5 Black-Owned Wineries Every Wine Lover Should Know
By Shontel Horne
The wine industry is notoriously competitive and the cost to start, operate and maintain a successful wine business can quickly balloon to more than $1,000,000 before a winery delivers its first case. Still, there are many black entrepreneurs running award-winning wineries in the world’s most prestigious wine-producing regions with some even opening their doors to anyone that wants to learn more about their wines firsthand.
Located just outside of Portland, Oregon, the vines at Abbey Creek Vineyard originally produced grapes for local wineries before Bertony Faustin convinced his in-laws—the original owners of the vineyard— to let him make his own label onsite. The proprietor of Abbey Creek Vineyard, Faustin plants and maintains the vines himself, and is considered to be Oregon’s first recorded black winemaker. Visitors can taste the label’s Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Rosé at the North Plains, Oregon winery by appointment.
When the parents of Deneen, David and Coral Brown purchased an abandoned Napa Valley ranch in 1980, they initially planted, farmed and sold grapes to local winemakers after rehabilitating the property. Fast forward to 1995, and the Brown children began researching how to make their own wine, establishing the Brown Estate label in 1996 and debuting their first three vintages in 2000. Brown Estate currently produces multiple wines and host visitors by appointment at their tasting room in downtown Napa and at their winery in Helena, California.
Related: A Weekend In Napa Valley
Inspired by a wine tasting trip to Temecula, California, Paul Charles decided to give winemaking a try, converting his backyard into a vineyard and crushing homegrown Cabernet and Zinfandel grapes by hand to produce his first bottle of wine. Charles now works with vineyards in California’s Lodi Appellation in the Sierra foothills, producing multiple wines including the “Melanin” Pinot Noir. While the Charles Wine Company doesn’t currently have its own tasting room, the label offers wine parties for anyone that wants to try Charles Wine Company wines.
Indigené Cellars produces award-winning wines, like the meant-for-aging AMBIENTE Tuscan Blend. Founded by Raymond Smith, the family-owned winery located in Carmel Valley, California offers exclusive tastings for curious oenophiles by appointment only.
Related: 15 Black Winemakers You Need To Know
Located in South Africa’s famed Stellenbosch winemaking region, Seven Sisters is an internationally recognized, black female-owned wine label boasting everything from Merlot to Rosé. Founded in 2007, the decade-old winery hosts tastings in their tasting room and offers tours of the vineyards upon request.
The wine world has a long way to go before it becomes a truly inclusive industry, but these entrepreneurs and wineries are making the wine business more inclusive one bottle at a time.