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.
African American Wineries in Oregon
Abbey Creek Vineyard, Portland
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.
African American Winemakers in California
Brown Estate, Napa Valley
Napa’s first Black-owned estate winery. 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. They produce Zinfandel’s, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Cabernet, Rose and a Sauvignon Blanc. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Corner 103 is the brainchild of financier Llyod Davis. It was started in April 2015 and it’s name came from its location. They got a space at the corner of West Napa Street and First Street West, 103 West Napa Street… and so Coner 103 was born. It was ranked as one of the top 10 best wineries in the country by USA Today and has 5-star ratings on Yelp and Trip Advisor. Lloyd sought to create an environment were people can relax and Corner 103 offers unique wine and food tasting experiences. Wine lovers will enjoy a tasting of 5 award winning Corner 103 wines of their choice. Wine tastings BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
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.
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.
Vision Cellars, Windsor CA
Owner and winemaker Mac MacDonald has become an icon of African American wine-making. He is co-founder of the Association of African American Vintners and produces several Pinot Noir wines from various vineyards in California. They first released their wines in 1997 with a goal to capture the essence of the Pinot Noir.
Wisdom Oak Winery, VA
You can make an appointment to tour this beautiful 153 acre estate growing over 2,075 vines annually. Owner Jerry Bias plants most of the wines himself. He work together with his wife and COO Melanie Wilson Bias. Tasting rooms are open Thursday through Sunday. It’s a beautiful place to have a wedding as well. Wines are very reasonably priced ranging between $20 and $30 a bottle.
Black Owned Wineries throughout the United States
Davidson Wine Co – Davidson North Carolina
Opened in 2019 by Lindsey Williams who is a lawyer turned winemaker. She started this Urban wine company to offer affordable and locally made wine to people in the area. Their location is in the heart of the Davidson historic business district and they offer wine tastings cocktails as well as a Bistro menu. They make Merlots, Cabernets, Chardonnays as well as Barolos, Gewurztraminers, Pinotages, Petit Verdot and Ports.
Other Black Owned Wineries
Here are some other noteworthy wines but sadly they are not open to the public.
Aslina is one of South Africa’s most popular wineries and the winemaker Ntsiki Biyela has made quite a name for herself and has several awards under her belt. Ntsiki was voted Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2009 and has been the finalist for two consecutive years for the Most Influential Women in Business and Government. She started the vineyard in 2017 and collaborated with California winemakers to refine her craft. The winery is name after her grandmother who was an inspiration to her. Aslina offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Umsasane which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. They are not open to the public but her wines can be ordered online.
Chris Christensen founded Bodkin wines in 2011 in Sonoma and Lake County California. Chris created America’s First Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc and won 2020 Wine Enthusiasts’ 40 under 40. Bodkin has nine wines – Cuvée Agincourt, Victor’s Spoils Sauvignon Blanc, HotSpur Curvee a sparkling Rose, as well as a red and a White dessert wine – wines range from $17 to $38.
Alexis George Wine Cellars
George Brown is a winemaker from Georgia. He has years of experience in the hospitality industry while he worked for big names such as Hyatt and Omni hotels. The winery was born in 2016 and it is named after his son and daughter. The wines offered are chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir and symphony moscato.
Coviello Salinès is a scientist by trade and was studying to be a doctor. After his father tragically passed away Coviello dedicated himself to honoring his father and creating Amour Geneve. He set out to create a chemical formula and he worked with others to source product to make this wine a reality. Amour Genève is the world’s first FDA, TTB, and EU-approved natural blue wine. How is the wine blue you ask… “The blue color is achieved by fermenting the wine with extracted skins from Nebbiolo, its PH structure was modified from an acidic to an alkalic level, allowing the blue hue to be sustained.” Amour Geneve offers a 2019 vintage is a blend of Verdejo and Chardonnay as well as Prosecco.
Charles Wine Company Lodi Appellation, CA
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. The wines are carried in selected wine shops, hotels and online. The offer virtual wine tastings.
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 is a first generation African-American winemaker. She has won several awards with a focus on quality vs. quantity of the wines she produces. Darjean Jones Wines are featured in Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool, starring Tiffany Haddish, Tika Sumpter, Whoopi Goldberg and Omari Hardwick. They