We had the good fortune of connecting with Larissa Dubose and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Larissa, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
The Lotus & The Vines was created because of the lack of representation of people of color in the wine industry. I wanted to create a brand that was education based but still fun and approachable, so that people that looked like me could learn the soft skill of wine knowledge and wine etiquette. Wine can be intimidating. Seeing someone that looks like you share fun and factual tips will give you the tools to put your best personal and professional brand forward. That someone is me!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Lotus & The Vines (TLTV) is a lifestyle brand focused on wine education and wine lifestyle. We curate signature educational experiences, and create wine lifestyle merchandise. I founded The Lotus & The Vines in 2017 to redefine and disrupt wine culture by sharing the soft skill of wine knowledge and etiquette on a broader scale. Throughout my tenure in the wine and spirits industry, I had become frustrated with always being “the only one” in the room. I have had some amazing experiences in this industry and I wanted more people who looked like me to be exposed. I also wanted to empower individuals to put their best personal and professional brand forward. For me, wine is about community. I truly believe that by breaking down the enigma of the wine world with education, the wine industry will look more like my community. I’ve committed myself to learning as much as I can about wine; to be a credible educator and to share this my passion with a broader community. Wine is factual and can be intimidating. By creating content that is both approachable and fun, it takes some of the edge off for someone who is just starting their wine journey. I’m excited to see how our wine community has grown in the last three years, but there is still a long way to go. There have definitely been challenges along the way but I remain encouraged to keep going because I see the impact. Three years ago, I could count on one hand the amount of articles and press that featured Black wine professionals. That is not the case anymore. While I’m still “the only one” in the room many times, I’m optimistic that I’ll see more Black people and people of color in these spaces if I keep showing up and doing the work. The world needs to know that we as Black Wine Professionals are here and that we are an important part of the much needed growth the wine industry needs.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
This is a fun idea for when the world opens back up! I truly miss being able to go outside to play lol. Here is a list of SOME of the places I can’t wait to visit again and take my friends to that are all within a 20 minute drive (without traffic)! For Seafood: The Optimist, Beetlecat For BBQ: Fox Brothers For Soulfood: Twisted Soul For Sushi- Umi, Eight, & Oku For Ramen- Eight For Steak- Little Alley Steakhouse, Chops, Kevin Rathbun Brunch- Parish (this was unknowingly our last meal before the COVID shut down), Carroll Street Cafe, Four Seasons Pizza- Antico, Amazza Italian- Pasta da Pulcinella, La Grotta, a mano Hot Fried Chicken- Hattie B’s, Gus’s Jamaican- Negril Village, Miss Icey’s For a beautiful scene- The Garden Room For an exclusive vibe- Himitsu
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m blessed to have an amazing village full of people who have poured into me, encouraged me, and supported me. Starting at home, my Husband André has been my number one supporter! He encourages me through “perceived losses”, and cheers me on with the big wins. Some of my greatest campaigns were his idea. Having that kind of support is invaluable. In this wine space, I’ve made some wonderful relationships with some fierce women who I now affectionately reference as my Wine Sisters. We laugh, we cry, we lean on each other. They help keep me going on the tough days. They are (in no particular order) Sukari Bowman, owner of Love & Vines and The Color of Wine Podcast, Regine Rousseau, owner of Shall We Wine, Julia Coney, Wine Writer & founder of Black Wine Professionals, Shakera Jones, founder of Black Girls Dine Too, Kelly Mitchell, founder of Kelly Mitchell Wines, Jameelah Lewis, owner of Uncorked DC, and Whitney Blue, founder of Wine with Whitney. Each of these phenomenal ladies are a FORCE. I proudly shout them out and am grateful to sit front row in their journeys to make this wine world a space that truly reflects the world that we live in.
Krys Alex @krysalex