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Wine Enthusiast Podcast: The Power of Social Media in Wine

What makes for compelling social media in the wine world, and how can companies, wine pros and casual drinkers better harness the power of Instagram, TikTok and beyond?

In this episode, Associate Managing Editor Emily Saladino speaks with 40 Under 40 Tastemakers Isis Daniel and Shanika Hillocks about the roles that social media plays in wine business and culture. Emily, Isis and Shanika discuss how people can use social media to learn about and appreciate wine, and Shanika and Isis share tips for building followings and finding creators who resonate with you. They also explore some of the challenges and complications of modern social media, including how to build a vibrant digital community while remaining true to yourself.

Find Isis on Instagram and TikTok @themillennialsomm, and Shanika on Instagram @shanikahillocks.

To explore the intersection of influencer and wine cultures, read Shanika’s essay, “Influencers Have Come Far, But Have a Long Way to Go,” or Emily’s op-ed, “Wine Influencers Inspire Strong Reactions. But What’s the Harm in being ‘Liked’?” See the full list of 40 Under 40 Tastemakers for 2021 here.

Episode Transcript

Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting.

Speakers: Lauren Buzzeo, Emily Saladino, Shanika Hillocks, Isis Daniel

Lauren Buzzeo 0:09
Hello and welcome to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast, your serving of drinks culture and the people who drive it. I’m Lauren Buzzeo, the managing editor at Wine Enthusiast, and in this episode, the first in our three part series highlighting some of this year’s 40 Under 40 tastemakers, we dive into the ever evolving world of social media with two experts in the space. Associate Managing Editor of Digital Emily Saladino speaks with Isis Daniel and Shanika Hillocks about the role social media plays in wine culture and commerce. They both bring wine to digital audiences through their social media channels. Isis’s handle on Instagram and Tiktok is @themillennialsomm and Shanika is on Instagram @ShanikaHillocks. In this conversation, they discuss how people can use social media to learn about and appreciate wine. They also explore some of the challenges and complications of modern social media: How do you build a digital community while remaining true to yourself? Is it possible to have a major social presence without getting lost in the sauce as Isis puts it? Well, stay tuned to hear more of their insights and tips.

Emily Saladino 1:23
Thanks, Lauren. This is Emily Saladino from Wine Enthusiast, and I’m joined today by Shanika Hillocks and Isis Daniel, two talented social media professionals who were featured on our 40 Under 40 Tastemakers list this year. Shanika and Isis have the sort of social accounts that make me want to prioritize my mental health, try zip lining and learn more about wine all at the same time. So thank you both so much for being here.

Shanika Hillocks 1:48
Thank you for having us.

Isis Daniel 1:50
Yes, excited to be in the room with you all today.

Emily Saladino 1:54
So my first question is kind of for both of you. For me part of what makes both of your ideas so superlative is that they feel dirtier personalities and and you let us into your lives. But at the feet is also super inclusive. How do you navigate that? How do you determine how much wine and how much of your non-wine self to include?

Shanika Hillocks 2:17
Emily, that’s a great question. And it’s one that I’m often met with from friends and other professionals in the digital media marketing space. I’m going to start off by really just speaking to why I started Instagram in the first place. I think like several of us, you know, I started Instagram in college as a way to highlight the things and the people that I loved. And at that time, it was really my family, friends. I had just started getting into food and beverage, and a little bit of travel. Following my move to New York, my content shifted to focus on my career. And that was really when it started budding, moreso in the wine industry, coupled with my love for hospitality. And so at that point, I really started to engage my community because a lot of friends who were excited that I had been in New York City began to ask me questions and, from my perspective, I too really ensured that my curiosity was at the forefront of that while I was definitely still growing in my career. And now I think to date, I really aim to just maintain that ethos of finding harmony between my creativity, the engagement with my community, and also that that personal curiosity that I always aim to kind of put at the forefront when I am creating content. So I would say those are the three pillars for me. And things that I used to just gut check when I am approaching content creation overall.

Emily Saladino 3:45
I love that idea of just leading with curiosity, right? Like I think that in the digital media space, there’s such tension of like content produced, and like you do still want to be yourself, right? Like it still wants to feel—I know authenticity is a word we love to throw around—but it’s real, right? Like you do want it to feel authentic.

Shanika Hillocks 4:06
Absolutely. And I think as we continue to operate in a digital space, with fatigue being very much a real thing, it’s really awesome to kind of have that in the forefront when I’m deciding to put something out on my Instagram page.

Isis Daniel 4:21
And honestly, I mean, it goes, you know, pretty much the same for me. When I first got into social media, I was studying wine. You know, I was a wine student at Capital Wine School. And my mom is a trainer. So she was really like social media is the future. If you want to really study just apply what you’re doing to social media, and I didn’t really know what that looked like. I didn’t know how that would feel. I was so awkward in the beginning. It’s kind of crazy. But for me, I just started making content based off of everything I was learning. Then, I guess because it became a constant part of my life, every Thursday posting on Tasting Thursday, it became a outlet for me to show my personality. I started making content that not really, I didn’t really care about what other people wanted to watch, because I didn’t really have a lot of followers. So I was creating content that I enjoyed. And I think that that is a key part of content creation. You can tell when someone is making content that they think other people want to see or kind of just trying to fit into a mold that they think other people want, versus people who are truly being creative, and allowing their creativity and love and passion for whatever they’re doing to show. So that is really the backbone of my content. I’m silly, I love wine and because I’m being myself, I naturally find a balance between the two.

Emily Saladino 5:54
I absolutely love that, the idea of just like, produce what you like, you know, create the content that you like that you find fun, that you find funny, that you find interesting. You know, it sounds really straightforward, but it’s actually not. I think, you know, part of the thing about existing on social media is that we’re very aware that there’s, you know, we call it an audience, right, like, we’re aware that it is being put out in the world. But it’s such a beautiful sentiment, right? Just do what you think is cool.

Shanika Hillocks 6:23
Yeah, absolutely.

Isis Daniel 6:24
And then when you’re being yourself, and you’re able to dive deeper into it, right, of course, you slowly—or quickly, in some instances—create a community. Once I establish who I am, and I’m able to make content that is based off of my personality, and what I like, of course, I will talk to my supporters, followers, whatever you like to call them, and ask, ‘What would you like to see?’ And I can make content that focuses on their needs and whatever they want to learn. However, I never deviate from the truth, which is, this is me, this is who I am. And this is the content that I feel most comfortable showing.

Emily Saladino 7:06
Absolutely, I really love that. I also think that your mom should be like advising most media companies and perhaps individuals because well, she sounds like a great social media analyst. But no, I really do. I love what you said just about the idea of also like there being something quite liberating about not having a lot of followers. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. You know what, as you as you grow a social presence there is more feedback for better for worse, right? There’s more feedback. And so it is just quite important when your spaces smaller to establish that sense of self.

Shanika Hillocks 7:45
Yes, Emily, just to cosign there. I think after coming off the heels of the announcement and several other social instances, like last year where there’s the swell of followers or audience members who decide to join you on your digital journey, there definitely has been times for me where I’ve questioned truly my intention and my purpose on social media. I think that’s another big thing. Similar to what I said about leading with curiosity, I’m always of the mindset to remind myself of what the purpose of my activity online is. You know, whether that is something like putting out a post based on recent trip that I took, or to kind of culturally comment on something that’s happening in the meme world, or in the wine industry. So I think in an effort to really ensure that I’m not just kind of speaking to an echo chamber or reiterating a message that might be best suited to come from someone who might be a better expert than myself. Purpose is definitely something that I often will communicate when advising brands or even other creators to think about when they are active on social media.

Isis Daniel 9:03
I love that so much because that was a struggle. I think, after my TikTok boomed in January, that was something I went through where you have all these brands reaching out, you have all these new followers who have ideas and what they want to see. And you kind of get lost in the sauce sometimes. And I remember, I had to take a break from social media just to reconnect with who I am and what it is that I do and why I make wine content. So I just I love what you said, because that is a true struggle. As you begin to grow you have to sometimes take breaks or do whatever it takes to reconnect with your creativity and your purpose. Absolutely.

Emily Saladino 9:51
You know, you also, Isis, just gave me the world’s best transition, which is I wanted to ask you a bit about—I love the Mrs. Suzanne character. And so tell us a little bit about it. Why do you think she resonates?

Isis Daniel 10:07
Oh my gosh, people love Suzanne for so many different reasons. And it’s so funny to me because I decided to create Suzanne after I made like a spoof video, I had a blonde wig and I decided I spent $40 on it, I am not going to waste my money. And working in the hospitality industry, you interact with so many different characters. And as a writer, I’ve always had my idea of what a wine snob was, right? And I believe that wine snobs possess one of our greatest lessons in life, from how to interact with different people, always being open to learning something new. But just the satire of it all. I think that people think she’s funny, because we all know a wine snob. But we all kind of want to be like her a little bit sometimes. I don’t know. I mean, Suzanne is fancy, she is obviously very wealthy and well off and hilarious. So you know, I think it depends on who you’re talking to, and what, what you love about her, but I think that we all can connect to knowing a wine snob, and we all can connect to wanting to live a luxurious life sometimes. So I think that’s kind of what it is. I don’t know, you have to tell me what you like about her. And we could go from there.

Emily Saladino 11:29
No, you hit the nail on the head, right? It’s a familiar comic character. But there is this, like, I don’t know if aspiration was the right word. But there is this part of me that I’m like, I want to be fancy, right?

Isis Daniel 11:43
You know, Suzanne, she does that to me as well. There’ll be moments when I’ll be out with family. And then they’ll call me Suzanne, because I do something that is similar to her. But honestly, she’s fabulous. We want to be fabulous. But we have to just make sure that we are speaking to people with love, always allowing ourselves to learn new lessons, you know, we don’t know everything, especially when it comes to the wine industry. Everything is always changing and evolving. So I think that she is what we want to be, but not at the same time. And that’s why we enjoy watching her.

Emily Saladino 12:21
I love that. Exactly. It is simultaneously this, like, familiar what not to do. But also like you see a little bit in yourself. And you’re like, well, I don’t want to be that. But I also do want to be a wine expert. Right? So there’s a tension, there’s a there’s a beautiful comic tension. Knowing that, you also I have to tell you, you totally illustrated the point that, when we were talking earlier about like how you create social media content that feels true to yourself, and is compelling. Like you just illustrated it beautifully, right? Like, what happened was you had a $40 wig, and you’re like, I’m getting my money’s worth out of this wig. So like, I’m gonna do some stuff that I personally find funny that I like the tension of, that I know too many people who are like this and who are exclusive. But I also know that some of us really do want to learn, like how to swirl, you know. I think it’s really interesting, right?

Isis Daniel 13:14
Absolutely, yes. Suzanne is a hot mess. That’s all whenever I talk to people about it, I say the same thing. She’s a hot mess. However, she wants to know all the same things that we want to know. Or, you know, there are a lot of myths within the industry that we consider to be absolute truths. And you know, there are people like her who aren’t trying to be rude or be know-it-alls, who honestly believe certain myths. And so it’s great to be able to use comedy as a way to educate wine drinkers alike. Whether you are a novice to it or an expert. It doesn’t matter. We all just want to know, ‘How do I enjoy this glass of wine?’

Emily Saladino 13:56
Exactly, exactly. It’s extremely true. Like the, the ultimate point and I you know, for me, part of the reason why the character resonated with me personally, is I’m like, Yeah, but it is also educational, or like I am learning here. And that’s, you know, that’s what I think socials do so well is is social media. It can, it can educate you without you feeling like you’re in school, it can open your eyes to things without you feeling like you’re like I am right now widening my worldview, right. Like, in like, that is something that I think content creators and marketers and, and anyone who exists in the social space, we all kind of need to be cognizant of, right? Like, there is an audience, whether it’s 40 people, it’s 4,000 or it’s 40,000. Like there is an audience for what we’re saying. And you know, Shanika, you actually mentioned something earlier. You mentioned working with brands, and I wanted to ask you a bit about that because I you know, in addition to your own extremely successful and hardcore aspirational IG. That’s what I was referring to. It makes me want to prioritize my mental health and like maybe get a quality skincare regimen, in addition to this beautiful IG that you have, you also handle influencer marketing campaigns for major brands like Gallo and others. And in your opinion what makes good influencer content and why? Like, what makes it work?

Shanika Hillocks 15:21
Sure, I would have to say, I find that the wine content that I resonate with most on Instagram and in the digital space really looks at the who behind the brand. I’m often most inspired and attracted to a brand’s values via their winemaker, their founder, folks who are in the tasting rooms. I think this is a great opportunity to expound on storytelling too, aside from what’s just showcased within the square, in the photo. I also think that being able to see someone’s day to day life, and maybe their family, what they’re enjoying outside of wine to or how they’re enjoying their wine outside of just the vineyards, or maybe within, you know, the production facility is another way to really embrace not only my interest, but I think the interest of a lot of consumers and to access this point, like showcase something that we all want to know whether you’re a novice or an expert, and I think personhood and the human side of it is definitely a point of attraction.

Emily Saladino 16:31
You wrote this really gorgeous essay for Wine Enthusiast last year about how influencers can can do that, right? Can harness their power, you know, to share more of themselves and, and take stands on issues and things like that. And I that really, like Mrs. Susanne, that really resonates with me in a different way. No, it resonates with me, as well, because it does show, going back to that idea of like the power that social media has, like, there’s such opportunity there, particularly in wine as we talk about widening the audience of wine, making sure that folks who are younger folks who might not have grown up in a wine household all of that. There’s a lot of potential for just hard like, it’s again, it’s an overused term, so forgive me, but community, you know, of building community.

Shanika Hillocks 17:21
Absolutely. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think something that compels me to even follow whether it’s a wine account, a drinks-related account, or otherwise is really someone’s community, I think I get very excited when I can see that the person’s social media audience is genuinely curious, inquisitive. And then that creator then is responding, you know, more than just maybe a heart emoji or a smiley face, but having conversation and then circling back there. So that’s one of the elements that also gets me super excited about seeing how folks are taking, you know, their own sense of influence on to Instagram or otherwise.

Emily Saladino 18:03
Exactly, it is that you, again, I’m just using buzzword after buzzword, but it is engaging, right. It’s engagement, which is a it’s a metric we use when we talk about social media. But there’s a real reason we call it an influencer. And there’s a real reason we call it engagement, right? Like, these are two things that they’re grounded in the action, like you do have influence and you are engaging with your audience.

Shanika Hillocks 18:28
Totally one of the like, little punch lines, I remember when I had my opportunity to update my bio, I would say maybe two or three years ago was this notion of turning URL into IRL and I’ve always maintained that as well. I think oftentimes, we have this perception of what a person or brand might be on their, you know, digital platforms, but being able to punctuate I think also what exists in the real life and peppering that into socialists is one of the beautiful things that I’ve really enjoyed observing and aiming to put into practice as someone who has an online presence as well.

Emily Saladino 19:09
To that end, you know, we spoke a little bit about creating your own I don’t know, for lack of a better term, like personal brands on social media, you know, creating your own presences and building that. What tips would you two give to someone who is perhaps new, they want to start in tic tac, they want to start an Instagram. They’re new to the spaces and they want to work in the drink space socially. What tips would you have for folks to do that?

Isis Daniel 19:41
My number one tip is always consistency. You kind of just have to figure out—pick something you want to do and go with it. You know, you mentioned my mom earlier. Honestly, she is honestly just amazing. But she’s the one who told me. I was very awkward. I wasn’t sure how want it to show up on social media, what it was that I even wanted to do. But from her advice, I did want to do it, I wanted to pursue social media. She simply told me pick a day, find a concept, stick to it, you know, every day for a month, see where you go, if there’s something you want to change, change it up, but you just have to be consistent. That’s how I began Tasting Thursday, where every Thursday I’m tasting wines, rating wines, and this is before I had really any followers. Before I had, you know, just I was just Isis Daniel, barely The Millennial Song. I don’t even think I had that name yet when I first started, and I didn’t have a jingle, nothing. It was just me. And every Thursday, I was awkward. I was trying to really repeat out everything I was learning in class. I sounded more like a teacher than I did Isis now where you know, I get to be my personality and showcase that rather than being an instructor. But it was very awkward in the beginning. But I kept at it for months, I was every Thursday, came up with the name tasting Thursday. Next thing you know, I had a jingle. All of a sudden, I was starting to get supporters who logged in every Thursday, and it still wasn’t a lot. But then all of a sudden, there was a boom, where people were finding me and I’m just surprised people are singing my jingle. And I’m just just totally in awe. But it only happened because I stay true to a commitment that I might not know what I’m doing. I might think I sound crazy. But I’m going to be consistent with this and allow it to become what it’s meant to be rather than trying to strong arm it to be something, a concept that I see in my head. If that makes any sense.

Emily Saladino 21:45
That makes perfect sense. Absolutely. I love that message of being consistent. You know, again, your mom just has an incredible career as a social media advisor if that’s not what she’s doing already.

Isis Daniel 21:57
We’re gonna see if we can just go ahead and make her change careers because it’s truly her calling, right?

Emily Saladino 22:04
By the end of this, I will have endorsed her on LinkedIn for the skill. No, she is amazing. But I also I really think that you hit on something else that I thought was super interesting, which is, you know, it can feel challenging to you. And like some of that is okay, like it’s okay to be feeling your way. It’s okay to be like, I look back on things that I wrote as little as a year ago, and I cringe, you know, it’s okay to see to see your work evolve in the space. It’s actually good. It would be bad if you produce something and it never evolved.

Shanika Hillocks 22:42
I’d love to build on what Isis said, in addition to consistency, I think, I’m going to go back to my theme of curiosity, particularly because I don’t just cover wine. And as my interests personally started to evolve and grow, I found that I was extending an invitation to my community, I’m going to take, you know, wellness and health as an example. I was not an athlete in school, but I found that, you know, going to take a run or heading up to a hit class was something that just allowed me to find harmony in my life. And I was pretty, you know, transparent in that and asking, ‘Hey, you know, where should I go work out in Brooklyn? What do you guys think? Or have you ever tried a hit class before?’ Just being able to showcase that humanity and say, hey, maybe this is the first time I’m doing this, or it’s my first 5k. And I’m out of breath, after like, you know, 15 minutes in but I think having that vulnerability is something that I found to be super successful. In terms of going back to the wine specific, or you know, someone who’s interested in going into the drinks category. I think being able to also utilize the verbiage or your own experiences that you have alongside wine is very important. I think one of the biggest things when I was first starting out was feeling a little bit intimidated by the lexicon of like sommelier speak and, but you know, when I did taste on my own, you know, I would say things like, ‘Okay, this reminds me of like the mangoes that my grandma would pick in our yard,’ or ‘This might pair well with like rice and peas, and oxtail,’ which is, you know, something that I grew up enjoying, and maybe the tasting notes of this, Pinot Noir actually do go quite well with it. And even though I wasn’t quite seeing that yet in the space, it was something that I felt confident and comfortable enough to articulate. And that in itself kind of allowed me to find my own voice when it came to experiencing, you know, wine drinking and pairing it with foods that I loved or occasions.

Isis Daniel 24:51
I mean, honestly, I just have to build on that again, too. I mean, we can do this all day. But I also think, you know, you have to free yourself. Social media is not something that you should pigeonhole. And I know I’m totally piggybacking. But it’s important that it is made clear. Social media is a world upon a world upon a world that you can create from your own, you know, creativity, your own way of thinking, your point of view all of that. And I think it’s important that you don’t box yourself in, because you have a niche that does not exist, right? So when you compare yourself to other influencers, other content creators, understand that that already exists. What do you want to bring to the table? Ask yourself that? Of course, yes, explore. And I love the curiosity, definitely have that. But remember, when you kind of tap into that curiosity, know that whatever you discover, go with it, because it might just be your niche and a lane that we need you to create.

Shanika Hillocks 25:57
I love that. I’m like, slowly applauding in the background over here.

Isis Daniel 26:03
Come on, girl. We got this together.

Shanika Hillocks 26:05

Emily Saladino 26:07
You know, I have to tell you about that you are I laugh a lot. I mute myself while you’re just speaking because I’m like laughing at the jokes and saying, like, Uh huh. And it’s so lovely. Like it is, it’s really true. I think, you know, you’ve both really, you have built this beautiful message together. And it is exactly that, right? Like, you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself, you know, other folks will pigeonhole us, we don’t have to do it to ourselves, right.

Shanika Hillocks 26:34

Emily Saladino 26:34
And I love what you’re saying about like, this, like, reminds me of mangoes, which is something that I am familiar with. And like, that’s a particular note for me. And I think that there’s ways to do that, where it’s very personal to you. And that makes it more relatable. Again, I’m not a social media expert, I’m a journalist. And so for me, that comes up a lot in journalism, when you’re like, if you give a really specific about a setting, it helps bring people into the scene. So if I say we were riding in a car, that’s fine, but if I say we were riding in a tiny, dirty car and Stevie Wonder was on the radio, it takes you into the scene, right? And I think that probably translates into into socials, you two can tell me if I’m wrong.

Shanika Hillocks 27:22
Absolutely, no, I have to cosign that. And I think that also comes in part from the various experiences too. I know, Emily you said, ‘Hey, I’m a journalist’ and Isis, you’ve been in the hospitality space in multiple roles. I mean, for me, I started out in PR, and then evolved into writing. And for me, I also just saw social as another way to storytell. I think, a little bit more snackable, of course, but being able to set the stage and utilize those sensorial notes, like pun intended, in your writing. It definitely helps from a caption perspective, and as you’re communicating with a social media audience.

Isis Daniel 28:00
Honestly, I talk about this all the time. I know that when we are specifically talking about wine, there are different ways to describe flavors and aromas. And I think that we, because there are specific words and phrases that you can use to describe a wine, we forget that majority of wine consumers are not actually wine professionals. So I encourage anyone to talk about when you smell that, what is it that you smell? Don’t, you know, don’t try to sound a specific way or be Miss Suzanne, in this instance, where you’re really just trying to say the right things. Talk about your experience, ask yourself if you like that experience, and then we can dive deeper into is this the wine for you or is it not but anything else, when you’re just trying to mimic the image of the wine industry, it is an absolute no-no. It’s not necessary is, you know, the point that I’m trying to make. So open yourself up, ask yourself the same questions, but allow your journey and your experience to be just that—your journey and your experience.

Emily Saladino 29:13
100%. It goes back to that idea of authenticity and of being true to yourself and allowing yourself to evolve publicly and that can be hard. It can be hard to be vulnerable in a public space. I think a lot about the the you know, the differences between I do think of social media as as a type of journalism, basically, I don’t know how else to say that. It is storytelling, you know, Shanika, as you said. It’s important to be true to your sources and to yourself and without that the story gets lost. You know, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and to your story. On that note, as I am revolutionizing all of media—no. On that note, I did want to ask, you both spoke a lot about how to how to create the sense of a very good account of a presence that is true to you and still feels fun and compelling. What do you look for when you’re finding new folks to follow? You know, who are some individuals who you think just do the drinks social space really well?

Shanika Hillocks 30:28
I’ll dive in. I have two folks who I really enjoy following. The first is Cha McCoy. She has really showcased her presence, not only being from Harlem, which is the neighborhood I reside in New York, but also abroad, really taking in that point of the lexicon, I think, is a huge example of just being able to speak to wine and in a way that feels palatable and showcases the various regions, not only here in the US, but abroad. And it’s just nice to see that representation. For a long time, you know, prior to really leaning into the wine space, I hadn’t seen that represented. So to have her in my feed and showcasing beautiful wine regions across the globe has been has been awesome. The other individual, Elliott Clark, his handle is @apartment_bartender. I have followed him for several years back when he truly was in a small apartment with a red door and just trying to figure out how to enjoy classic cocktails at home. His knowledge has really just grown and he’s invited his audience in. He’s super humorous and has this edutainment, I would call it like, vein throughout his social media that’s been really great to see. And he’s kind of evolved into this man about town almost. Like he covers a little bit of fashion, travel. He’s also like a newly minted dad. So that’s been really just cool to kind of see as he develops and grows as a person and also a digital luminary in the space, so those would be my two individuals.

Isis Daniel 32:10
For me, okay, everyone kind of knows this, but I’m a total wine geek, okay? I carry that badge with pride. And I love my content to be super geeked out. But truthfully, yes, I want to learn something new about wine or kind of hear the information in a different way. But I want when I watch your content, or read your content, I want to feel that I’m truly getting a true experience of your passion. And there are two content creators that I absolutely love. One is not that popular, but I love him. So I want to give him a shout out. He’s on TikTok. And his handle is @Visforvino. He’s a super chill laid back guy, but he gives you all this different information about wine. And I just, you know, for social media, I think that it’s can be a struggle between social media and wine and trying to figure out how to encourage people to drink wine and to learn more about wine in a fun and an inviting way. I don’t know, like his content just makes me feel so comfortable. I love just hearing him calmly talk about wine—and it’s not boring. I want to say that, you know, and when I say calm, it might sound boring, but it’s not. It’s kind of like Mr. Rogers, where you just sit there and you just listen to him talk. That’s his vibe for me. And it might sound weird, but I’m telling you, I like his content. And then I also love @Frenchwinetutor Katie, I’ve had her on my show for tasting Thursday. She is an amazing, amazing woman. I think she’s so fun. But I love her content because when you come into the wine world, first of all wine, how many languages do I need to learn in order to truly understand wine, right? But she is a French wine tutor. I think the name handles it, you know, tells you what she’s all about. But she’s so kind and patient and she’s really just wants you to understand how to pronounce the words, but also to understand the regions and the grape varietals. And it’s just, I don’t know why a geek in me loves both of them. It’s super educational, but no matter what when I listen or watch their content, I always leave learning something new, or being able to kind of practice what I’ve already known. So I will say those two—long winded that was a long winded recommendation, but those are my people.

Emily Saladino 34:48
I love that, I love the passion and not too long winded, just long enough. No thank you. Um, you know, I do want to acknowledge that you two are just both such gracious leaders in the space, you know, to hear the enthusiasm that you both shared about these other creators, it’s really, really wonderful. It’s no wonder why you’re both just such powerful storytellers in the social space because of exactly that. Because it is a community and you are so eager to build it to invite folks to join it. I just tip my hat to that and to you both, again, just revolutionising all of media here. Thank you also for for sharing some of the you know, the tips with us. That’s another, to me, it demonstrates grace. And, you know, it’s really, really valuable for for everyone to get to learn how to use socials to be true to themselves. on that, I just want to thank you both so much for your time. Give us both your handles, so that everyone who’s listening, I assume already follows but just in case, give us your handles.

Shanika Hillocks 35:58
So my handle is just my first and last name, @ShanikaHillocks.

Isis Daniel 36:03
Alright, and my handle is @themillennialsomm, and that is s-o-m-m. And for the people who always seem to forget, millennial it has two Ns, okay?

Shanika Hillocks 36:16
Don’t blame autocorrect.

Emily Saladino 36:21
Right. We’re learning how to speak French and we’re learning how to spell English. We’re learning it all here.

Isis Daniel 36:27
Inclusion, inclusion. No matter where you are, you are welcomed, okay?

Emily Saladino 36:31
Exactly. I love it. Love it. Thank you both.

Shanika Hillocks 36:36
Thank you for having us.

Isis Daniel 36:37
Yes, thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. This has been a great experience.

Lauren Buzzeo 36:45
It’s not always easy to navigate today’s uber-connected world. But thanks to this conversation, we can all more easily find and get behind our favorite wine-centric content across our favorite social platforms. Subscribe to the Wine Enthusiast Podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you find your podcasts. And if you liked today’s episode, we’d love to read your review and hear what you think. And hey, why not tell your wine loving friends to check us out too. You can also drop us a line at for more wine reviews, recipes, guides, deep dives and stories. Visit Wine Enthusiast online at and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @WineEnthusiast. You can also read more about all of our 40 under 40 tastemakers of 2021 online or by picking up a copy of the October issue out now. The Wine Enthusiast Podcast is produced by Lauren Buzzeo and Jenny Groza. Until next episode, cheers.

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