I am honored to introduce Chasity Cooper; writer, author, and wine culture expert based in Chicago.Chasity makes the world of wine more accessible by capturing stories of its places and people. Her recently published book, Wine Convo Generator, is an example of her commitment to demystifying  wine speak and empowering readers to uncover the hidden language of wine. In this interview, Cooper sheds light on the inspiration behind her book, shares anecdotes of its reception, and offers hard truths for aspiring wine writers. Through her engaging storytelling, education, and travel experiences, Cooper continues to redefine the language of wine, inviting wine lovers to parler like a sommelier. 

Regine T Rousseau: Tell us about your book, Wine Convo Generator. Who was this book written for? How will it enhance the life of the reader? 

Chasity Cooper: Wine Convo Generator was written for anyone who is a lover of wine but may not always feel confident in how they speak about it. It has taken years for me to develop my wine vocabulary, and I’m still constantly learning how to describe wine in a way that makes the most sense to me. With this book, I wanted to give the reader access to common phrases that they may hear from wine professionals like myself at tastings, in wine bars, and wine shops, and have the agency to use them at their leisure.

Regine: This book is really unique. The pages are cutouts  or a better description is rectangular flashcards. It’s a fun puzzle. How did you come up with the idea?

Chasity: I can’t take full credit for the idea; that’s all on the publisher Chronicle Books! But I will say that I was in the perfect position to execute on their idea. The request came on the tail end of taking the D1 exam of the WSET Diploma last year, so I had many of the descriptions atop my mind. To get more inspiration, I would go back through old tasting notes on my phone and notebooks to see how I had described wine over the years. It was a fun yet humbling exercise and challenged me to reimagine how to talk about wine.

Regine: Have you received any feedback about how readers are using your catchy phrases? 

Chasity: During my launch party in March, it was really cool to see friends and family flip through the book and use the phrases to describe what they were tasting in their glasses. When they land on something that makes sense to them, it’s almost as if they light up and have the most precious “Aha!” moment. I’m grateful to be able to give people the wine language they might have a hard time finding a fun, interactive way.

Regine: What are you drinking now? 

Chasity:At the moment, a cold brew (lol). But on a pleasant spring day like this, I’ll more than likely be sipping on rosé or orange wine later on this afternoon.

Regine: Describe your most recent glass of wine using the phrases in your book. 

Chasity; The floral aromas are soft and delicate. Pale golden color. Fresh green apple, pear, and wet slate.

Regine: Writing a book isn’t an easy task. How did you find the discipline to make it happen? 

Chasity: When you’re on a tight deadline or have a goal to reach that you care about, you make the time. And since this was a topic assigned to me, I treated it as such and blocked off time on my calendar to get it done. Now that the book is out, my responsibility and discipline have transformed – it’s about thoughtfully placing the book in spaces where people will have access to it and the courage to speak about wine in a way that isn’t intimidating or overwhelming.

Regine: What advice do you have for those dreaming about doing the same?

Chasity:  JUST START. Whether it is writing a blog, creating a newsletter, or using a platform like Instagram to share your passion, trust yourself and do the work. Writing a book about wine has always been a goal of mine, but I never thought it would’ve happened this way and so organically. I’m super grateful that I believed in myself to be able to complete this task, and now more than ever, I’m energized to keep going on my wine journey.

Regine: Where can people find you? What do you have coming up? 

Chasity: On Instagram: @bychasitycooper; Substack: Bright and Balanced; and (COMING SOON) website: andcheerstothat.com. And the next events I have here in Chicago are: May 21, a book signing and wine tasting at Call & Response Books in Hyde Park; May 29, a wine and whiskey tasting at Nobody’s Darling in Andersonville.

Chasity Cooper is a Chicago-based award winning writer, author, wine culture expert and speaker. Through her wine newsletter, Bright and Balanced, Chasity encourages readers to courageously expand their palates. Her goal is to make wine more accessible and relatable through storytelling, education, and travel experiences. Chasity is also the author of Wine Convo Generator: Mix and Match Witty Phrases to Sound like a Sommelier, from Chronicle Books.