Seven years ago George Washington Carver Walker, III didn't know the difference between a cabernet sauvignon and a sauvignon blanc. He encountered wine while he was a student at the Culinary Institute of Michigan. What brought him to CIM was food — a passion that started while attending a tech center high school near Chicago. Despite this love, it would be wine and its rich culture that captured his heart. The wine that started it all - a beautiful Châteauneuf-du-Pape. From the moment he tasted it, he was in awe of the nuanced flavors and the name piqued his interest. What did it mean, and where was this wine from?

After some research, he uncovered that the wine hailed from the Rhône wine region in the southeast of France and the name means castle of the Pope. Want to know the story behind the name? Ask him sometime (it involves blessed grapes!). From there, he moved on to other wines — despite being under the legal drinking age. He would go to restaurants and ask questions and talk about wines with servers, only to awkwardly decline a drink as he couldn’t provide a valid I.D.

As he turned 21, George became a Level 1 Sommelier and graduated from CIM shortly thereafter, gaining invaluable experience within the industry. He has worked in positions all around West Michigan including Grove, i-lixir Beverage and SpartanNash. Through these companies, and by learning from other OG’s in the wine game, George sharpened his skills and built a diverse network of wine loving friends across the globe.

Now, George is determined to change the culture and perspective of wine through Graped Out. He remembers the days when he didn’t know the difference between a cabernet sauvignon and a sauvignon blanc and seeing very few wine-makers, sommeliers, and other professionals in the industry that looked like him. George believes that wine should be for the people and by the people - all of the people. He invites you to join him for tasting experiences and events that go beyond the stuffy presentation, tired tasting lists, and judgement of wine novices. It’s time to leave your “boujee” at the door and Get Graped Out!