André Mack ##Photo provided

Q&A: André Mack

Sommelier, winemaker, educator

Despite a successful career with Citicorp Investment Services, André Hueston Mack left the financial world to pursue his passion for wine and become a sommelier in San Antonio. While still in Texas, Mack was awarded the prestigious title of “Best Young Sommelier in America” by Chaine des Rotisseurs. This recognition propelled him to new heights, working as a sommelier at The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s world-renowned restaurant in Yountville, California. Subsequently, he accepted the position of head sommelier at Keller’s Per Se in New York City, where he managed the award-winning wine list.

Mack’s dream of winemaking came true when he created Mouton Noir Wines — now Maison Noir Wines — in 2007. From his winery base of McMinnville, Mack currently produces 30,000 cases annually, which can be found in 45 states and 11 countries. His unique relationships with growers and winemakers around the world are reflected in his portfolio.

He’s been featured in major publications, such as Food and Wine, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Ebony, and The Wall Street Journal. He was honored in 2007 with The Network Journal’s 40-Under-Forty Achievement Award for his contributions to the business.

Mack remains a zealous wine educator, hosting seminars and moderating panel discussions at esteemed food and wine events.

He resides in Brooklyn with his wife, author Phoebe Damrosch, and their three children. Learn more about Mack at

Q: What is the meaning behind the name Mouton Noir?

AHM: The company is no longer called Mouton Noir because “you know who” had a problem with it. But the original idea behind the Mouton Noir (French for black sheep) is that we’ve all felt like outcasts, misfits and outsiders and instead of shying away from that feeling, we should embrace it and use it to make us into superheroes.

Q: Your general thoughts on Oregon wine? Any favorites?

AHM: I’ve been making wine in the Willamette Valley since 2007 — that’s over a decade. Needless to say, I’m very fond, if not fanatical, about Oregon wine. There are way too many favorites to list here.

Q: What’s the last wine you tasted that changed your perception?

AHM: Pray Tell Rosé of Pinot Gris: The wine is simply sublime and definitely opened my eyes to the versatility of the grape.

Q: How has racism shaped your experience in the wine industry?*

AHM: I have never let racism shape anything that I do in life and that carries over into the wine industry. When I encounter it, I lean in!! I treat racism like Pac-Man uses power pellets: it energizes me and that wards off racists and bigots.

Q: How can the wine industry become a more diverse community?

AHM: Diversity only helps to grow one’s business and makes the world a better place, so it’s helpful to us all to go out of our way to seek it.

Q: Any exciting news to share about your brand or company?

AHM: I think some type of a tasting room/event space is on the horizon…


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