I remember being about eight years old sitting at the dinner table one Thanksgiving evening, sharing our blessings and gratitude. As usual, our family would each have a glass of wine or champagne to toast with as a tradition if you were of age of course. This meant that us kids would get treated to sparkling grape juice for the night so we could at least pretend that we were drinking the same as the grownups. Being the curious and stubborn little kid that I was, I would not stop bugging my mother for a sip until she gave in claiming that I would hate it either way, hoping that I would be disgusted and never ask again. I took my first sip and fell in love, not only as it tradition but it sparked a level of interested in me that I will never forget.
Flashforward to March of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic surrounding coronavirus, I was unfortunately furloughed by my previous employer while still studying for my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Old Dominion University. I was bored, had downloaded the app Tik-Tok and found that I was in a routine where I could squeeze in plenty of downtime (who didn’t during quarantine am I right?). I decided that it would be an interesting activity to learn about wine to keep me busy as I knew that it would time consuming and it would allow for me to get creativity out. I also enjoyed the idea that I would be purchasing wine and I would get to taste it at home as an educational experience which made me feel a little bit better about being home all day long. The very first grape varietal that I studied was Prosecco, I was so stunned at how different it was from the well-known Champagne. I used to not be able to understand what the difference was because to me, at the time, they were both yummy, dry, white, sparkly wine. This snowballed into a massive obsession with the different grape varietals, I was learning what tannins were, what acidity was, what a body meant within wine- I was dumbfounded.
I would often go on different social media platforms to gather information on wine that I could include in my wine educational bullet journal. One day, I was scrolling through Instagram looking for fun and cute infographics that I could use to study from when I came across a wine Instagram. I was truly amazed at the photography I found, the creative photoshoots presented dedicated to solely wine, the educational information presented about wine and more. I think what shocked me the most was being introduced into what we call the ‘wine community’. I was amazed to see so many different wine lovers out there in the world with an entire Instagram dedicated to wine- I thought it was amazing. I had never once thought of dedicating an entire social media account to my wine journey and education, the idea was truly revolutionary.
Since then, I decided to create a wine account that would reflect my wine education journey and as well as what I believed that wine helped represent or promote. I believed that the wine life and the wine culture influenced a time where people could slow down, sit and enjoy one’s another company without any worry of their jobs, responsibilities and more. This mindfulness approach reminded me of Southern Europe, the culture, the wine, the people, the weather. I imagined sandy beaches, patio tables and chairs with gorgeous sunsets, ice blue waves and the smell of summer. This is the idea that I wanted to carry with me in creating my social media account, being heavily influenced by Southern Italy, went with the Italian translation of ‘Cheers’ which is ‘Salute’ and along came the creation of my account @saluteandwine.
Joining the wine community was quite literally the best thing that could ever happen to me. I was introduced to a massive group of women and men that both shared my interest and passion for wine and photography, I couldn’t believe that other people did all of this for fun too. I found accounts that I was so inspired by who created some of the most creative and original content I’ve seen. Not only did I get to meet people like myself and people that inspired me to keep going, but I was able to be a part of a community that represented not only wine lovers, but represented and empowered Latinas in wine. The statistics of recognition of Latinas in wine is unfortunately too low for the actual number of Latinas involved in wine. I was able to find a community that encouraged more recognition and empowerment for Latinas and was lucky enough to be able to join their ambassador group. I consider myself lucky, empower, supported and encouraged. I have the best community surrounding me and the sky is the limit.
As for the future, I hope to one day host my own wine tasting events virtually and in person (once we have the pandemic settled and dealt with of course). I really hope to continue to encourage other female and male wine lovers throughout their own mind journey as well. I would love to continue down the path of education in regard to wine and just see where it takes me.
As of right now, I am loving creating fun content for my wine Instagram and for other wine brands. I am enjoying supporting wineries and wine brands by creating content for them and further promoting their business. I am still in my own journey trying to taste all the wine I can get my hands on, it’s been a goal of mine to try different varietals that I haven’t tried before. Despite this goal, I would say that my favorite wine varietal would have to be Bordeaux blends. I seriously cannot get enough of them, I always tend to reach for a Bordeaux Blend wherever I am buying wine along side a new varietal. All in all, I am so excited to continue to grow as a person throughout my wine journey and it supports everybody else as well and their own!
Note from editor: Emy is part of the first cohort of Latinas Wine Club Ambassadors. She is located in the MDV area and strengthening our community in the Virginia/ D.C. area. Follow her at @saluteandwine