In a white male dominated industry, Tiquette Bramlett is on a mission to change the status quo.
Bramlett is known as the first Black woman hired to run a winery in a major U.S. region, and she is proudly a Bay Area girl thriving in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Her love for wine began as a little girl; however, it wasn’t until a cancer diagnosis, that she realized a career in the wine industry is her passion.
In 2020, Bramlett started Our Legacy Harvested, an organization with the mission to “represent the diverse world of wine drinkers and professionals by educating, advancing and empowering the BIPOC community.” Our Legacy Harvested works with wine lovers at every career level to advance their expertise and provide resources and opportunities in the wine world.
Travel Noire had the chance to chat with Bramlett about her passion for wine, her vision for Our Legacy Harvested and her travel recommendations for the best tasting wines.
Travel Noire: How did your love for wine begin?
Tiquette Bramlett: My mom, I like to say, is a wine connoisseur. Growing up in California, we would take these little adventures, and I was always the kid in the tasting room asking a bunch of questions.
I’ve always been curious about wine and paid attention to the fact that there weren’t a lot of people that looked like us in the space. My parents were never phased by that. They always made space for themselves when they stepped into these rooms.
TN: What industry were you in before starting a career in wine?
TB: I was singing post-college. I was doing classical music when I got diagnosed with cancer. I had a lot of downtime after being diagnosed. During treatments, my mom gave me a wine bible. This is where my passion for wine grew. There was such a rich history in wine, and I loved reading about the stories and technicalities in wine.
Once my doctors cleared me, I took my first sommelier class. From there, I was all in.
TN: What inspired you to start Our Legacy Harvested?
TB: My family was my inspiration to start Our Legacy Harvested.
My grandfather was the first Black general contractor in California. A big thing for him was creating community and opportunity in a space that wasn’t ours. That always resonated with me. When I would ask him why he recruited the people that he did, he would say because it was “our legacy harvested.” People would look at him and not give him opportunities because of the color of his skin. He wanted to create opportunity for himself, pass it on and create that for others.
When I came into the wine industry, I would often be the only Black person in the room. I wanted more people who looked like me. I knew I wasn’t the only Black person who enjoyed wine. There wasn’t a lot of community for Black people in wine, so I decided I would build it.
It’s been really exciting to have the response that we’ve had and to welcome our first group of interns. The community has shown up for us and it’s been really amazing to see.
TN: Where do you see Our Legacy Harvested going in the next two years?
TB: The next two years are pretty exciting for us. Our ultimate goal is to have a campus here in Oregon, where interns can work from vine to wine and be in a classroom on one site.
I’m excited to take [Our Legacy Harvested] on the road and do events. Building community is such an important thing because we’ve been missing that for the last two years. There’s nothing like sitting in the same space with people, breaking bread and drinking wine together.
TN: Do you have any advice for Black people wanting to get into the wine industry, but are unsure of where to start?
TB: It starts with going to tastings and events. Engage in classes, be open to being in those places and meeting new people. Be open to what the experience is. Reach out to [Our Legacy Harvested] because we have resources for people and would love to get you connected. There is a community for you. We can plug you into different events happening in your area that you may not have known about.
There’s always a wine bar you can go into to figure out what your palette is like. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to wine.
TN: What are some of your favorite wineries around the world?
TB: I am a bubbles girl. I’ll be going to France at the end of next month, visiting Burgundy and Champagne, which will be very exciting.
I love the Willamette Valley. It’s where I chose to settle. Central California is a place I really enjoy. It’s a great hidden gem.
One of my bucket list places to get to is South Africa.
TN: Where should people travel to if they want to experience amazing wine?
TB: Come to the Willamette Valley. We really do have some great hidden gems up here. We are really fortunate to have that.
Go to France, New Zealand, and Australia. They have such special wines there.
South America has a lot of beautiful wines. It’s such a unique place to venture around and experience wine.
TN: How can we keep up with you and Our Legacy Harvested?
This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.