From the beginning Jaton Gunter has always been a writer. As a young child, Jaton gravitated towards writing poetry, eventually channeling a little bit of Darius from Love Jones as he grew older. Not only was he great at writing poetry, he knew his talent could help pave a way to connect deeper with women and understand the world that surrounded him. With time, this talented, young black man soon began to find other means to connect with women, leading him to discover the world of wine. Because of his affinity for writing, it was no surprise that he soon merged both of these worlds and started blogging about wine. Through his ongoing wine journey, Jaton discovered that his love for education and history could result in a career in wine–and he was hooked.

Jaton soon developed a side hustle as a private buyer, originally just for his friends via a monthly wine club he created, eventually paving the way towards sourcing wines for high end clients who needed guidance on understanding their personal palate preferences. Through his personal drive in wine education he obtained his official Sommelier certification to continue assisting people in their personal wine journeys. After all, wine is meant to be explored and enjoyed.

What Jaton discovered during his initial entry into the industry however showcased a world that often came with judgment and condescending, snooty responses when questions were asked. It was then that Jaton knew he had to make the barrier to entry in this industry easier and more digestible. Thus, the birth of Fruit in Glass: a book he wrote assisting curious wine lovers by breaking down myths, understanding facts and opinions, and providing a comfortable space where the novice or anyone with an itch to know more could ask questions. As a way to relate with people, Fruit in Glass draws on the parallels of relationships–something many have experienced and can comprehend. Refusing to wait for a literary agent to convince someone his book was worthy, Jaton took his future into his own hands and started his own publishing company: Grapes and Sand Publishing.

Through his work as an author and publisher, Jaton knows this is just the beginning as he continues building his legacy. Currently he is focusing on publishing a cookbook showing love to BIPOC individuals across the Bay Area, by showcasing cultural foods and their pairability with wine. This exciting collaboration is done in partnership with another Bay Area legend, Armando Tam, and will help break down the stigmas that are often associated with cultural foods and wine.

Jaton is truly a special human being who’s the literal definition of a trailblazer owning his own future. Episode 25 is full of nothing but laughter and lessons, and a reminder to wholeheartedly pursue whatever sets your soul on fire. You can catch his weekly IG Live TV Series every #winewednesday as well as his personal Friday favorite, Wine Steal of the Week, where he finds you the best wines under $20 that are punching above their weight class!

Here’s to continuously getting excited about the community that’s being built by and for people of color! Enjoy the latest sip and the juice, and be sure to support!

IG: @jatongunter | @grapesandsandpub


Episode 16: Chasing Happiness

In Episode 16 of The Big Sip, we get to dive in and sip from Tamer Hamawi’s cup–incredible entrepreneur, humble human, world traveler, and all-around eclectic individual whose goal in life is #chasinghappiness. It’s his joy for...

Episode 11: “All That Glitters Isn’t Gold”

One of the most raw and unfiltered conversations yet featuring three phenomenal black business owners in the Napa Valley: James Moss of J.Moss wines Darryl Bell of 816 BBQ, Stateline Road Charles “Buster” Davis of Buster’s Southern...

Episode 20: “Uncorked & Cultured”

The power of the internet is truly amazing! Two strangers connecting from opposite sides of the Coast through technology, both on a mission to amplify and elevate the BIPOC experience in wine. That’s exactly what happened when...