For the 164th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Shon and Jewel are owners of Noire Vino a win touring company introducing local wines in a fun setting!
4EVRGRN: Hey, NVT! Tell us a little about yourselves.
NVT: Noire Vino Tours is Washington State's only black owned Wine Tour Company. Our mission is to be community focused for wine enthusiasts, delivering diversity, and changing the essence of tasting rooms through culture and exploration. Jewel and Shon have been friends for over twenty-five years traveling both domestically and internationally. While in a stuffy and pretentious tasting room abroad, Shon and Jewel created Noire Vino Tours. In a moment of feeling unwelcome and othered in a space that does not often see black women taking up space, we decided to be the answer. There are less than 1% of black winemakers in the world and tasting rooms are a reflection of that number. We created a safe space to explore Washington wines and introduce people to their new favorite vintners. The journey is fun and while on the van, we talk about wine, we talk about our lives, we sing, we play games, we drink A LOT of wine and usually after a tour, strangers are swapping number and socials. When that happens, we know that we've met one of our goals of bringing the community together.
Shon has worked in corporate for over 25 years with a background in marking, a love for travel, basketball, and her French bulldogs. Jewel has worked in government for over 20 years and loves to laugh and to travel. They both are mothers of girls and wives of men who are often provided last minute notice of quick girl's getaway together.
- What makes PNW wine culture so unique?
NVT: The PNW is very unique; the people here are beautifully fascinating. When you have a unique place with beautifully fascinating people, the wine culture is going to mirror that. We've toured a lot of wineries and have seen a number of quirky setups, however in the PNW there is so much passion in all its queerness. That is our favorite part of the culture here.
- What should people know before booking a tour?
NVT: The tour is six hours. Almost like a shift at work, so please drink water the day before. Our routes vary and are curated for each tour group. We do not just jump on a van and head straight to Woodinville. There are so many great wineries throughout the state, so we take you on an adventure of discovery.
- What is a misconception about wine you want to debunk?
NVT: Wine is for everyone. It's not dependent on your social status, there are so many amazing inexpensive wines. We meet a lot of folks who say "umm.... I really don't like this type of wine" or in some cases wine at all (gasps...) And in response we say, "You just haven't met the right winemaker".
- What feedback do you get from people who have taken your tour?
NVT: The number one feedback that we get is that we've exceeded their expectations. When booking with us we do not provide our route until pick up, sometimes that is met with a little hesitation. We are bringing back the element of surprise and attempting to make it popular again. After the second stop it is funny because trust has been established and folks stop caring what comes next, although we announce it. People have also said that they needed that day to laugh and it felt like self-care.
- What is the most popular PNW wine?
NVT: The Cabernet Sauvignon, which happens to be a favorite of ours as well. I think because it is the number one grape grown in Washington and therefore folks are just consuming it heavily. It's just an all-around great wine.
- Where is your favorite place to sip?
NVT: Number one is my house, there's no judgment there. Heading south, Medicine Creek Winery and going north La'Shelle Wines and there are so many in between it is hard to choose a favorite. We live for a vibe. Any place that has wine that is wet, tastes good, and relaxes the spirit goes on the favorites list.
- After your tour, what is something people visiting the PNW should see or do?
NVT: Our first recommendation is to eat dinner first. We are based out of Tacoma so we recommend eating locally as soon as you arrive back; if there is a show at Super Funny you shouldn't miss that opportunity. Drinking wine all day, having a great dinner, and polishing it all off with a laugh; you can confidently repeat the lyrics of Ice Cube, "Today was a good day".
Book your tour at www.noirevinotours.com/ and follow the fun on IG: Noirevinotours//FB: Noirevinotours