During the month of February, Vinequity will feature black wine professionals in the industry making a difference. By no means are the icons we feature here the extent of the list of black change agents, but let us introduce you to a few to get started.
Let us introduce you to Shae Frichette, Co-Owner & Co-Winemaker
Vineyard: Frichette Winery
Location: Washington, USA
V: How did you land in the wine industry?
SF: I spent 20 fun years in training and development, but once my husband Greg and I decided to start a family, we wanted to move from CA closer to our families. My family is in S.C. and his in WA. We couldn't agree on which state to relocate to so we flipped a coin to decide. The coin landed on heads, which was the WA option. So, we packed our bags for WA. We wanted to do something that gave us both goosebumps and we enjoyed wine, so we thought we'd give winemaking a try. After completing a wine program and enlisting a mentor, we jumped right in.
V: If you were a wine grape, what would that be, and why?
SF: I'd be Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab Sauv in our area is resilient and flexible. Its strong flavors and characteristics still show even in the coolest of vintages we've experienced. It grows well, ripens evenly, and makes for a smooth and fun wine.
V: What is your favourite food and wine pairing?
SF: I am really into Moroccan food right now and Malbec marries so well with flavors and depth of a Moroccan spiced lamb stew.
V: Who are some of the people, industry or not, that inspire you the most?
SF: My inspiration for increasing my contribution to winemaking for Frichette and creating the Sashay label was seeing black women in wine like Theodora Lee of Theopolis and Chrishon Lampley with Love Cork Screw. I am also inspired by Charlie Hoppes of Fidelitas Wines and Kristine Bono-Gimse of Tertulia Cellars.
V: Any advice for black wine professionals who would like to make it to the top of the industry?
SF: There is some great education available. Seek it and continue to learn. There are so many areas of wine and lots of opportunities to improve the industry. Find what is the best fit and run to it.
V: Anything you would like us to promote or amplify?
SF: I'm a big fan of pink wine and am finding that I enjoy making it too. I have a Prerelease for the Sashay rose for the first two weeks of February and I'm so proud of this vintage. It's exactly what I'm aiming to make. and I can't wait to share it.
Thank you, Shae Frichette, for sharing with us!