Un-Silo Yourself

Posted on September 8, 2021


Photo by Ellaita

In the chaotic world that we live in I think it is natural for people to attempt to make sense of things by categorizing them. Unfortunately this can lead to separating categories from each other completely and neglecting to see where intersections can take place across seemingly disparate topics. I live a life that is focused by salmon, you could say that my vision is lensed through them, but my life is lived by bringing many aspects together that are related to salmon and trusting this path has brought really beautiful integration to my life in unexpected ways. I like to see it as a venn diagram with areas that overlap and sometimes I get to dwell in the sweetest spots on that map where everything comes together.

This leads me to bring up my sister whose career is centered around wine, but she brings really important aspects into her work in unexpected and brilliant ways; ways that need to be considered in the day and age that we find ourselves in as humans on this earth. Considerations such as climate change, social justice, climate justice and celebration of culture in the midst of turmoil.

Elaine Arnaqiaq Chukan Brown is a wine professional who is a talented wine writer, not a wine critic, who has rigorously learned how wine is made from soil to bottle by spending meaningful time with her subjects to understand their approach to growing and making their wines. She has not only shared what she learns in her writing in ways that further the reader’s understanding, but she is also an amazing educator and is really adept at bringing people through tastings that not only bring enjoyment through the wines, but also brings so much understanding and appreciation of the earth that the wines are born from.

Recently Elaine was tasked with developing a series by Jackson Family Wines entitled ‘Rooted for Good: Fostering a Sustainable Future for the Wine Industry.’ The webinar series is being presented in five parts and brings in environmental and climate considerations as well as social justice matters that the wine industry is just now giving due time to. Matters pertaining to carbon emissions, water quality standards, regenerative agriculture and social responsibility. She just successfully moderated the first of the series that included an emissary from the United Nations COP25 task force who is also a wine maker. Elaine will also moderate the four remaining webinars. Her skill as a moderator is something to behold because of how she pulls knowledge from so many branches of the tree into stimulating conversation.

Elaine also has done a lot to elevate the wines of the first Tribally owned winery in the United States that are made by a Tribal citizen of the Santa Ynez Band of the Chumash Indians. Tara Gomez makes Kita Wines for her Tribe and with her wife, Mireia Taribó, makes their own wine project called Camins 2 Dreams. Elaine lifted the culturally significant wines of Kita up in a beautifully guided podcast that you can listen to on Somm TV. If you are a subscriber to Somm TV you can watch a really lovely film about Tara and her amazing story. Here is a link to a trailer of that film on YouTube. Recently Elaine wrote about a special dinner that Tara and Mireia hosted in vineyard highlighting a taste of the land and foods that are traditional to Tara’s people paired with the wines that they made. You can find the feature in the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine.

In Wine and Spirits magazine this month Elaine wrote an article that brings in food that is centrally celebrated by our family and culturally embedded into our lives. In ‘Caribou Bones and Burgundy’ she shared how the richness of caribou bone soup that is cooked to render the flavor and richness of the bones pairs so well with red Burgundy and how the depth of flavors found in both enhance and speak to each other. Be sure to check out this cultural celebration of flavor that points to so many values that all of us on this earth we walk should consider.


Posted in: Culture, Wine