Nurturing our relationships not only feeds our souls, it gives us a good enough reason to do everything else.
“Wine drunken in moderation is the joy of the soul and the heart.” — Ecclesiasticus 31:36
“The secret to real happiness is sharing it.” — Oprah Winfrey
Wine (and food, its natural partner) brings people together, nurtures our bodies and souls, and helps build a sense of community. Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia where most of the days were as sunny and warm as the family and friends who surrounded me, I gained an early appreciation for food and hospitality. Holiday gatherings and other celebrations were marked by large feasts that were frequently held at the home of my maternal grandparents who were the children of farmers from small rural towns in Georgia.
I fondly remember the orchard in their backyard where my sister, cousins, and I delighted in picking plums, peaches, and apples to eat as snacks. If they weren’t eaten right away, Grandmama would use them to prepare delicious jellies and preserves that she served with her hot, buttered homemade biscuits. We were also sometimes assigned the “chore” of gathering pecans that had fallen from the pecan tree in the front yard, so that Grandmama could make her sticky pecan pie that was never too sweet. Shelling the pecans was not so tedious when we could pop an occasional one into our mouths and chat about whatever was on our minds. Once we were done with gathering the pecans, we might have played “Red Light, Green Light,” caught lightning bugs in Mason jars with holes punched in the top, or just hung around doing nothing in particular until dinner time.
I love travelling, yet plane trips were not the norm when we were growing up. Family travel usually took the form of a road trip to a neighboring state, where there were other family members to share in the good times. In Alabama and Louisiana, we experienced a slightly different southern culture and enjoyed the eclectic cuisine of my maternal grandmother, whom we affectionately called “Dear” (short for “Mother Dear”). Dear, who was of Creole and African-American descent, made the best chicken and seafood gumbo I have ever tasted. And turning the crank for “Papa” (my paternal grandfather) to churn and freeze his creamy, delicious ice cream was a job almost all the grandchildren were willing to stand in line to do. Then there were the trips to visit Uncle Clarence’s family in Winter Park, Florida. While there, we would go to the beach, visit Disney World®, and usually enjoy a meal of freshly-caught fried catfish, porgies, or croaker — all of the fish that have the distinctive earthy flavor of rivers and lakes. Yum! Additionally, once a year, every second Sunday in August, we’d travel to Odessadale, Georgia where Great Grandmama Annie Mae Strozier lived in a house on bricks with well water, rudimentary plumbing, and no street lights. After a church revival service (which was always too long for me and my cousins to comfortably sit still), we were happy to go back to the house and aimlessly stroll the country roads, enjoying our freedom, while the women prepared a buffet dinner that included each person’s best contribution.
Communication, community, and collaboration were key themes in our family, and food was usually a focal point for our gatherings. I did not start to truly appreciate wine until I left the warmth and safety of my southern hometown to settle into New England, for my first job in Hartford, Connecticut. This was a leap of faith and a big adjustment because I knew no one in the area. There, in the dead of winter, I tasted and enjoyed cioppino for the first time, with a glass of Chianti. The cioppino reminded me of gumbo — it warmed and nurtured my body and the wine, along with the company of and conversation with a new friend, warmed and nurtured my soul. Since the moment I first realized the joy of pairing (and sharing) good wine with food, family, and friends, food and wine have been cultural commodities that I seek to share and experience wherever I go.
My vision for enJoie is to make learning about the food and wine lifestyle fun and accessible to everyone. Along the way on this journey, I hope to promote a cross-cultural exchange of flavors and ideas, inspiring you to explore the many ways that food and wine can enhance your enjoyment of friends, culture, and life. Wine was not a part of my family’s traditional African-American lifestyle and culture while I was growing up in the Southeastern United States. Yet, upon deeper exploration into the origins of dishes from the African diaspora, I have learned that there are many more cultures represented along with African culture, and the more I enjoy food from around the world, the more I appreciate the interconnectedness of all humanity. This understanding helps me bring a unique perspective to my practice as a sommelier and a human. Using the adage, “what grows together, goes together,” I approach the pairing of food and wine as an organic pursuit.
Food, Wine, and Lifestyle Public Relations
Reflecting on how Paris has traditionally been a haven for African-Americans escaping racism and sexism since the 19th century, enJoie is a brand that helps increase the visibility and presence of underrepresented brands that are committed to diversity and equal access for all, with an emphasis on education. One of our goals is to make learning about the food and wine lifestyle fun and accessible to everyone. Our overall mission is to promote a cross-cultural exchange of flavors and ideas, help provide access to wine education, and to level the playing field by celebrating the creativity, culture, and community of groups that have traditionally been marginalized, including women and the African diaspora.
Wine Tasting Events
Let us help you design and host a wine tasting event that you and your guests will enjoy! Our wine tasting services include the following:
- Customized assistance — you decide on our level of involvement
- Theme conceptualization, site selection, marketing, and/or publicity
- Selection of and coordination with other vendors, including caterers and florists
- Cost-efficient sourcing, purchasing, and delivery of wines
- Entertaining and relevant wine education
Wine is a perfect gift for holidays, real estate closings, or other celebratory occasions. Maximize and enjoy time with family, friends, and associates while taking the stress out of gift shopping. Our featured gifts include:
- Personalized wine and food gift baskets
- Hard-to-find and/or collectible bottles
- Special types of bottles (e.g. Magnum, Jeroboam, Methuselah, etc)
- Gift certificate to enJoie’s “Wine of the Month” Club, a gift that keeps on giving
Personal Wine Shopping
Keep your cellar stocked with your personal favorites, all purchased at competitive prices. Our wine delivery and shopping services include:
- Experiencing a palate consultation to determine your wine profile and preferences
- Periodic recommendations of wines we think you’ll enjoy
- The convenience of having personally selected wines delivered to your desired location.
Cellar Planning and Management
Stock your wine cellar and/or refrigerator with a balanced portfolio of wines that fit your palate and lifestyle. Our planning and management services will allow you to:
- Appreciate wines meant for short- to medium-term consumption while waiting for others to mature into their most enjoyable state
- Track inventory to minimize the disappointment that comes with opening a treasured bottle of wine before or after its prime
- Receive notifications when it is time to pull a wine
Judia Black is the Founder and CEO of enJoie, a Lifestyle, Media, and Events company that provides wine-related education, services, and marketing for private and corporate clients. A self-professed “cork dork” who finds joy in bringing people together to share her knowledge and passion for wine and food, Judia offers a unique combination of strategy, marketing, public relations, and event planning skills, along with sommelier training to clients in the food and wine industry who want to entertain, inspire, and make the world a better place. The mission of enJoie is to promote a cross-cultural exchange of flavors and ideas.
Judia is a certified sommelier through the American Sommelier Association (ASA) and has completed the rigorous ASA blind tasting course. She also has completed the Level 3 course through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Having visited and tasted her way through several wine regions, Judia has observed that although the customs, climates, and scenery vary, a constant is the enjoyment of wine and food as a comforting experience that creates a forum for sharing friends, culture, ideas, and life. Judia works and lives in New York City with her two daughters.
A native Atlantan, Judia holds a BA in Mathematics from Spelman College and an MBA in Marketing & Corporate Strategy from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prior to launching enJoie, Judia served in finance, strategic planning, and marketing for organizations including CIGNA, Goldman Sachs, Hallmark Cards, The Walt Disney Company, Ogilvy, and Mather and Deutsch Advertising.