Maiah Johnson Dunn

Maiah - A (mostly wine) writer, recovering marketing professional, and accidental activist.

In 2020, she hosted two sold out wine pairing dinners called Chasing Grapeness, shining a light on the inequities in the wine industry and beyond!!

Her Story: 

I don’t think “getting over” things is our job, but I think learning to go through them is. I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last five months, having been laid off in November. While the concept of losing my job was terrifying, the gifts it has given me are invaluable. I’m so thankful for the time to slow down and catch my breath, and appreciative for the moment to hit pause and restructure what I wanted my career to look like–I would have never taken that moment otherwise. And more than anything, I’m proud of finding resilience when I didn’t know I could.

"What about your story challenges other people's expectations?"

For so long I kind of accepted things as they were–went with the flow, and tried not to be the squeaky wheel. In 2020, I started talking about the things that didn’t make sense, and tried my best to share lived experience from a place of love, with the intention to inspire. Finding the courage to step into my voice and tell my own story has changed everything.

I created Chasing Grapeness, a Finger Lakes focused wine blog turned wine pairing dinner series. Through my dinners, I shine a light on the lack of diversity within the wine industry (in New York State and beyond) in hopes of creating a more inclusive atmosphere for everyone, regardless of skin color. These dinners came to life after Linh Phillips suggested I share some of my story on Instagram.

Chris Grocki of The Historic German House reached out and set the wheels into motion for my first dinner at Avvino, and my second at HGH. I’m forever thankful to his friendship, and to him building a platform for my voice to be heard. Together, with an amazing crew of volunteers, we were able to raise $6,887 across two dinners, which we split between two local Rochester charities in 2020. I'm hoping that warm weather, and vaccinations will allow for more wine pairing dinners in 2021.

"Who motivates you most?"

My ancestors, and my parents. I am already their wildest dreams and if that's not a motivator then I don't know what is.

"What is something you're actively going through?"

Right now, I'm actively learning how to live through a pandemic while somehow keeping a smile on my face. It's a journey :)

"Tell us your '&"!"

Proud dog-mom, amateur chef, chronic list maker, marketing nerd


Inspired by Maiah's story? Connect with her here: 


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