“There are always plans, and what actually happens. Most of the time I’d trade memories for plans.”
Robin Riddell Jones
Wine is meant to tell a story.
It can tell you the story of its makers, its land, its past and even its future. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across someone as good at that storytelling as Robin Riddell Jones.
The independent consultant has dedicated more than fourteen years to studying, exploring, and sharing the worldwide landscape that is wine. She passionately tracks form and flavor through heritage and generations, time and place. She has shaped a career founded on a love of travel, firsthand interactions with winemakers, and visceral tasting experiences.
The first seeds of this love were planted early, carried along a farmer's bloodline. The Mississippi native's grandfather owned and ran a cotton gin and her father is a landscape architect whom she credits with teaching her the true value of land and the people who work it, the modest and simple yet profound practices of making and growing.
Seattle, Washington became the starting line for a career that would take Jones through Austria, France, Germany, and Italy to choose wines for small, independent wine importers. The process of deciding which bottles would make their way to the U.S. inspired her to learn not only the flavor profiles of the wines but also everything she could about the lives, languages, and narratives of the makers themselves.
Jones admittedly left her heart in Europe with the people who opened their homes and her eyes, introducing her to a passionate love of French and Italian wines. The small farmers and the ways in which they curated each bottle with passion and sincerity soon became an integral part of her job. In recollection of one moment experienced in an Italian vineyard Jones explains, “Time stopped and it brought me to tears, reminding me of why I do what I do. Pureness, integrity, and deliciousness were all right in that glass.”
In January 2013 Jones launched her wine consultation business, aspiring to add depth to Nashville’s wine cellars and create smart, informed wine consumers. She has helped develop wine programs and has established high quality wine service training in some of Nashville’s most notable restaurants and retail stores, including Josephine, BurgerUp, Epice, Merchants, The Catbird Seat, and Grapevine. Most recently, Jones helped develop the concept and oversight of general management for the 404 Hotel in The Gulch neighborhood of Nashville. She was the Convivium Leader of Slow Food Nashville for three years and wrote a monthly wine column for the Tennessean for two years.