Sommelier Nadine Brown was born and raised along the shores of Jamaica and Puerto Rico. She came to the states to pursue a degree in social work. After working with children for a number of years she later moved to D.C. After months of trying to find a job in her field she took a job as a hostess at a new French restaurant opening on Capitol Hill. She had no previous restaurant experience and had every intention to return to social work. However, she fell in love with the hospitality industry. She quickly moved up from hostess to manager in a few short years. Nadine first came to wine by reading and found the history of wine fascinating and took her first wine captain course to help her be a better manager.
Today, Nadine is a twenty year veteran of the Washington, D.C. restaurant industry. She spent over 14 years at Charlie Palmer Steak as Wine Director and Sommelier. Nadine and her husband were managing partners of Society Fair, a boutique eatery in Alexandria Virginia, where she worked as General Manager and Sommelier. She is a two-time winner of the D.C. RAMMY’s Wine Program of the year for the region. Her palate won her the title of rising star from Star Chef in the summer of 2006. Nadine is a proud board member of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan D.C. and the nonprofit the Verasion Project. Nadine holds certifications from both the Court of Master Sommelier and WSET. She continues to be a mentor to many young professionals in the business. She is a mother of two rambunctious children, Estelle and Emerson who keep her on her toes daily.
The Veraison Project:
Founded by Julia Coney, Black Wine Professionals is a resource for wine industry employers and gatekeepers, professionals, and the food and beverage community. Our goal is to lift up the multifaceted Black professionals in the world of wine.
Black Wine Professionals was born out of necessity. For too long, Black Wine Professionals have been overlooked and absent from conversations, tastings, product marketing and much more. That changes now because we’re here and we aren’t going anywhere.
Black Wine Professionals will continue to grow as we expand our site to include event listings, educational resources, job postings, and a discussion forum. We look forward to partnering with companies and organizations committed to furthering our mission.
Julia Coney (Founder) is a Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas-based wine writer, wine educator, speaker, and consultant. Her wine writing includes stories on wine, winemakers, and the intersection of race, wine, and language. She holds a WSET Level Two Certification in Wine and Spirits and is currently pursuing her Master Level Champagne Certification with the Wine Scholar Guild and WSET Level Three Certification.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Thrillist, The Tasting Panel, Plate Magazine, Forbes.com, WineEnthusiast.com, The Washington Post, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine Searcher, the Financial Times, Jancisrobinson.com, Glamour, Essence, and numerous print and digital publications. Julia is a 2019 Fellow of the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Julia has spoken at conferences such as wine2wine, Assemblage Symposium, The Culinary Institute of American's Summit for Sommeliers and Beverage Professionals and Batonnage Forum. You can find her on all social media at @juliaconey.
Larissa C. Dubose (Director of Education), is a Certified Sommelier, and market-savvy Sales Manager with over 10 years of experience in the Wine, Spirits & Hospitality Industry. Larissa is currently a Senior On-Premise Manager who manages the sales and distribution goals for Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Larissa is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Level 3 Certified with WSET, and a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators.
Larissa has a thirst for education and will provide insight on seminars, books, and tools for fellow Black Wine Professionals to thrive. Larissa loves the factual aspect of wine and educates in a way that is organic, fun, approachable, inspiring, and authentic. You can find her on all social media at @lotusvinewine and her website thelotusandthevines.com
Shakera Jones (Community Liaison) of Black Girls Dine Too—a lifestyle brand, blog, and social media space—serves as a guide to the wonderful world of high-end food and wine; a need she identified from her own experiences exploring her passion for food, wine, and culture in this space. Shakera hosts bi-weekly virtual “tastings,” exploring grape varietals, production, and regions to broaden the palates of her followers through her welcoming teaching style and warm personality. A tech professional by day and wine student by night, she is currently studying to obtain certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers and Spanish Wine Scholar program with the Wine Scholar Guild. An aspiring wine journalist she has written pieces for Seven Fifty Daily and is one of the new cast members of SommTV.
Shakera thrives on bringing people together. In her role, Shakera will plan virtual BWP community events and when the world eventually opens up, in person BWP events. You can find her on all social media at @blackgirlsdinetoo
Maryam Ahmed (Chief T-Shirt Designer and Advisor to BWP) is a NY native based in Napa, CA. She has been in the food and beverage industry for over ten years. At the Culinary Institute of America, Maryam develops hands-on and thought-leadership programs for consumers that love food, wine and the planet. She is also the director of the annual CIA Summit for Sommeliers and Beverage Professionals. Maryam coaches and consults for socially conscious entrepreneurs to implement ideas, create experiences, and launch and scale their businesses.
Maryam has a degree in hotel administration as well as enology & viticulture. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a board member for The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and is one of Somm TV’s newest cast members.
Maryam is an advisor to BWP and chief t-shirt designer for our community. You can find Maryam on Instagram @goodfriendsgoodfood and through her website maryamahmed.co
Tammy Gordon (PR & Marketing Strategist and Advisor to BWP) is the founder of Verified Strategy, a social and digital-first public relations, communications and marketing agency based in Washington, DC. She works with companies, organizations and causes that want to build audience-driven communities.
Tammy is a perpetual WSET student, constantly learning more about the wine industry, but avoiding the actual test. A former spokesperson and publicist for the Office of Champagne, she is deeply committed to a future where wine is accessible to more people.
She can be found on Twitter: @tammy and Instagram: @tammygordon, usually posting about food, drink, travel and her dog, Ike.