You give bottles of wine as housewarming gifts. You catch up with a friend over a nice vintage. You saw your neighbors (and maybe yourself) ordering the sweet nectar by the case-loads during the pandemic. There’s no denying that wine goes with nearly every occasion which is why the wine business is so lucrative. In fact, Grand View Research predicts that the wine industry will be worth $685.99 billion by 2028. But, Black-owned wineries make up less than one percent of the industry according to Wine Industry Advisor (WIA).
Wine might come in all colors but its makers are overwhelmingly white, and that’s something that needs to change. Difficulty accessing financial capital is a top reason Black winemakers struggle to get businesses up and running, says the WIA. Racism and bias is another big one. That’s why it’s critical to support the Black winemakers who have broken through in the industry. Here are Black wineries to get your vino from.
Jenny Dawn Cellars
Jennifer McDonald of Jenny Dawn Cellars didn’t just break into a white-dominated industry – she even did so in an unexpected location. Jenny Dawn Cellars is an urban winery in Wichita Kansas located in historic Union Station. As of 2022, the winery offers 22 handcrafted wines. They have a variety of sweet summery wines like their 2019 Rose Wine (a watermelon wine) and their Wichita Passion (a Blackberry wine). The winery itself offers a monthly educational class on vino called Winuecation.
P. Harrell Wines
Owned by Paula J Harrell, P. Harrell Wines is one of the more exclusive Black-owned wineries and puts out a limited number of varietals at a time. Currently, they offer six, including their limited edition Black Smoke Zin, created in collaboration with food writer Adrian Miller to complement his recent book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. The winery’s 2019 Dry Creek Valley Riesling scored a Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition.
Aslina By Ntsiki Biyela
This winery is in South Africa and owned by Ntsiki Biyela – a winemaker with many years of experience creating delicious vintages. Aslina makes reds and whites, but don’t miss their Aslina “Umsasane” – a bold red blend with a long finish, for which the winery is known. Biyela is inspiring the next generation of wine makers in her region, too, with her Pinotage Youth Development Academy, which teaches people how to break into the wine industry.
Darjean Jones Wines
When it comes to the wine business, if you can make it in Napa – one of the wine capitals of the world – you can make it anywhere. And that’s just what Dawna Darjean Jones, owner of Darjean Jones Wines, did. This small, family-run business already has several awards under their belts including a Gold Medal for their 2018 Dawna Rose from the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and a Double Gold Medal for their 2016 Cabernet Franc from the same competition.
Brown Estate was founded by siblings Deneen, David and Coral Brown and was one of the first Black-owned wineries in the Napa Hills. Their parents, Drs. Basset and Marcela Brown, purchased an abandoned ranch in the Napa Hills in 1980 and planted nine acres of Zinfandel vines, making up an important part of Zinfandel history in the region. They now offer an array of wines including a Petite Sirah, a dark and rich Tempranillo (made with black grapes) and, of course, several Zinfandels.
You might have seen the McBride Sisters’ SHE CAN canned wine on store shelves – it’s not only a tasty portable vintage but also an ode to Black women like them who are forging their path towards their dreams. In addition to making delicious wines with grapes sourced throughout the California wine region, the McBride sisters also started the SHE CAN Fund. The SHE CAN Fund provides scholarships and grants to women in the wine industry working towards leadership positions, to close the gender and race gap in this predominantly white business.
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