By Charles Mombo
Meet Regine T. Rousseau. Regine is Mecthilde and Roger’s daughter. She is a wine and spirits educator, writer, presenter, and media personality, focused on making wine knowledge accessible to people at all levels of proficiency. She studied at the International Sommelier Guild and earned a Level II certification. She also earned an Executive Bourbon Steward from Stave and Thief. Regine is at an exciting point in her career, and is humbled to have been featured in the New Yorker, Wine Enthusiast, Black Enterprise, Black Food and Beverage, Wine Spectator, the Zoe Report, Forbes and Chicago Tribune. Last year she was a nominee of 2020 Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards, Wine Educator of the Year. She loves to travel and have been fortunate enough to travel around the globe sharing her passion for wine and spirits. She’s an author of a wine and poetry book, Searching for Cloved and Lilies: The Wine Edition.
You’re the mastermind behind Shall We Wine, Inc, what is it and why was it founded?
I had the idea for Shall We Wine in 1997 when I was a wine sales person in Chicago. I noticed that new wine drinkers were thirsty for information, so I started hosting wine tastings at Chicago restaurants and galleries. What started as a hobby turned into a business in 2013. Today, Shall We Wine has a B2B side and a B2C. For B2B, Shall We Wine is an experiential marketing, event planning and digital media company. Our B2C component creates fun and educational wine and spirits events for our followers and members. These events include wine tasting, virtual wine cocktail classes, gallery openings and wine and spirits travel.
Where do you see Shall We Wine in the next 5-years?
On March 13, 2020, all of our events were canceled, so my business appeared to have been shattered. My pivot game was strong and quick. I hosted my first virtual event on March 27, 2020. It was not a paid event, so there was no profit, but I knew I was on to something. I gambled on myself and took some of the 2019 profits and hired TapePlay, a digital marketing firm to create videos to advertise our virtual events. It took some months, but eventually everyday people and corporations started to book virtual events with Shall We Wine. Today Shall We Wine offers cocktails, food, wine and even comedy events. The virtual events created a new revenue stream and gave us a national presence. Shall We Wine has hosted online wine and spirits events for major corporations across the nation. In the next five years I will grow that segment of the business, virtual events are here to stay. I am also looking to create partnerships with more wine and spirits brands. I love hosting wine segments on local and national stations so that will continue to be a priority. Shall We Wine is about sharing wine and spirits knowledge and good vibes with as many people as I can. So, the next five years will be focused on meeting and reaching those libation lovers and introducing them to the wines and spirits we love!
Who is your most influential person?
I’ve had many mentors and cheerleaders. My mother has been a great influence on me. She taught me to be self-reflective, the power of apologizing and the power of prayer. My father has been influential in my life as well. He is an entrepreneur and taught me tenacity and to believe in my ideas. Another major influence today is Molly Rosen Guy. She is the Founder/Teacher at Brooklyn Writers Collective (BWC). I started classes with BWC during the pandemic. She has encouraged me to write, and helped me to shape my next book. I have a village and am so grateful for them all.
What do you like about Chicago Hyde Park?
The community, the energy, and the diversity. I love that grocery stores and wine shops which are a short walk from my home. I love that I see familiar faces when I take a walk-through downtown Hyde Park and just love being able to socialize over drinks and food in my own backyard.