Meet Tiquette Bramlett, the first Black woman to be appointed to oversee a winery in the United States. She is currently leading Vidon Vineyard, a winery based in Oregon. That also makes her the first Black woman hired to lead a non-Black-owned winery in the country. The winery was founded in 1999 and recently had new owners.
“Tiquette’s extensive knowledge of all things wine, unique approach to hospitality, akin values, and immeasurable exuberance perfectly aligns with our ethos,” owners Erin and Dru Allen said in a news release. “We cannot wait to see what we accomplish together as we navigate the future of Vidon.”
Bramlett has been working in the wine industry since 2015. She started in the tasting room at Anne Amie Vineyards. She went on to become a brand ambassador at Abbey Creek Vineyard. What’s more, Bramlett is a passionate advocate for diversity in the wine industry and is also involved in nonprofits.
Bramlett grew up in Northern California. She often found herself in the company of her parents while they visit local vineyards. At the time, she was too young to take alcohol but was curious enough to ask questions to the steward behind the bar.
Tours around vineyards were not only restricted to Northern California. Her father hails from Holland and every summer, she visited her father’s family. They went on trips to places like France and Germany visiting wineries and learning more about wine.
Despite Bramlett’s childhood trips to wineries, working in the wine industry was not her first passion. She had wanted to pursue a career in opera. In this regard, she studied vocal performance at Chapman University and sang Carmina Burana at the Sydney Opera House when she was nineteen years old.
Unfortunately, she had an accident and was later diagnosed with thyroid cancer which affected her ability to sing and so she pivoted her love to wine. In 2015, she landed a job at Anne Amie Vineyards. She subsequently became the brand ambassador at Abbey Creek Vineyard in 2020, where she worked with Bertony Faustin, Oregon’s first Black winemaker.
According to reports, Bramlett secured her new role as the CEO of Vidon Vineyard during testing at Vidon with her mother. She started a conversation with the owners, Dru and Erin Allen. Through the conversation, the trio realized that their vision for the wine industry aligned.
In her new role, Bramlett will oversee the running of the company. She will be in charge of the tasting room, manage budgets, work with the winemakers on rollouts and production, among others. When asked about her experience in the wine industry, she said: “It comes with its fair share of challenges, right? And I think that that is part of the nature of being a Black woman in the industry.”
“There are assumptions made. But the fun part for me is letting people know that’s not the case,” she told Wine Spectator. “I come from an interracial family. Having the uncomfortable conversation is secondhand to us, and I’m very comfortable having those conversations. I’m not going to sit there and call somebody out. But I will call you in, and we’ll have an honest conversation about it, with no hard feelings.”