you eight margaritas, an all-access VIP badge, food & drink specials, and access to live entertainment. Don’t forget to tip your bartenders!

Date & Time: Saturday, August 24th, noon-10pm

Location: TBD/Bars in NYC

Cost: $65 per person-get tickets here

**Honorable Mention: NYC Summer Tippler Passbook

This isn’t an event per se, but the summer Tippler is a great way to explore even more of the exquisite cocktails NYC has to offer. For just $35, this handy dandy passbook is your ticket to 15 of the city’s best craft cocktails.

Get yours here!

Happy sipping winefriends! 


”The Cocktail Snob”


National Wine Day

Winefriends! It’s #NationalWineDay and I’m so excited!!! Let’s kick off the celebration sharing our fave wines! Talk to me in the comments! Mine are listed below! 💁🏾‍♀️🍷✨

In honor of #NationalWineDay my top 8 at the moment (in no particular order):

1) @fantescawine King Richards Reserve Pinot Noir

2) @charleskrugwinery Malbec

3) @mcbridesisters Brut Rosé

4) @shoecrazywine Sweet Harmony

5) @marcusjohnson360 FLO Wines Red Blend

6) @vine_wine_club Exclusive White

7) @veuveclicquot Brut NV

8) @ruinart Blanc de blancs

Let me know your favorites so I can try them too!  

Where to buy Wines by Black Wine Makers


A list has been put together for us by Marcee Jones and if you join the movement and buy one bottle each month from a Black Wine maker on the list it will take you through to December 2020! Check out the list below, join the movement, and SIP with us! #DiversityInWine #BlackInWine


May, 2019 - Abbey Creek Vineyard & Winery, Bertony Faustin  –

June, 2019 -@Bakerfamilywines, @Dusty Baker  –

July 2019 - Bodkin Wines, Chris Christensen –

August 2019 - Brown Estate, David Brown –

September 2019 - Caldwell Vineyard (not Black owned, but winemaker is), @Marbue Marke –

October 2019 - @Charles Wine Company, @PaulCharles –

November 2019 - Corner 103, @LLoyd Davis –

December 2019 - Darjean Jones Wines, Dawna Darjean Jones–

January 2020 - Frichette Winery, Shae Frichette–

February 2020 - Indigené Cellars, Raymond Smith –

March 2020 - J. Moss Wines, James Moss–

April 2020 - L'Objet Wines, Dan Glover –

May 2020 - LOBO Wines (not Black owned, but winemaker is), Victoria Coleman –

June 2020 - Longevity Wines, Winery, @Phil Long –

July 2020 - Maison Noir Wines, Andre Hueston Mack –

August 2020 - Okapi Wines, @Dan Johnson –

September 2020 - Sip & Share Winery, Nicole Kearney –

October 2020 - Theopolis Vineyards, Theodora Lee –

November 2020 - @Tymphany Wines, @Louis Jordan –

December 2020 - @VisionCellars, Mac McDonald –


Happy Sipping!  

Winefriend Feature: Sommy Mommy

I spent all of 2018 analyzing Wine for my studies. So much so, that once I got on the other side of the CMS Certified Sommelier and WSET 3 Exams, I simply wanted to drink wine because I liked it again. I currently find joy in drinking wines that aren't "testable" lol. But every once in a while, that itch comes back.

Last week, one of my Wine Boo's, @blackgirlsdinetoo was at a blind tasting, and a discussion about Riesling vs Gewurztraminer brought it back for me. There's a gratifying rush when you get the wine right! And if you bang up a flight which definitely happens, you live to fight another day. 

So, what's the point of Sight, Smell, Taste, & Conclusion, if you're not taking a test?

For me, and many others, wine is a sensory experience. Looking at a wine prepares me for what I could or should expect on my nose and palate. The clarity, color, its intensity, rim variation, the tears/legs, evidence of gas all give clues based on the database I've built from wines I've had in the past.

Here’s a few Fun Facts:

1- As White wines get older, they get darker in color, while Red Wines get lighter. 

2- Tears/Legs are not a quality indicator. What they can indicate is either high alcohol/and or high sugar content. They are pretty to look at though! 


Next time you pour a glass, hold it up against a white background, and start to build your database, if you haven’t already. What are you opening up this week? Talk to me in the comments!


Happy Sipping, 

Larissa DuBose  

”Sommy Mommy” 

IG: @lotusvinewine