Kristen Gardner Beal and Lance Lemon, co-founders of RichWine RVA. Photos courtesy of RichWine RVA.
“Explore without expectations.”
Lance Lemon and Kristen Gardner Beal are Central Virginia natives who came together to create RichWine RVA, an online wine delivery service based in Richmond, Virginia. “I have a knack for turning ideas into concepts that later become a unique, fun, profitable business,” Kristen says. “I find joy in helping people turn entrepreneurial dreams into a sustainable reality.” Lance simply describes himself as an “actor who loves wine.” Outside of RichWine RVA, he has a successful acting career. In 2017, he starred in Jeff Nichols’s film Loving. “I enjoy telling a story. I love to entertain. I love to daydream and build upon that dream. Last, I love to go get that dream,” he says.
With RichWine RVA, Kristen and Lance hope to break down cultural and social barriers that may prevent people from exploring and enjoying wine. “Wine has been a way for me to get to know myself more intently by paying close attention to my palate, trying new varietals with an open mind, and oftentimes just letting myself explore without expectation.,” Kristen says.
RichWine RVA’s key demographic ranges from 25-35 year-olds. “It’s nice to see younger people from our age group exploring the world of wine with us, and it’s always refreshing to have an open convo about wine,” Lance says. Lance and Kristen want everyone to be comfortable. No pretensions. “Drink the juice and have a good time. Wine has often been portrayed as this old-world kind of thing,” he says. “Not saying that’s a negative, but it’s great to see this fresh new hip up-and-coming energy behind the world of wine.”
Kristen encourages younger people who are not of legal age to drink to start to familiarize themselves with wine culture. “They should study viticulture, the varietals that are grown across the regions, and seek to understand the various flavor profiles and how that lines up nicely against food,” she says. “As soon as that 21st birthday comes around, it’s time to hit the vineyards and apply said knowledge,” she says.
Kristen and Lance also want to get kids of color into the vineyard. “Not to drink, of course, but for the sake of the experience,” Lance says. “To show them that there is an avenue in the world of wine that they may have never even thought of. You don’t have to become a Somm or be a winemaker to be in the business of wine.” He says before they even start thinking about career paths, they should simply be introduced to vineyards, how wine is produced, and the history of it all.
The two entrepreneurs would like to transition from the digital space to a permanent brick and mortar. “We want to keep bringing you amazing wine,” Kristen says. “Ideally, we would like to raise enough funds to transition into a storefront. The vibes are in my head and in my heart. We are determined to make it happen.”