Chicago’s Biggest Summer Hit: CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival Celebrates Black Minority Winemakers and Entrepreneurs

Chicago’s Biggest Summer Hit: CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival Celebrates Black Minority Winemakers and Entrepreneurs

Chrishon Lampley and Joyce Dawkins, Co-Founders of CLINK Wine & Spirits Festival (Chicago). Photographer: Christian De’Mar.

Of all the exciting festivals scheduled this summer, Chicago can add another stellar event to its calendar. Its the first annual CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival and its quickly becoming one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Chrishon Lampley, Founder of Love Cork Screw and Co-Founder of CLINK Wine & Spirits Festival (Chicago). Photographer: Christian De’Mar.

The CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival hosted by Chrishon Lampley, owner of Love Cork Screw wines and Joyce Dawkins, founder of She ROCKS It Magazine, are debuting their wine and spirit tasting extravaganza on Sunday September 18th at the beautiful Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois.

L-R: McBride Sisters (Wine Company). Michael Lavelle (Luxury Wine Brand)www.neiljohnburger.comL-R: Chef Deandre Carter (Owner, Soul Food & Smoke, BBQ Restaurant). Elena Smith (Owner, Davine Wines LLC)

Chrishon, one of the few minority winemakers in the Midwest, says the event is a first-of-its-kind Chicago-based wine and spirits festival dedicated to highlighting women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the industry.

“As a minority business owner, navigating the business of building a wine brand in this industry can oftentimes feel like you’re on an island,” says Chrishon, CLINK Co-Founder. “It is imperative that we continue to celebrate, encourage, and advocate for diversity in the wine & spirits industry.”

CLINK Co-Founder and business partner Joyce, agrees. “My goal with CLINK is for attendees to see the amazing things that can happen if you just believe in yourself and to encourage attendees to not be afraid to take a leap of faith.”

L-R: Chef Brian Jupiter (Owner, Ina Mae Tavern and Frontier Chicago)Ashley & Jenai (Founders, Halo 7 (premium Rum)L-R: Sheetal Bhagat (Founder, Spice Note Tequila). Theodora Lee (Founder, Theopolis Vineyards)

CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival will feature panel discussions, a walk-around wine tasting from over 50 minority-owned wine & spirit brands and paired with exquisite appetizers from local Chicago chefs of color, a cigar lounge, party deejay and a relaxing outdoor mocktail waterpark that gives guests an opportunity to re-hydrate with refreshing drinks and non-alcoholic beverages.

Sponsored in part by Mariano’s, the popular Midwest grocery chain, both Chrishon and Joyce both acknowledge the company’s lead support in Women Owned Businesses and their participation in spearheading the festival.

L-R: Chef Monica Hayes (Founder, Tasteful Manners Culinary). Phil Long (Founder, Longevity Wines)L-R: Paula J. Harrell (Owner, P. Harrell Wines). Dr. Chris Wachira (Founder/CEO, Wachira Wines)

“We have a commitment to local vendors,” says Amanda Puck, Director of Strategic Brand Development for Mariano’s, “and we’re excited to support the first annual CLINK Wine & Spirits Festival with our team of accomplished Tastemaker Chefs who will complement the event’s all-star roster of minority-owned wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage producers.”

CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival will introduce some of the nation’s up and coming minority leaders in the food and beverage industry. It will also showcase Chrishon and Joyce’s leadership as entrepreneurs, especially during the month of August as thousands of people celebrate National Black Business Month. Just this past week, Chrishon was honored in Chicago at the Black Womens Expo where she was presented with the 2022 Phenomenal Woman Award.

“It is imperative that we continue to celebrate, encourage, and advocate for diversity in the wine & spirits industry,” says Chrishon. “CLINK presents an interactive educational forum for beverage trade professionals, media, and wine & spirits enthusiasts to taste, network, celebrate our progress and empower future minority women in the industry.”

CLINK Wine and Spirits Festival boasts a growing list of vendors, guest speakers and winemakers that will provide tastings and samplings of their specialty items. To purchase tickets and to get updates on the event, visit www.clinkfestival.com. The following is a list of the many sponsors and winemakers who have confirmed their participation:

CLINK: Wine and Spirits MakersChrishon Lampley (Founder of Love Cork Screw)Nicole Kearney (Founder, Sip & Share Wines)Jesse Steward Jr. (Founder, Alexander James Whiskey)Ashley and Jenai (Founders, Halo 7 (Premium Rum)Luna Bay Booch (Kombucha Company)Dr. Chris Wachira (Founder/CEO, Wachira Wines)

Paula J. Harrell (Owner, P. Harrell Wines)Catalina Gaete-Bentz (Founder & CEO, CATAN PISCO)Mara Smith (Founder, Inspiro Tequila)McBride Sisters (Wine Company)Elena Smith (Owner, Davine Wines, LLC)Sheetal Bhagat (Founder of Spice Note Tequila)Phil Long (Founder, Longevity Wines)

Theodora Lee (Founder, Theopolis Vineyards)Vitani (Spirits/Cocktails)Uncle Nearest (Premium Whiskey)Funkytown Brewery (Brewery)Sapere (Wine Brand)Michael Lavelle (Luxury Wine Brand)M. Robinson (Champagne Brand)

CLINK: ContributorsRodney Strong (California Winery)Jackson Family Wines (Winery Group)Foley Family of Wines (Wine Producer, Marketer & Distributor)

CLINK: Sommeliers & ExpertsMarsha Wright (Certified Wine Specialist- Certified Sherry Wine Specialist)Regine T. Rousseau (Founder, Shall We Wine)Chasity Cooper (Wine Culture Expert)

CLINK: Executive ChefsChef Dominique Leach (Executive Chef & Owner, Lexington Betty Smokehouse)Chef Monica Hayes (Founder, Tasteful Manners Culinary)Chef Ken L. Polk (Executive Chef at Batter & Berries)Chef LaMar Moore (Executive Chef and Youth Advocate/Mentor)Chef Brian Jupiter (Owner at Ina Mae Tavern and Frontier Chicago)Chef Deandre Carter (Owner of Soul and Smoke, BBQ Restaurant)Chef Jennifer Selvaggi (Exec, Chef for Turano Baking Company)

About the Author:  Don Howze is an Emmy Award Winning Film/Tape Editor and Associate Professor of Journalism and Television Production.  Don is the producer and director of the upcoming film documentaries The Production Crew and Toni Shelton’s Queen Of House Music. 

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