Black History Month may be the shortest of the year, but we’re committed to celebrating the achievements of African and African-Americans tastemakers and industry shakers all the time. In the spotlight this week, sommelier, winemaker, author, and restauranteur André Hueston Mack.
Born in Trenton, NJ, Mack left a successful career in investment banking to pursue his passion for the vine. In the early 2000s, he went to work at The Palm in San Antonio Texas, his education in wine beginning in earnest on the sales floor. From the start, he loved introducing guests to lesser known regions and vineyards, sharing in their joy at discovering new flavors and tastes.
At the age of 30, he became the first African American to win the title of Best Young Sommelier in America, and in short order joined the opening team at Thomas Keller’s legendary Per Sé, which was where he met his spouse, author Phoebe Damrosch. Mack’s wine lists there garnered national attention — he was featured in Wine Spectator, The New York Times, The Huffington Post,The Wall Street Journal, and Black Enterprise.
In 2007, Mack struck out on his own with Mouton Noir Wines, a project that incorporated his love of hip-hop, street culture, and the philosophy of “wine for all.” Unique and distinctive, Mack’s wines are sourced from some Of the best vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley region, each sip showcasing the individuality of their unique terroirs. Today, he produces 30,000 cases which can be found in the restaurants and retail stores in 11 countries and 45 states, including two in New York—including Vyneyard and his latest, & Sons Hamlet.
Mack is a passionate wine educator who has led seminars and panel discussions at several food and wine gatherings including The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado and the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival. He also curates wines for Club W, a wine club for a new generation of drinkers, to continue his mission of making wine more accessible.
Wanna learn more? Follow André Hueston Mack on Instagram @andrehmack, then join Wine & Spirits on February 12 for a special in-store tasting from 5pm to 7pm.