Archiving The Color of Wine and Love and Vines

Sukari and Shomari Bowman. (Photo credit: EuGene V Byrd III @eugenebyrdart)

Sukari and Shomari Bowman. (Photo credit: EuGene V Byrd III @eugenebyrdart)

The UC Davis Library is pleased to announce that it will be archiving The Color of Wine podcasts, Love and Vines website, and related papers of sister and brother Sukari and Shomari Bowman. The collection will include all podcast episodes, handwritten notes for episodes, and snapshots of the podcast’s website. The collection holds significant research value, reflecting diverse voices, perspectives and contributions in the wine industry. 

Aside from the guiding principle of the podcast — that subjects interviewed be people of color — the Bowmans cast a wide net: interviewees hail from geographic locations as far-flung as New York, Oregon, Texas, Georgia, Mexico and Haiti, and have interests and backgrounds in other industries — such as business, reporting and the arts — that intersect in a variety of ways with their work in the wine business.

Archiving the Color of Wine collection is part of a recent effort by the UC Davis Library to identify, curate and preserve select winery websites, wine writers’ websites and blogs, podcasts, and wine organizations’ websites. These digital media will be archived over the course of 2021 and published for viewing through UC Davis’ web collection, which is hosted by the Internet Archive.

A Platform for People of Color in the Wine Industry

Atlanta-based sister and brother duo Sukari and Shomari Bowman launched The Color of Wine podcast in 2017. Frustrated by the lack of representation in popular wine media, Ms. Bowman conceived of a series dedicated to providing a platform for people of color in the wine industry when she heard a podcast interview with the African-American sommelier André Houston Mack

As The Color of Wine took shape, Ms. Bowman conducted the interviews and Mr. Bowman, a chef and music producer, put his technical expertise toward recording and editing them. To date their endeavor has produced more than 80 information-rich interview recordings that, in several cases, unfold much like oral histories. 

The program is a tapestry of voices that, together, provide insight into an industry that defies categorization, because wine is a part of all of life. One can listen to Mac McDonald, of Vision Cellars, talk about how he made his way from East Texas to Sonoma County, learning about wine grapes along the way, and Dalia Ceja of Ceja Vineyards describe her family’s journey from Mexico to the Carneros region, where they founded one of California’s first Mexican-American-owned wineries.

Digital Preservation: Creating Snapshots in Time

The UC Davis Library has an extensive collection of manuscript materials relating to the growth and development of the California wine industry, more than 36,000 books on wine in 50 languages, and 4,387 wine pamphlets, the majority of which are in English, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. 

The library recognizes that it is also critical to archive newer media and forms of interaction and expression, including born-digital materials like websites and podcasts that have become ubiquitous over the last 15 years. To do so, the library has partnered with Archive-It to “crawl,” or archive, selected sites, preserving every element hosted by a website’s domain.

“We’re not only preserving the websites of wine writers, wineries and related organizations for the long term, we’re capturing and curating these sites iteratively, creating snapshots in time that users can rely on for a trusted citation well into the future,” said Kevin Miller, the library’s head of Archives and Special Collections. “Our work ensures continual access to important websites even after the original site is no longer hosted live on the web.”

Inside Look at Podcast Production

Ms. Bowman kept handwritten notes for her interviews, which will also be archived by the library, as will a recording of the Bowmans discussing how the podcast comes together. Students and researchers who use the collection will gain insight into the podcast as a storytelling medium and its panoply of stories and perspectives that don’t exist in media elsewhere. They will also learn about interview techniques and Ms. Bowman’s evolution as an interviewer over time. 

“I hope the students and researchers will be inspired by the common thread that runs throughout The Color of Wine podcast: that with family, community and love all things are possible,” said Shomari Bowman.