When Abner Montfleury graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a Psychology degree, winemaking was the furthest thing from his mind. In fact, it wasn’t on his radar at all.
The Dorchester native took a job as an Admissions Counselor at Babson College, an institution that consistently ranks among the best business schools for entrepreneurship in the country. While advising freshmen on their future, he started thinking about his own.
Monfleury is a first-generation Haitian-American and the son of immigrant parents who worked long hours and then some. While he drew inspiration from his mom, who works in assisted living and runs a catering business, he knew he wanted to do things a bit differently.
“It’s just like, where’s the end?” he questioned about the rigors of traditional employment. “When do you get to enjoy yourself? I was thinking about that super early.”
He moved to Maryland to take on another admissions job and to be closer to his girlfriend. Montfleury became more intentional with how he spent his time; searching for an opportunity. He found it while frequenting wine festivals and wineries.
“One thing I noticed was that there weren’t people that looked like me that either owned wines or had a wine label, had a winery, or were even serving wine. That was a pretty dire observation. I said, ‘where are all the Black winemakers? Why are they not here in Maryland?’ It’s a pretty great hub of different Black individuals, where are they? Why not become the change that I’m looking for.”
After almost two years of research and securing a business partner, Montfleur Duvin Yvonne launched in August 2020. It was named after his grandmother Yvonne who passed away last year and was the backbone of the Montfleury family. The aromatic white wine is made from gewürztraminer grapes with a hint of ripe peaches.
“The reason why I went that route was because I wanted to attract the soft palate, the people that aren’t necessarily drinking wine or tend to want a Moscato,” Montfleury explained. “There are good Moscatos out there, but if you really want to expand your palate and get into the wine world, you don’t necessarily need a certificate. You just need to be open to trying different ones. Because it’s all about your tongue. Once your tongue can experience different tastes, the world is yours.”
The 24-year-old admitted that the pandemic has presented a challenge for promotion, taking away the go-to platforms of wine festivals and tastings. Montfleury had to get creative, starting with an ice-cream collaboration with The Charmery for a Montfleur Duvin Peach Caramel Pint. His wine is now available in 20 locations, the most recent being the prestigious Hyatt Regency in Baltimore.
The brand also offers shipping to over 40 states.
Montfleury is constantly absorbing everything about the wine business and has a few more ideas that are being kept under wraps, for now, that will not only elevate his brand but increase diversity in the industry.
“I’m not reinventing the wheel at all, and I’ve come to realize that. But I can make it better, and I can make it more accessible to our people. You don’t need $40,000 to start your own wine brand. You just need your initial investment, and to be confident in your product and okay with putting yourself out there.”
Get your bottle of Montfleur Duvin Yvonne at Montfleur Duvin.