Wine Tasting Straight out of The Bronx

Bronx native Jermaine Stone, aka “The Wolf Wine,” grew up far from the world of wine and fine food. But that hasn’t stopped him from making a name for himself as a wine connoisseur, food lover and ambassador for the finer culture. In Street Somm, a show he hosts on Tastemade, Stone travels the country to explore mouth-watering eats and the story behind them. He also finds unexpected wine pairings around every corner – in New York City, Savannah, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Miami. At each destination, he introduces food experts who teach Stone about the culture behind the city’s food and wine scene.

What makes the show stand out is Stone’s musings about his background as a first-generation American and Black wine expert, telling Beyondish: “The same way that I’ve blended cultures on my podcast, Wine and Hip Hop, I get to blend wine and cuisines across the country in Street Somm.

“Filming season one of the show has been a life changing experience that I can’t wait to share with the world, helping me achieve my mission of redefining American wine culture and changing the way people that look like me are viewed all over the globe.”

Here’s more from our conversation.

This new show sounds like a really great adventure. How did you go about choosing the areas you would travel to?

Working on Street Somm has been a lot of fun. The show focuses on cities that are known food hubs, so it started with a wish list of everything and everywhere we wanted to eat. The team at Tastemade has been such a pleasure to work with. They really did all the heavy lifting, curating options for me to pick from. It’s a big crew, so it was a collaborative effort among people who were extremely knowledgeable and loved food.

Can you tell us what makes each of these locations so unique and what sets them apart from the other?

No two cities are the same. We don’t just get to know the city through food. There’s also a themed narrative around the characteristics that define the cities. For example, in San Francisco we were able to identify its roots stemmed from people being change-makers.

How did you discover your passion for wine, and what made you want to go on a mission of redefining the American wine culture?

I started in the wine auction industry very young, straight out of the Bronx. However, as much as there were many elements that made me feel different, there were plenty of things that made me feel comfortable; elements in wine culture that I could connect to hip-hop. Many of the things artists described in their music I was able to experience firsthand. I related to my favorite rappers, such as Biggie talking about escargot or fancy restaurants with live music from stringed instruments. After being in the auction business for 13 years, I decided to bring both of my passions together and start Cru Luv, a creative agency dedicated to blending wine and hip-hop at the highest level.

How did you get your nickname the Wolf of Wine?

I became the Wolf of Wine because of my role in wine auction logistics. I was basically a fixer like Harvey Keitel’s character “Vincent Wolf” from the movie “Pulp Fiction.” When you’re dealing with products as rare, irreplaceable and volatile to damage as fine wine, there are all sorts of problems you can run into. From stolen property to customs to delays, to spoiled shipments, or needing to replace something quickly to close a deal, I was the person who knew how to make the impossible possible. Therefore, early on in my career one of my bosses mentioned that I was like the wolf from “Pulp Fiction” because people called me to make problems go away. And I handled them with great temperament and distinction.

What do you find most exciting about this new show? And what do you hope viewers will take away from the experience?

The most exciting thing is how approachable it is. I truly think that this will bring more people into wine culture, as well as help the people who are already a part bring their defenses down a little bit about what they can and can’t do with wine.

Did you have a favorite location, or favorite wine or dish you sampled on the journey?

It’s difficult to pair down one location or experience as my favorite, however one did stand out to me a lot. I had a chance to do a food and wine pairing in the studio with Bun B, as well as kick a few verses myself. That pairing was one of the best. I’ll leave that to the audience to go check out for themselves on Street Somm.

Is there a destination on your wish list to travel to next?

I would love to take Street Somm international. France has long been my favorite country to drink wine in. I’m sure I can stir up some trouble out there.

Do you have any advice for someone new to discovering wine?

Try stuff!! Wine offers such a wide variety of expressions and styles from all over the world that you could occupy a lifetime trying them all.

Favorite wine and food pairing?

ALWAYS Jamaican beef patties with coco bread and Pinot Noir. At this point I’ve tried this with several different expressions from Blanc De Noir to German Pinot Noir. Those red fruit flavors and the spices of the beef are amazing. The acidity cuts through the texture of the coco bread.


Elizabeth Hazard

Elizabeth Hazard is a writer, producer and photography editor. Her work has appeared in various publications and she writes frequently about art, culture, fashion and history.



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