Sarita Cheaves is the producer of The Swirl Suite podcast. Along with her co-hosts Tanisha, Glynis, and Leslie, The Swirl Suite discusses the integral role that black women have in the wine industry.
Each of these women is a wine expert in her own right. Together, they share valuable insight into what it’s like to work in the wine industry. The podcast has gained notoriety by featuring industry icons like Andre Mack of Mouton Noir and Selena Cuffe of Heritage Link Brands.
Sarita has her own blog called Vine Me Up and served as a Senior Tasting Room Associate at Black Ankle Vineyards. She has a WSET certification and specializes in discovering the best food and wine pairings. Read on for more from Sarita Cheaves and don’t forget to listen and leave a 5-star review for The Swirl Suite using the links below!
The Swirl Suite
Tell us what your podcast is about in 3 sentences or less!
The Swirl Suite discusses a pivotal role, as black women, in the wine industry. Sarita, Tanisha, Leslie and Glynis as they highlight what’s involved in working in the wine industry and living in wine. Whether you are a novice or expert, we invite you to come taste the wine life with us.
What’s a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
“Build your dreams or someone will hire you to build theirs.”
“Clever” by Erykah Badu
One thing on your bucket list:
Live/work on a farm
Last text message you sent:
“The ID Channel is too dark for me right now.”
What was your first job?
Wrapper at Williams-Sonoma
Any unusual hobbies?
Coloring with my left hand (I’m right handed).
Biggest Pet Peeve:
Hearing someone chew/eat
What inspired you to start your podcast?
I noticed I was amongst a cluster of black women in the wine industry and I wanted the world to know about us.
Tell us more about your work/life outside of your podcast.
I have a full-time government job. For about 5 years, I worked part-time as a Senior Wine Associate at local winery and that really initiated my career in wine. While I was there, I received a WSET certification. I started a wine blog, Vine Me Up, and then came the podcast.
What is your show’s USP?
Being black in wine is always going to set us apart, but I would say that we make wine fun and approachable. We interview everyone in the wine industry; winemakers, wine shop owners, distributors, and wine marketers.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced with your podcast?
Editing is probably my biggest challenge. Sometimes technology just screws up and I am left to fix it post production.
What was one of your favorite episodes you’ve ever done? Why does it stand out?
One of my favorite episodes was with a wine writer/photographer we had never met before. We had been following each other on Instagram and I felt like she would be a great guest. She certainly was. We didn’t want the episode to end, so she ended up asking us some questions. Her name is Alisha Sommer – find her episode here!
What is one thing you have accomplished with your podcast thus far that you are most proud of?
I’m very proud of keeping this podcast going for the 5th year. It hasn’t always been easy, but I kept pushing.
What is one major milestone that you would like to accomplish through your podcast in the next year?
I would like The Swirl Suite to gain 1 consistent sponsor.
What is a trend or development in the podcast industry that you foresee happening in the next few years?
I think video is coming back. People still crave to put faces with voices – so much that some podcasters are charging for video content.
What is one of the best pieces of podcast-related advice you’ve ever received & why?
Make sure people can her you. Thats so simple yet so heavy. The simple part: make sure your audio is clear. The heavy part: Your words mean things. Make sure you are speaking your truth and your story. Find a way to make your story telling memorable.
What is one of the worst pieces of podcast-related advice you have ever received & why?
The worst advice I ever received was “You need to do what another podcast is doing.” People are always going to have opinions about what they think you should be doing. You have produce your podcast in your own way. Not everyone is going to see your vision.
What are some of your favorite women-hosted podcasts?
Can you tell us about a time when you took a huge risk/did something you were scared to do, and it totally paid off?
All of this is a risk. We are putting ourselves out there. Our time. Our resources. Our thoughts. Everything is out in the open for the world to see & criticize. We are growing in front of an audience. That’s all a risk.
Podcasting has made me a better person because I hear myself constantly and how I use words. I’m more aware of my tone and how I react and treat people. That totally pays off.
Are there any great podcast-related resources you love that you would like to share?
Is there a charity or cause you care about that you would like to share?
How do you feel you’re making a positive impact and generating change through your podcast?
I want women, especially women of color, to know that their voices matter. I think our podcast is a positive example of women displaying what motivates them. In our case, wine brought us together but our common thread was wanting to be heard.