Between Kristin Taylor and Macie Mincey, there’s a lot of entrepreneurial power. The duo — whose latest project KT Winery, a largely online label with a growing number of varietals — have both enjoyed powerhouse careers before turning their attention to the latest passion-driven enterprise. Mincey founded Maze Services, a tech company she’s since sold that focused on mobilizing the beauty space, while Taylor worked in event planning under her own name. The wines — of which there are currently three — are clear extensions of the kind of meticulous vivacity that has made both women obvious successes. Each founder clearly has a great palate — all of the expressions are marvelously drinkable — though there’s more to the project than just putting out good juice. “I wanted to make my mark on this world for a very specific reason. I have a responsibility as a black woman to leave my mark,” said Taylor.
The pair initially met in 2018 while Taylor was still busy developing relationships with many of the wine and liquor reps who would eventually help to inspire the brand. “Alcohol is a great common denominator,” smiled Taylor. In 2021, the two joined forces to build KT Winery. “Kristin had built so many successful companies for other people, it’s just the person she is,” grinned Mincey, noting that Taylor’s ceaseless knack for inspiring others finally had found a comfortable home in a project of her own.
The wines themselves are produced in Napa, with winemaker Brian Kosi, formerly of Empathy Wines, handling much of the groundwork. Even so, the flavor profiles are decided by Taylor and Mincey who will deliberate on the acid, sugar and tannin content of each release. “One of us tries to go to each bottling,” said Taylor. The two also collaborate on design elements, with the bottle’s labels currently reflecting that joint effort.
The flagship wine Mom Juice currently comes in both a cabernet sauvignon ($22.99) and a pinot grigio ($20). As the name suggests, this is unstuffy table wine meant to be gulped down with enthusiasm. That it will also please a discerning taster seems to be the happy medium both founders were trying to achieve. “We wanted to create a new wine culture,” said Taylor. “I don’t want to be intimidated when picking my wine,” added Mincey, noting that many of this generation’s drinkers are seeking a quality product that is unbound by tradition. This is Napa juice, produced by and for a crowd that generally might not flock to the vineyards in droves. “It’s really great quality but really easy to drink,” said Mincey. The third wine on the roster — the KT Winery Signature Cabernet ($21.99) — perhaps best exemplifies this philosophy and has sips that are both effortless and deep.
On April 15, KT Winery began its presale for The Gentleman, a collaborative expression produced with Black Menswear. The blend — a combination of their cabernet with a petite sirah — was deliberately designed to appeal to men who usually prefer whiskey or Scotch.
There’s always been a bit of conservatism in wine culture, with entrenched attitudes having helped shape many drinkers’ understanding of how to appreciate it. That Taylor and Mincey are trying to crack the mold a bit, and producing great bottles while doing it, is a good sign that there’s a bit more room that can be added to the game.
KT Winery’s wines can be purchased directly from its website.
All photography courtesy of Soona Studios.