We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Mallari and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole, what role has risk played in your life or career?
To be honest I feel like I’ve played it safe most of my life. From high school to graduate school , and into my public service career. I told myself that I had to check off certain boxes and that would lead to a fulfilling life and career. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished but I don’t feel that I took any risks until now. During the pandemic I had this wake up call. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel. There was an overwhelming desire to make a change or be left with regret. I decided to take a risk and pursue something that I’m excited about, and that’s celebrating Black winemakers, merchants and negociants.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
VINTNOIR is a wine and lifestyle brand, curating excellence and celebrating the culture of wine. We offer amazing wines through a subscription service from exclusive yet underrepresented winemakers. I’m most excited about sharing Black wine brands and their stories with all consumers. There are 11,000 wineries in the United States and less than 1% of them are Black owned or have Black winemakers. I was a wine enthusiast for over twenty years before I was aware that Black vintners existed. This discovery sparked the fire within me to learn more about the enjoyment of wine. I want consumers to know that wine is for everyone.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Though I live in the Bay Area, what I love about LA is there are so many options for food and entertainment, but I would have to place 1010 Wine and Events at the top of the itinerary. It’s Inglewood’s first and only wine bar with the largest selection of Black owned wines. I loooove the beach so we would have to take a day to visit Venice Beach, people watch and enjoy the weather. A stop at Porto’s Bakery is also a must. I’m in love with their dulce de leche cookies. We’re definitely getting some shopping in, so a visit to the Fashion District is on the itinerary. Brunch somewhere and a couple days of lounging would make the visit perfect!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve been fortunate to have the encouragement of family and friends. When it comes to wine, I owe my inspiration to Theodora Lee and my foundation of support and mentorship to The Association of African American Vintners, The Hue Society and some amazing Black Wine Entrepreneurs. I am really amazed at the community I belong to.

Website: www.vintnoir.com

Instagram: @vintnoir

Facebook: @vintnoir

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