You Never Forget Your First Wine

Wine experts from across the industry talk wine and connection

Wine has a funny way of connecting people. And maybe by funny that means it makes you a bit funnier or it could be that you feel a little more open to the conversation once you’re down the bottleneck. But it is undoubtedly more than glass clinking—it’s usually an experience to be shared. We asked a few people we admire from across the industry about their experience with wine, how they were introduced to it, what it means to them, and most importantly what bottle they’re bringing over to share with us.

Jermaine Stone

Founder of Cru Luv Wine, Host of “Wine and Hip Hop”

“I was first introduced to wine by my mother. She would include Manischewitz wine in a Caribbean holiday drink called Sorrel. I definitely moved on to grow my palate but Sorrel at Christmas time was my intro. Wine has taught me to become a citizen of the world. If you truly enjoy wine you won’t stick to just one country or region.”

For the first wine: White Burgundy. If we drink together, you’ll drink well, period.

Jermaine Stone, Founder of Cru Luv Wine, Host of "Wine and Hip Hop"

Gabriella Macari, Director, Macari Vineyards

Gabriella Macari

Director, Macari Vineyards

“My grandparents introduced me to wine and I have learned that much more goes into the glass than people assume.”

For the first wine: Champagne and our new Pet Nat, “HORSES.”


Regine Rousseau

Founder/CEO Shall We Wine, Inc.

“I was studying in Besançon, France, when one of our host families introduced me to wine. I don’t remember my first kiss, but the first sip of Bordeaux that transformed me from novice to enthusiast is forever a part of me. Wine has taught me that I will never know all there is to know about the subject. To pursue a wine education is a lifelong journey. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride.”

For the first wine: For someone I know well; Brancaia 2016 IL Blu. For someone new, it has to be bubbles.

Regine Rousseau, Founder/CEO Shall We Wine, Inc.

Roberto Ruscito, Export Manager at Castiglion del Bosco

Roberto Ruscito

Export Manager at Castiglion del Bosco

“Without any doubt, it was my grandpa, when I was still a little kid and he used to bring me with him on his tractor through the Trebbiano vineyard. Such a heart filling memory. Through the years I’ve learned that too often people judge wines as they do with people: with prejudices! First impressions are important but we shouldn’t be too superficial. From this perspective I learned to give myself more time to build my own opinions and also not to be scared of changing my mind…about wines…and people!”

For the first wine: Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino, 2016 or De Fermo Le Cince Cerasuolo.


Nick Jackson

Master of Wine

“I was introduced to wine at Cambridge University Wine Society. One thing I’ve come to learn is that good wine generates humility among drinkers.”

For the first wine: Red Burgundy.

Nick Jackson of Master of Wine

Cherayne Metz, Trade Marketing Manager, Ste Michelle Wine Estates

Cherayne Metz

Trade Marketing Manager, Ste Michelle Wine Estates

“My first experience with wine was with college roommates and White Zinfandel; my palate has thankfully changed since then. But wine has taught me that you like what you like and that is all that matters when it comes to wine. It doesn’t matter what the experts say is the best, all that matters is that you enjoy what you are drinking. Also that there is a wine for every occasion; mix it up depending on your location, food, mood.”

For the first wine: For the dinner party with a good friend I am bringing Col Solare Cabernet Sauvignon. With new friends, Liquid Light Sauvignon Blanc.


Eric Moorer

Wine Club Coordinator at Domestique

“Blair Halpin was the person at my first restaurant job in Pittsburgh who was most interested in wine. I wouldn’t say our tastes always lined up, but he conveyed information with such passion that I couldn’t help but be interested.

The biggest thing that wine has taught me over the years is that the more you know, the less you know. Wine isn’t a competition to show off your wealth of knowledge, it’s about enjoying what’s in front of you, hopefully with people that you also care about.”

For the first wine: Virtually every example of this. Chenin Blanc, most likely from the Loire. Though I’ve had some wonderful examples from California that I wouldn’t hesitate to put on the table.

Eric Moorer, Wine Club Coordinator at Domestique

Victoria James, Director of Beverage, COTE NYC / Miami, Author, Sommelier

Victoria James

Director of Beverage, COTE NYC / Miami, Author, Sommelier

“My grandmother Willie used to read romance novels on the porch and sip White Zinfandel (from the box!)—and it was my job to fill up her cup when she was low. Every now and then nine-year-old Victoria would sneak a watery sip, thrilled by the pink beverage. Years later as a sommelier my tastes would evolve beyond boxed-blush wine from California, but this childhood delight still remains with me.

I now know that wine is this magical elixir that captures a sense of place and time—nothing else compares. It can only be made once a year and represents this mystic notion of terroir. I love that one sip can bring you to steep-sloped vineyards overlooking the Mediterranean, or speak of a sunny, hot year in California. It’s transcendent, and can bring communities together.”

For the first wine: Champagne—always!