The wine industry is known to be not only competitive, but a difficult arena to break into. Despite the difficulties, there have been quite a few black entrepreneurs who have not only opened wineries, but have achieved great success. These black owned wineries should be visited by anyone who loves wine, or at the very least pick up a bottle of their wine next time you are out shopping.
Abbey Creek Vineyard, Portland
Bertony Faustin’s parents were the original owners of this vineyard. After a little persuasion he convinced his parents to allow him to make his own label. Today he maintains the vines without his parents and he’s the first known black winemaker in Oregon. Visitors will need to make an appointment to taste the variety of wines here like the Rose’ Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Mouton Noir, Oregon
Named after Andre Mack who earned the nickname “mouton noir” while he was a sommelier with Thomas Keller. Mouton Noir means black sheep, as Andre was known for going against the grain and doing things his own way. His motto is “When reality is better than ur dreams,” and he includes that on his label of Love Drunk Rose wine. He produces Merlot, Malbec, Cabs, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Check out this video to learn more about Andre and his wines.
Brown Estate, Napa Valley
This winery has an interesting past. In 1980, David and Coral Brown purchased what was an abandoned ranch. They planted and farmed grapes and then sold them to local winemakers. In 1995, the couple’s son, Deneen took it upon himself to research how they could make wine of their own using their grapes. The following year they established the Brown Estate label. In 2000, the first three vintages were debuted. Today they produce a wide variety of wines and visitors can taste them in their tasting room by appointment located in Yountville. Try their Chaos Theory or Mickey’s Block Zinfandel.
Rideau Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
Located near Santa Barbara, this is the only winery that has a tasting room that’s open to the public. Founded back in 1997, the vineyard has 16 acres of land that they use to produce outstanding grapes. They are known for their Pinot Noir, which has won many different awards. The vineyard is owned by Iris Rideau.
Darjean Jones Wines
Iris Rideau was her inspiration. Trained as a scientist with a PhD in Plant Pathology from U.C. Davis in California (she is one of only two black women who hold this degree to date), Jones credits the grapes as being a part of her first introduction into the world of wine. She has won several awards with a focus on quality vs. quantity of the wines she produces.
Lodi Appellation, The Foothills Of Sierra
Paul Charles, proves that all it takes is a little bit of ingenuity to make your own wine. He started a vineyard in his own backyard. He even crushed the very first grapes by hand in order to create the first bottle of wine. Today, he works for Lodi Appellation and produces many wines, including “Melanin” which is a Pinot Noir. Since there isn’t a tasting room, they offer wine parties on occasion for individuals to try the wine. Charles manages a portfolio of 5 wines including a cabernet sauvignon, red blend, chardonnay, symphony and sparkling riesling which is named after his wife.
Indigene’ Cellars, Carmel Valley
This family owned winery was founded by Raymond Smith. They produce a lot of wines here including the AMBIENTE Tuscan Blend, Moscato and Riesling. They do offer exclusive tastings only by appointment, Wednesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
Vision Cellars, Windsor CA