Sheltering: Victoria James Uses Her Voice as a Defense Weapon
The Author of Wine Girl Talks to Maris Kreizman
(feat. Rocko, the Dog!)
On this episode of Sheltering, Victoria James speaks with Maris Kreizman about her recent memoir, Wine Girl, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of America’s youngest sommelier. James is currently the beverage director and partner at Cote, a Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse in New York which is still delivering both food and wine during shelter-in-place. James recommends her favorite wine to pair with reading Wine Girl (Domaine de la Tour Vielle, for those out there who are thirsty) and what a “basic bitch” wine means. Please purchase Wine Girl online from your local bookstore or through Bookshop.
From the episode:
Maris Kreizman: So tell me a little bit more about the title of your book, Wine Girl. When I was reading it, I just couldn’t believe it—people actually called you that!
Victoria James: The title of the book is a kind of reclamation of the term people used to call me: “wine girl.” And it wasn’t just customers, it was bosses and coworkers. Customers would say things like, “oh i guess they only send over real sommeliers when you buy the more expensive bottles” or something like that … After years of being frustrated at being called this, this was an effort at reclamation and also to show the pain that comes with it.
Maris: Of course, you have every right to be there. You worked really hard and don’t deserve to be belittled…
Victoria: Yes, definitely—and the biggest thing I’m trying to do is make sure other women feel the same way. I cofounded a nonprofit called wine empowered that offers tuition-free wine classes for women and people of color in the hospitality industry. The goal is to make people feel like they belong. So we try to get to the margins of society (the wine industry is a real all boys club) and make sure those diverse voices feel safe and heard.