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Robin Riddell Jones’ enthusiasm for wine is infectious.

While some like their flavors big, bold and flashy the independent, wine consultant, of Raising the Glass, champions subtlety. She wants to bring the modest makers front and center, and sell wine that truly means something. 

Seattle, Washington, served as the gateway to her career. With a solid retail resumé, she earned a job with a local, independent distributor there. Jones traveled the world, tasting her way through Austria, France and Italy, selecting which bottles would make their way to the U.S. These buying expeditions inspired her to learn flavor profiles, as well as everything she could about the lives, languages and narratives of the creators.

Jones admittedly left her heart in Europe with the various characters who had opened their homes and her eyes to her first love, French and Italian wines. Her affinity is for minor league farmers and the way in which they ferment every bottle with passion and sincerity. Jones learned by observing the winemakers firsthand—hands in the soil, and heart in every ounce.

In recollection of one overwhelming tasting experienced in an Italian vineyard, Jones explains, “Time literally stopped and it brought me to tears reminding me of why I do what I do. Pureness, integrity and deliciousness were right in that glass.”

The aficionado’s Mississippi farmer bloodline draws parallel to her interest in the back-story of her buys. She lovingly refers to her landscape architect father as the first to impart knowledge of “farm-to-table” before it was a trending philosophy.

In January 2013, Jones launched her wine consultation and teaching business in hopes to add depth to Nashville’s wine cellars and create smart, savvy drinkers. Still, above all, it is lending the little guys a chance in the limelight that is her ultimate goal. “The winemakers I love don’t realize they’re rock stars. I want everyone to see their greatness. I can’t help but stand up and cheer them on.”

Robin, you keep fighting for the underdog. 

Go see Robin in action at her educational and delicious class, La Tavola, on April 3 & 17 

Photo by Andrea Behrends

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