TJ and Kelsey of the Nashville Wine Duo are ending the stigma that wine is pretentious and intimidating to buy. The husband and wife team use a realistic approach by showcasing excellent, unique bottles of wine usually well under $30. They have been reviewing wine since the beginning of 2020 and have become an excellent resource for the Franklin and Leipers Fork community looking for quality, affordable wine. Through daily tastings, books, interviews with
wine makers, and tours of vineyards, they give their educated, honest advice on what to sip, where to find it, and what to pair it with. What started with curating the wine and cheese order for the Green Hills Trader Joe’s, resulted in the couple pursuing their passion for the wine industry and working full-time with Wines in the Fork.
How did you become the Nashville Wine Duo?
TJ: We came up with an idea to start an Instagram page where we’d take a picture of a wine bottle and talk about it for Trader Joe’s. We were drinking a new bottle every night for a point of reference. We’d write descriptions like ‘this wine has notes of cherry and pomegranate’ to intrigue people. People go to the store and have no idea what to look for, they just want to know if it’s good. When we worked at Trader Joe’s we made guitar picks that said “TJ & Kelsey’s
Pick” to put on the wines we liked so our followers could easily find them.
What is your favorite wine pairing?
TJ: Lately we’ve been doing Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Gouda cheese. That is incredible. With olives, crackers and nuts. We like it with bubbles.
Kelsey: It’s good with a Pinot Noir, too. Food can really change the way wine tastes, so it’s always important to try without food first. That’s why we have people try crackers in between wines at tastings.
What has been your favorite vineyard to visit in your travels so far?
TJ: Chateau Elan in Georgia is phenomenal. The winemaker there, Simone Bergese, is from Italy and takes an Italian wine making approach.
Kelsey: He has something for everybody there. Sweet wines, in between, and then some $200 bottles that are just fabulous. He sent us some wine, so that’s what got us starting to go to wineries in Georgia. We eventually want to go to Virginia and Texas because they’re doing amazing things with wine too.
What is your involvement with Wines in the Fork?
Kelsey: One of our friends suggested we go to the new Vintage Winery in Columbia, Tennessee. So we set up an interview with the owner James Evans, put our kids in the car and drove out there in the snow. A lot of the wines there reminded us of the ones we were trying in Georgia. You could tell it's sustainably farmed.
TJ: He was impressed with what we knew, so he offered me a job to manage his tasting room, Wines in the Fork, in Leiper’s Fork. Then Kelsey was brought on full time going between both of the locations. She also handles social media for Vintage Winery. We’re busy, but we love what we do.
What do you love most about what you do?
Kelsey: Our favorite thing to come out of all of this has been the community we’ve built locally. Customers would come in and just look for us. We wanted to start in Nashville and Franklin and then build it out from there. Now people who are coming to Wines in the Fork are people who have followed our Instagram from the beginning. It just has come full circle.