Vinstinct arose from a group of like-minded women and wine enthusiasts who often gathered to drink and share different wines while socializing with others, working on class assignments, or just relaxing at home. Our founders – Chelsea Stephens, Apriele Minott, Tiffany Agard, and Taylor Walker – are four friends who come from very different backgrounds but share a common love for wine, diversity, and women empowerment. We want to help bring our knowledge and experiences in wine to a larger base of individuals who are less versed in wine education and may often feel excluded from the conversation. In our experiences, we have encountered friends and colleagues who have had very limited experiences with wine because they felt it was too confusing to understand and thus were often unwilling to try new wine recommendations based on assumption of taste or lack of familiarity with wine. We strive to promote wine inclusion by diversifying wine culture and increasing the number of non-wine alcoholic beverage consumers.
Chelsea J. Stephens
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
Cornell University, PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering, 2023
Syracuse University, B.S. in Bioengineering, 2015
From Los Angeles, California
Favorite Wines: Freixenet Cava, Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling, and Edna Valley Chardonnay.
Bio: Her passion for wine grew in the Summer of 2018, when she started trying different varietals all while learning how to paint and binge-watching The Office. This hobby was so cathartic for her and wine slowly became her drink of choice for every occasion. So as a true scientist and engineer, she wanted to delve more into the wine world and explore it, trying to find the most suitable wine for her palate and helping others do the same.
Apriele A. Minott
Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder
Cornell University, JD Candidate, 2021
Cornell University, B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, 2018
From Randolph, New Jersey
Favorite Wines: Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, & Chardonnay
Bio: She always enjoyed the occasional glass of wine but her passion for wine began after taking the infamous Wines course during her senior year in undergrad at Cornell University. The course introduced her to the different wine varietials and she started expanding her palate. Going to school in the Finger Lakes region, she was able to venture to different wineries which also increased her interest in wines. She hopes to share her passion for wine with others and help make the wine industry more inclusive to the Black community!
Tiffany A. Agard
Chief Financial Officer & Co-Founder
Cornell University, MPA Candidate, 2021
Harvard University, B.A. in Government, 2015
From Atlanta, Georgia
Favorite Wines: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
Bio: Her passion for wine first started with a glass of Merlot. It’s her mother’s favorite wine, and she orders it everywhere they go. Tiffany was so intrigued by this particular varietal, but once she started consuming wine, she found a love in Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah wines. What most intrigues her is how the terroir (particular combination of soils and microclimates) can distinctly impact the flavor of a wine. As an avid traveler, learning about new regions through tasting new varietals always brings her so much excitement! She loves learning about the parentage of grapes and how they’ve traveled the world bringing us new unique flavors and amazing stories.
Taylor D. Walker, M.Eng.
Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder
Cornell University, M.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering, 2019
University of Illinois, B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2018
From Chicago, Illinois
Favorite Wines: Chateau Ste Michelle’s Riesling
Bio: Her journey into wine began when she moved to Ithaca, NY at the age of 21. As she toured the Finger Lakes wine country, she fell in love with the relaxing sensory experience that is tasting. Chateau Ste Michelle’s Riesling is her standout favorite, which she enjoys over a round of video games and cheese snacking, but she is always exploring new wines.