Jermaine Stone Is Bridging the Worlds of Wine and Hip-Hop with ‘Tasting Notes From the Streets'

By Gabrielle Pharms | December 2, 2021

In support of his goals to have a career in hip-hop, Bronx native Jermaine Stone took a job at Zachys Wine, one of the country’s most celebrated wine shops. However, the gig changed his trajectory. So, after more than a decade at auction houses, Stone combined his two passions of hip-hop and wine to launch the creative agency Cru Luv to bridge the two worlds together on an international level. Among some of the agency’s projects are The Original Wine & Hip Hop podcast, where Stone interviews people from both industries to pair music to wine, and the newest video series, Tasting Notes From the Streets.

The series debuted at the end of July 2021, where the episode featured a pairing of Jamaican beef patties with German pinot noir. In the premiere episode below, Stone pairs one of the classic New York street foods, chopped cheese, with Cornas, a Syrah from northern Rhône, France. “For me, it really is the combination of wine and hip-hop culture because this is truly a food from the hood, from the bodegas of New York City, and anyone in New York is familiar with the chopped cheese sandwich,” Stone says. “So, Wine & Hip Hop and Tasting Notes From the Streets is all about connecting hood culture with the rest of the world. We did that by connecting one of the most prestigious regions in France to food from Harlem.” True to the authentic hip-hop element of the show, the episode is scored by multi-platinum producers The Heatmakerz.

Last month, Wine & Hip Hop unveiled their eponymous wine club to their fans. Every month subscribers receive three to six bottles of wine ranging from entry-level to more complex expressions for seasoned drinkers. In addition, they receive the wine pack and a Wine & Hip Hop playlist curated specifically for that pack. There’s also a monthly members-only virtual meet-up where a discussion of the wine selection for the month, as well as the playlist, ensues. Stone adds, “One of the biggest ways wine and hip-hop culture connect is that discovery and debate aspect about it. We love talking about hip-hop with our friends who had the best verse on this song or whatever, and you learn the most about wine by tasting in a group setting. So, we're bringing like-minded people to one table to help grow both cultures.”

Stone’s overall mission with the Wine & Hip Hop brand is for both sides of the wine and hip-hop culture to see each other’s value. “I'd like for people that are more familiar with the wine industry and not as familiar with urban culture to see the art and beauty in urban culture,” Stone says. “Then also, for people that are more familiar with that urban aspect, I want to open their eyes to the rest of the world. I learned that to be a wine lover, you have to be a citizen of the world. So, you learn about so many different areas of the world by entering the wine space – and that's what I'm hoping to do with Tasting Notes From the Streets.” The show highlights just how global hip-hop culture is with an international fanbase that extends into leading figures of the wine industry. “They find it interesting that they can be integrated so seamlessly into urban culture. I think that this is bigger than wine and food culture. I think this is how you bring people of completely different demographics together,” Stone states. “At the end of the day, I'm really proud of this, and I hope that it resonates with people and helps them to connect with a brand-new culture that they didn't think that they had any relation to.”

Photography by: Njekwa Beasnael