My name is J.R. In 2009 I innocently left an honest but hushed life in the Florida panhandle to sling tequila in Austin, Texas. Later, I swiveled from long nights of endless limes and salted rims to work in wine. It was here that an incurable curiosity was born. I dragged myself through the trenches of several certifications, drank my teeth purple, learned to spit, and came out the other side a victim of my own continuous thirst. I’ve worked as a wine buyer, harvest hand, educator, bartender, somm and am currently in the throes of learning what it means to advocate for our industry.
I started this website pre-pandemic to celebrate everything liquid, but quickly pivoted post-furlough when I saw an enormous need in our hospitality community. I love a good wine and am creatively loyal to a well-balanced cocktail recipe, but my heart has landed in transformation and advocacy. At the end of 2020 I had the privilege of sharing my abusive experiences with the court of master sommeliers with the New York Times, and frankly nothing has been the same since. Navigating that harm stirred in me an urgency that I did not anticipate. We have a lot of work to do, communally, if we want to live and work in humane hospitality spaces.
I tip my glass to Texas, and propose an industry that recognizes harm, that holds one another accountable, that devours education with joy and that moves towards equity. I’ll hold here what I have to offer: community resources, a continual un-learning, and my authentic self. This is what I hope to build up in the spirit of Austin.