I never had a dream of making wine; I wanted to make television. I was a little girl from the suburbs of South Jersey who pretended she was Oprah Winfrey and interviewed every celebrity under the sun in her living room. Never did I ever think of owning a business or saying the words “I’m a winemaker.” But it all became official over the last year, and today there’s no pretending—it’s true.
I’m not sure I even had a glass of wine until my late twenties (and I wouldn’t call downing glasses of Moscato the most sophisticated choice). Here’s how it happened: When I moved to California, drinking wine became part of my job, and it was a passion for many of the friends I’d made from Northern California. They sucked me into their world of great wine, great winemakers, and great champagne—a personal favorite.
It was during the pandemic, on a much-needed escape to Napa and Sonoma Counties, when my dreams changed. It was my birthday, and my good friend (and then-television colleague, now my business partner) organized a girl’s trip to the vineyards. We dined at the much-talked-about, Michelin guide 3-star winner, French Laundry. As you can imagine, there was a lot of wine involved!
After visiting Napa and Sonoma and then going on another girl’s wine trip to Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast, we decided we had seen enough. We thought, we love wine, we’re smart, we film stories about it on television, we’re women of color, why not us? Why can’t we make wine too? It just so happened that we got word from a business featured on our show that a winemaker had some chardonnay grapes they were trying to sell. We jumped on it and NFINITY Cellars was born.There was a learning curve that came along with the endless licenses, laws, and contracts associated with the business of wine and spirits—not to mention a crash course in learning grapes, blends, agriculture, and regions. Trust me, sommeliers are masters for sure! It has been no cakewalk learning the wine industry. Sleep is at a premium since I have a full-time job that expects me every day, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve taken on a huge task that requires not only my energy but a thousand percent of my confidence to win.
I share this story not for promotion but for motivation. As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I see day after day that anything is possible no matter where you start. It may not happen neatly, overnight, or on your timeline, but what you want can happen. And I have a new dream now, to own a vineyard.On this journey, I hold onto to an interview I read from a Trinity University professor who interviewed Maya Angelou in 2007. Karen A. Waldron asked the amazing Angelou where she found the courage in her life to take risks. This was Angelou’s reply:
Years ago, I deduced that it costs everything to win, and that it costs everything to lose. So, if I didn’t take a risk, if I didn’t dare, then I would lose everything. And If I did take the risk, if I lost—I’d lose the same thing. But I might win. So, since everything is always at stake, I may as well risk everything for the good thing.
I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m with Dr. Maya Angelou—I’m ready to gamble on me!
Do you have a big dream? What’s a risk you’re ready to take?Leave a Comment