Founded in 2019 by South Londoner Anoushica Matthews (of Liberty Wines), Sweet Spice has quickly gained a dedicated local following. Being of mixed Mauritian/German heritage, and often the only person of colour in many wine spaces, she saw it necessary to address the lack of POC representation and engagement in the wine world.
Known primarily for its wine tasting events, which are held at the Prince of Peckham; a black-owned pub run by esteemed local Clement Ogbonnaya. The tastings focus on a laid back atmosphere, free of the pretension of many wine events, and where music shares almost equal footing to discussions on viticulture and oenology. Each event is led by a prominent person of color within the industry, who selects a theme and the wines to be tasted.
While initially operating in somewhat of an isolation in terms of UK diversity initiatives in wine, the lockdown and the subsequent gains of the BLM movement has proved to be a catalyst for many like-minded networks and initiatives to spring up, many of which Sweet Spice is very much involved in. One of these key projects is BAME in Hospitality, founded by Lorraine Copes, which aims to elevate POCs within the hospitality sector through mentorships, networking and events. In September she is also addressing the wine world through an online talk series called the Colour of Wine, at which Anoushica will be a panelist.
Post-lockdown, Sweet Spice Wines has continued to evolve, creating the 'Sweet Spice Talks' series which takes the form of extended Zoom talks with prominent POC wine professionals from across the globe. The inaugural event hosted Lisbon-based Harlem-born Cha McCoy, known as the 'Wine Hustler' due to her great success across all areas of the wine industry, as well as being named in Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 tastemakers in 2019. She shared her incredibly inspirational journey and experiences with honesty, passion and drive.
The second ‘Sweet Spice Talks’ will take place on Tuesday 1st September with Brooklyn based Jermaine Stone. Jermaine is the founder of Cru Luv Wines, and the host and founder of ‘The Original Wine and Hip Hop Show’, who incidentally has also just been named one of Wine Enthusiasts 40 under 40 for 2020. As someone that understands the power of music to help attract younger and more diverse audiences, he is without doubt a kindred spirit of Sweet Spice and a key figure to watch in the US wine scene.
'To grow our culture, it is imperative that we capture this audience. Especially in such divisive times, there is a great opportunity to demonstrate that wine culture can be fresh and exciting for everyone.'