Vintner Nicole Kearney on wine, food and celebrating every day

by | People, Q&A

By Brian Garrido

It was the gift of a wine refrigerator that led vintner Nicole Kearney to host her first home wine tasting and marked the beginning of her journey as a wine professional. Eventually, she created a tasting business featuring wines from around the globe, and customers dubbed her the ‘Wine Lady.” Kearney found joy in helping people expand their palates, so much so that guests and friends suggested she become a winemaker herself. Now she is the owner of Sip & Share Wines, one of three black-owned wineries in Indiana.

Sip & Share became a licensed winery in 2018 focused on producing a diverse range of vegan wines, and Kearney’s business took off with her popular handcrafted sangrias. Today, she uses grapes purchased from California’s San Joaquin Valley to handcraft her products, offering consumers a range that includes sparkling wines, chardonnay, zinfandel and red blends. 

What made you want to become a vintner? I grew up in Europe and learned about wine, but drinking it is seen as an elite pastime in the United States. It’s kept black and brown people out of the industry. I want to see more people of color enjoying wine as an everyday option.  

What is your go-to wine? I’m more in the cava/prosecco stage of my life. We can celebrate every day. 

What is your favorite food and wine pairing? My all-time favorite pairing is our Gratitude Red Blend paired with a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich from a friend’s place, PB & J Factory [located at the AMP in Indianapolis]. 

What do you like to cook for you and your family? I wouldn’t say I like to cook, but when I do, it’s seafood boil or seafood pasta. 

If you could choose a place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you drink? I would go to French Lick. I’ve never been there, but I heard it’s a charming resort place to get away, and I heard they have a wonderful wine menu. 

If you could go anywhere in the world, what would you drink? I would go to South Africa to the wine region and drink chenin blanc, and I would eat whatever is the local fare.

What items are always in your fridge? I always have two wines: Intention, the Riesling I make, and Gratitude, my red blend. Those are my two staples. 

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