Pouring a great bottle of wine does not require a special language, invitation to a coveted club, or vast knowledge of varietals. As Jermaine Stone shows on Tastemade’s Street Somm, wine is meant to be enjoyed no matter the location, food on the plate, or occasion. Simple grab a glass, let the conversation flow, and embrace the opportunity to sip and savor.
As many food television fans appreciate, Tastemade celebrates the inclusiveness that food and beverages offer. While the various shows’ hosts are experts in their field, the conversation is approachable. Everyone is welcome at the table and that openness breaks down barriers.
Jermaine Stone smashed through perceptions throughout his career. The force behind Cru Luv Selections and the host of the Wine and Hip Hop Podcast, Stone finds ways to describe wine in cultural terms. His knowledge and appreciation for the industry allows him to break down the limiting descriptors and opens the bottle to a broader conversation. From thoughtful analogies to a willingness to experiment, every pour is an opportunity to create a bridge between people.
On the new Tastemade show Street Somm, Stone sets out to continue the concept that he has done throughout his career, make wine approachable to a wider audience. During a recent conversation with him, Stone shared that this opportunity is a way to amplify that concept on a larger scale. He wants to “redefine American wine culture and make wine applicable to our every day lives.”
As seen in the various episodes, that depth of wine culture is front and center in every conversation. One minute a bottle is being poured with some impeccable fried chicken and the next scene is a conversation at Eleven Madison Park. The locale changes but the concept does not. Great wine can and should be paired with any and every food. It is time to break down the barriers and throw out the rule book.
Stone uses real world examples to get this point across. When discussing parallel and contrasting pairings, he used a fashion example for the contrasting aspect. Stone said, “I like to think about it as a style of dressing. You might wear a fully red monochromatic look and that’s great. But, you could add some black and red sneakers or some camouflage pants. It might not match but it goes together really well for some reason. The small, minor elements within each of the items are highlighted. Take that idea and apply it to food and wine. For the wine drinker, think about a singular flavor and start pairing from them.”
Again, by making the concepts relatable beyond the wine cellar turns this approach into an easier to manage conversation. Street Somm puts that idea front and center in every episode. For Stone, it is adapting his language and analogy to his audience.
Another example Stone offered was when explaining terroir. While oenophiles might wax poetic about soil, temperature fluctuations, and other land influences, others might hear those words and have their eyes gloss over. Instead, he makes the concept fit into another world.
Stone explained, “it starts by highlighting the truths in each person. If I am talking a friend who likes hip hop, I relate the concept of terroir to regional differences in music.” Both scenarios are unique to where they originate, but the concept is in terms that make sense to the person digesting the information. That relatable factor is key to getting people to be open and to listen to that conversation.
As viewers watch the Tastemade show Street Somm, each episode will give a glimpse of wines that can be found at the local stores. Stone said that choice was intentional. Just like making the language of wine adaptable to a wide audience, the wines poured on the show needed to be available to the general public.
While this first season highlights robust food and beverage landscapes within the U.S., Stone believes that there are many more locales waiting to be explored. From New Orleans to maybe even Jamaica, bottles are ready to be opened and dishes are waiting to be eaten.
Street Somm debuts the first episode on the Tastemade streaming channel on September 25 at 7 p.m. Additional episodes will air each week through October 30. The Tastemade streaming channel can be found on various streaming platforms.