As the year 2020 ends, The Chicago Defender reached out to black-owned wine and liquor companies to learn what makes a great wine or champagne. As many choose to celebrate the new year at home or at smaller, more intimate gatherings, wine and champagne make great gifts for friends, collegues, and those who play host for these celebratory occasions. Rick Nesco of Vintrendi Wines, Brian Duncan, Wine specialist at Beverage Shoppe, and Chrishon Lampley of Love, Cork Screw Wines spoke with the Defender about choosing the best wines for the holiday season.
What goes into choosing a great wine or champagne when gift-giving?
Rick Nesco, Vintrendi Wines: When choosing a wine, it is generally difficult to select a wine for someone else unless you know what style of wine the person likes. Wine taste profiles range dramatically, but you would be safe choosing a sweet wine or wine beverage during the holiday season because the holidays are all about enjoying life and indulging a little more than any other season.
Chrishon Lampley, Love Cork Screw: It is important to know your wine drinker. Find out if they like sweet, dry, red, or white. Usually, unique labels may spark a memory or a feeling, like Good Times Good Friends or gift sets that will offer a variety.
Brian Duncan, Kimbark Beverage Shoppe: Sparkling wines and champagne, while delicious all year round, perform brilliantly throughout the holidays. Also, they are the most versatile wines with a broad range of food preparations and cuisines. If you are giving a gift or entertaining, handing someone bubbles makes guests and recipients feel special. We have gift boxes for Billecart-Salmon, Laurent-Perrier, Veuve-Clicquot, Dom Perignon, Krug, and Perrier-Jouet.
For impressing and gifting domestic red wine lovers, I recommend our California and Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon offerings. For the adventurous and international palate, we carry some of the most sought-after Italian, French, and Spanish producers as well as organic, biodynamic, and vegan offerings.
Each of these black-owned wine and liquor businesses offers something special for customers this holiday season.
Rick Nesco, owner and founder of Vintrendi Wines in Park Forest, aimed to create wines without rules. He wanted wines that simply tasted good. With uniquely flavored wines such as Toffee, Almond, Blueberry, Chocolate, and Chocolate Cherry, he designs wines for a unique customer. This black-owned wine company creates and packages its wines in their Park Forest location. Vintrendi Wines are also sold in select Binny’s stores and other local retailers. In addition to custom gift baskets and wine club memberships, Vintrendi offers two wines perfect for celebrating the season.
Rick Nesco: Our Vintrendi Winter Wine is crafted especially for the winter holiday season. It is a sweet red wine infused with spices that you mull (heat like tea or coffee) and serve your guests. The cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are all traditional flavors in Holiday cuisine and this type of wine. It is a comforting wine made for cold winter nights.
We have another offering, Ms. Vera’s Old-Fashioned Crème. It is made from 100% dairy cream and infused with brandy, the alcoholic derivative of wine. It is sweet, smooth, and creamy and tastes like a liquid dessert. If you like Eggnog, you will love our Old Fashioned Crème because it is made to reflect our background and tastes. Both wines will pair well with holiday desserts like sweet potato pie, pound cake, banana pudding, and on their own.
Consumers can visit Vintrendi Wines at 339 Main St., Park Forest, IL, or order online at www.vintrendiwines.com/shop.html.
Kimbark Beverage Shoppe is a staple in the Hyde Park Community since 1963. They offer a wide selection of wines, champagnes, and spirits from all over the world. Kimbark’s diverse collection also features organic, biodynamic, and vegan offerings. Jonathan T. Swain is the President and Principal of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe and Eat Drink and Be Events. This holiday season, Kimbark offers 15% off wine from Black-Owned Wine companies when you mix and match 6 bottles through the end of the year. Kimbark is showcasing an impressive collection of black-owned wines featuring a wide variety of styles and producers, including:
- Maison Noir- André Mack
- D Wade-Duane Wade
- McBride Sisters
- LVE- John Legend
- Sun Goddess- Mary J. Blige
- Alex Cooper Project-Rodney Alex
- Longevity-Phil Long
- Cheurlin Champagne-Isiah Thomas
- Love Cork Screw-Chrishon Lampley
- The Duke of Earl
Kimbark offers online ordering and delivery services, as well. Visit their website at www.kimbarkbeverageshoppe.com or their Hyde park location at 1214 E 53rd Street, Chicago, IL.
Love Cork Screw Wines seek to accentuate the five senses – titillate the palate, stimulate the tactile, and arouse the aural and the aroma. You can find Love, Cork, Screw Wines in Mariano’s, Whole Foods, Target, and small retail stores. With wines such as Hard Knock Life, We Go High, and We’re Moving on Up, owner Chrishon Lampley created wines that tell a story. Love Cork Screw offers a Deluxe Wine Set, a Wine and Cheese Gift Set, and Wine Retreat Gift set perfect for the wine lover in your life on their website, www.lovecorkscrew.com
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.