Conversation Series Begins Tuesday, August 4 with Carlton McCoy, CEO of Heitz Cellar
New York, NY (July 27, 2020)—Wine Spectator, the world’s leading authority on wine, today announced that its popular Instagram Live series, Straight Talk, will feature prominent Black professionals in the wine industry throughout the month of August. Launched in early April amid widespread COVID-19 shutdowns to shed light on the changes and challenges the wine and food industries are facing, Straight Talk has since broadened in scope as well as expanded into regularly scheduled programming.
The August conversations will spotlight Black voices in the wine industry, featuring sommeliers, winemakers, vineyard managers and other industry leaders every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 pm ET. Executive editor Thomas Matthews and senior editor James Molesworth will conduct the live chats.
- Aug. 4: Carlton McCoy, CEO of Heitz Cellar—McCoy is a Master Sommelier and former wine director at Grand Award–winning restaurant the Little Nell.
- Aug. 6: Mac McDonald, owner and winemaker of Vision Cellars—The Sonoma-based winemaker is also the founder and chairman of the Association of African American Vintners, a voice for Black-owned wineries and winemakers.
- Aug. 11: Brenae Royal, vineyard manager, Monte Rosso Vineyard—Royal manages one of California’s most historic vineyards which dates to the late 1800s, and is now owned by E. & J. Gallo.
- Aug. 13: Will Blackmon, former NFL star and owner of The Wine MVP—Nicknamed “The NFL Wine Guy,” Blackmon is a former Super Bowl champion who founded the client-based service which covers personal wine buying, educational opportunities, private events and a monthly subscription wine box.
- Aug. 18: Julia Coney, journalist and educator in the wine industry—Coney has been writing and teaching about wine since 2016; she recently founded Black Wine Professionals, devoted to finding and developing talented new voices in the industry.
- Aug. 20: André Heuston Mack, sommelier, vintner and writer—Mack has explored every aspect of the wine industry, from sommelier (at Grand Award winner Per Se in New York) to vintner and négociant (founding Maison Noir wines in 2007) to restaurateur and wine shop owner in Brooklyn.
- Aug. 25: Terry Arnold, senior vice president, human resources, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS)—With approximately 20,000 employees, SGWS is the nation’s largest distributor; Arnold, a former U.S. Army Captain, is responsible for developing and implementing policies to manage and motivate this team.
- Aug. 27: Tonya Pitts, wine director, One Market Restaurant in San Francisco—Pitts, who also worked at Zuni Café and Stars in San Francisco, oversees a 600-selection wine list that holds the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. She serves on the Advisory Board of Wine Unify.
All previous episodes are archived on Wine Spectator’s IGTV channel for viewing anytime. Watch Straight Talk on Wine Spectator’s Instagram page every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. The full and up-to-date guest schedule can be viewed at WineSpectator.com.
About Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches around 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the web’s most comprehensive wine site (WineSpectator.com), mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 15,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications, Inc., also publishes Cigar Aficionado, Whisky Advocate, Market Watch, Shanken News Daily and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.