NewsSheila Johnson And Chef Kwame Onwuachi On D.C. Wine Culture

Sheila Johnson And Chef Kwame Onwuachi On D.C. Wine Culture

Salamander Resort & Spa wants to redefine Washington D.C.’s culinary scene with an upcoming groundbreaking collaboration.

Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET, ventured into the hospitality industry by launching a Virginia-based hotel. Over a decade, her collection has expanded significantly. The newest addition, Salamander Washington, D.C., has unveiled insights into the evolving wine culture, culinary fusion, and a new approach to hospitality within the region.

“We’re excited to offer our guests a distinctive atmosphere defined by inclusion, kindness, and warmth,” shared Janelle Burt, marketing manager at Salamander D.C.

An event featuring a captivating lunch showcasing the upcoming culinary fusion at Salamander’s new location and an intimate wine-tasting led by Bob Rupy, a respected winery owner and winegrower from Loudoun, took center stage.“At October One Vineyard, we’ve built an experience-based operation,” explains Rupy. Committed to engaging with the community, October One provides tasting opportunities in downtown Leesburg, inviting people to taste, explore, and learn about Virginia’s wine country history.For African Americans keen on exploring wine culture, the Virginia Wine Trail offers an inviting avenue for cultural discovery.“I’m thrilled that Loudoun—DC’s Wine Country®—is leading in creating unique and meaningful experiences,” says Beth Erickson, President and CEO of Visit Loudoun.

Representation and Engagement:

Visit Loudoun’s marketing centers on authentic storytelling—presenting the people of Loudoun and those behind their businesses through content and videos.

“We recognize today’s diverse consumer base,” Beth Erickson, president and CEO of Visit Loudoun, told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “We extend an inclusive invitation, but how we deliver on that promise matters. Observing diversity reflected in our tasting rooms confirms our messaging is resonating.”

Source: Wine tasting at Stone Tower Winery. Photo Credit: Visit Loudon

The Virginia Wine Trail stands out for its efforts in representation and engagement, acknowledging and celebrating the diversity of wine consumers. It actively engages with African American communities, providing platforms for appreciation, education, and participation in the winemaking process. This intentional outreach aims to foster a more inclusive and diverse wine culture where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued and embraced.

Rich History and Inclusivity of Virginia’s Wine Trail:

The Virginia Wine Trail boasts a rich historical significance and inclusive approach, resonating deeply with African American wine enthusiasts. Historically, African Americans played a pivotal role in the country’s viticulture, dating back to their involvement as vineyard laborers for Thomas Jefferson.

Within Visit Loudoun’s efforts to create a welcoming environment, a key pillar has been industry training to ensure comfort for individuals from all backgrounds. There’s a focused training approach across the industry spectrum.

“A simple wine tasting might entail pouring wine in a glass while mentioning the varietal,” explains Erickson.

“That might meet some guests’ expectations, but that’s not our approach here in Loudoun. We collaborate closely with the community and Black business leaders to tailor industry training, addressing potential blind spots.”

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Source: Black Enterprise


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