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Black History Month & Upcoming Event Features

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Hi Wine Lover,

The Shall We Wine team is excited to share our monthly newsletter. Our goal is to introduce you to our favorite wines, winemakers, varietals, wine regions and places to buy and drink wine.


The Shall We Wine Team


Being a Black Entrepreneur myself it's important to take part in celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of our community, from academia to art and all in-between. This is not limited to simply 1 month out of 12. It's continuous.

Throughout the year, Shall We Wine highlights businesses we're enthusiastic about, including those related to the Black Experience. You'll find vast offerings out there from various sources, much more than we are even able to feature. But want to just learn more? Start somewhere; start here with us - with a company named as one of the 10 Black-Owned Businesses You Should Be Visiting in Chicago.

Here are a few of those we've featured so far this month:

Chef Lisa Shaw of Lisa's Boutique Catering
Licataa lambrusco

as highlighted in our Wine of the Week Tea Party

Mount Peak Gravity Red Blend

as highlighted as part of our Wine of the Week segment

Stay tuned for our other special wine highlights this month! Make sure to follow us on social media to see who else else we feature! Keep up the support.

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2/14 - Check me out of The Jam TV Show.

2/14 & 2/15 - Was the guest sommelier for two events at Flowers for Dreams (Hubbard Street, Chicago).

2/17 - Check me out as the special guest on The Mic Check with Dorian H. Nash

2/19 - Hosted a private event for my sister Dr. Marcia Chatelain's New Book: Franchise!

2/20 - Spoke to OutCome Health about my entrepreneurial journey, as well as host a wine tasting featuring AA wines.



3/11 - I will be guest the sommelier for a Bien Abyé event in honor of Women's History Month. Maison de la Région Occitanie - New York, NY. Click here to purchase tickets!

A TAILOR-MADE WINE TRIP ALERT: We are taking 10-14 wine lovers on a Customized Tours Ultimate - Andalucia Labor Day Getaway 2020! Drink and eat through the cities of Málaga, Ronda, Jerez, Sevilla, Jaén, and Granada!

Interested in getting more info? E-mail us at!

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It always feels good to be back at the alma mater! I spoke at mine, Francis W. Parker School, to talk about my journey and the impact of labels when setting out to achieve your goals.

"Parker alumnus Regine Rousseau: Class of ’90, a businesswoman, entrepreneur, poet and author, spoke to the Parker community at Morning. She owns her own event planning and wine company called Shall We Wine. Rousseau focused her presentation on labels and their impactful influence on what we think we can achieve. Click here for more on this Morning Ex!





Here you will find things like our Wine of the Week and other special wine & spirits topics! Stay in the know and read up on some of the cool things we've been sharing:

A Custoza Wine Love Affair
Not Your Average Valentine Gift
Cocktail Hour feat. Uncle Nearest Whiskey


Fruit-forward A.K.A. Fruit-Bomb, Jammy, Ripe

Sweetness and fruitiness are often interchanged by honest mistake, in the same way a sparkling Cava might be called "Champagne"... honest mistake. Fruitiness in a wine generally highlights fruit-natured tastes and aromas. There are a lot of reasons for the fruit-forwardness of a wine. One of which could be attributed to the influence of where the wine itself is from. Does it come from a warmer climate? The wine will likely focus on a fruit character. Where the confusion lies between fruit-forward and sweet is that a wine could impart the impression of what could be sweet because of perceived ripeness of fruit. In another instance, oak aging could influence the wine to have a a vanilla-like note. Fruit-forward is a stylistic term. Something can be fruity but not sweet. Think when you call something salty. Something can be called salty without the salt. Other ingredients have the ability to stimulate some of the very same sensory receptors as salt would.

There are several ways a wine can be sweet. Not to mention sweet sensitivity ranges differently between each person. Generally speaking, sweetness comes from leftover natural grape sugars when fermentation stops. Sweet wines tend to be dessert-style wines. The finish of a wine is a key factor in determining if a wine is really a sweet vs. just a fruit-forward wine. That sugarish texture you get in your mouth from having something sweet is fairly hard to dismiss!

More on Fruit-forward vs. Sweet to come on the Shall We Wine Blog!

Red and Pink Festive Flat Illustration Southern Hemisphere Holiday Greeting Facebook Post


A collection of original poems from Regine T. Rousseau, the book Searching for Cloves and Lilies: The Wine Edition explores pairing wine with poetry. The idea of pairing both wine and poetry was initially met with confused looks. But a national book tour and some new friends later, the Shall We Wine tribe has expanded into a think-outside-the-box wine pairing bunch! How amazing!

It's a testament to how seemingly different mediums can be more intertwined than you think. Challenge yourself to see likeness, positivity and common ground. You never know what the challenge will reveal. We love wine, pass it on!

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We'd like to provide some clarification on the January Newsletter. One feature last month provided a breakdown of wine tariffs.

The subject alone has various moving pieces due to its complexity, and in an effort to keep it concise and less overwhelming for our readers it has come to our attention that there were key pieces missing.

Below are some of those clarifications addressed to us:

The "Airbus / Boeing" tariff took effect on October 18th 2019 and remains in effect today. This applies to many products, but as far as wine is concerned it covers still wines 14% and under from France, Spain and Germany in containers up to 2Ls.

Here is the exact list from the Federal Register:


"Part 10—Products of France, Germany, Spain or the United Kingdom described below are subject to additional import duties of 25 percent ad valorem:

An escalation of this tariff from the products above to ALL EU wines at all levels of alcohol, sparkling and still and in all sizes was proposed and will be decided on as early as mid February. This might be as high as 100%. We have no way to predict what will happen on this tariff.

The DST tax applied to Sparkling wines from France and other French items. It was not aimed at other countries. This tax, which proposed a 100% tariff on sparkling wines from France was not put into effect in January as threatened. There is an ambiguous agreement to delay this tariff until the end of the year but none of the core issues have been addressed by either side.

As of today, both the US and France have agreed to continue negotiations of the DST trade policy. France agreed to delay the 1st payment until the end of 2020 but it seems as though the DST will stand. By the way, the 25% tariff is still intact because that is for the Airbus/Boeing issue. And it has a very real chance of expanding - please see above.

The first tax is the problem that threatens to wipe out companies small and large, and not just distributors. For many this reality means being unable to hire extra work staff and the decrease of orders from Europe. This also means that the dock workers who unload ships have a bit less product and the delivery drivers who bring the wine to us have lighter loads...

A wine that costs $10 from an affected region in Europe is now taxed at $2.50. 100% tariffs on the same wine mean that they will be taxed at $10. So $25,000 in tariffs increase to $100,000."

How has this impacted wine distributors?

One of our distributor partners mentioned, "Since the threat of 100% tariffs on all EU wines became known we have gone into overdrive on our supply chain. One of our producers put an entire tank (10,000+ bottles!) of their Prosecco into bottle for us on December 30th when EVERYONE in Italy is normally on Holiday. Another winery in Germany cut their vacation short to allow us to pick up wines that would normally have been shipped in the Fall, but were released early to avoid the increase. (Air freight + tariff = dramatically reduced margins). A Champagne producer labelled an entire year's worth of his Champagne for us and then, like most of our partners agreed to extended terms with us after explaining the situation to their own lenders. And on, and on and on.

We had a heck of a time actually getting wine to move before the threatened dates - we took very large bets that we could get wine here before the escalation that was first threatened for mid January (the DST) and then again on the Airbus increase. At the end of the year we had a) the year end holidays which cripple European trucking, b) extensive trucking strikes in France that shut down all of Europe because trucks refused to go into France (we were trying to consolidate loads between countries), and finally c) Port closures due to weather so long delays on loading and shipping. As we tried to rush orders in and everyday counted. This has been a crazy period.

All of this was required to play defense against and unknowable opponent. We've had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in tariffs on wines to guarantee our customers that we can keep them stocked for the next year. If we didn't, we risked paying 4X more in tariffs or being forced to stop buying all together.

To answer a question many people have asked, yes, we have new wines coming in from new and existing partners in regions not affected by the tariffs including California and Oregon. I've seen myriad comments on blogs and social media from people saying that this will make the US market stronger. This however is not how a free market works, so we might as well jump into socialized medicine if we are interested in having governmental policy dictate more of our lives. At least there are statistics showing that universal health care leads to better outcomes..."



Tired of hosting the same kind of events and looking for something to make them different?

Shall We Wine also plans experiences for corporate events! We work with our corporate clients to create wine, beer and spirit-focused experiences. These experiences include: wine dinners, wine tastings, team building "cocktail" exercises and more!

Just some examples of the themes we’ve hosted:

15 Wines for Under $15

Steal or Splurge

Bourbon Basics

Wine Tasting and Cooking Party

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Learn, Drink, Repeat!
The Shall We Wine Team

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