Photo Credit: Courtesy of BlacOak Wine Club
BlacOak: The Wine Club Highlighting Hundreds Of Black-Owned Wine Brands
This has definitely been the year of growing the Black dollar and putting Black-owned brands and businesses in a positive spotlight. Philadelphia entrepreneur and media personality Ebonie Dukes— along with her partners Lamar Covert, Ameer Blackmon, and Kevin Dukes— wanted to do their part and show the beauty of Black people and Black businesses.
Ebonie and Lamar are huge wine enthusiasts, and Ebonie is a sommelier, too. After realizing that people were drinking more wine during the current pandemic, they decided to merge their love and experiences to create a wine club that brought more visibility to Black-owned wines.
Thus, BlacOak Wine Club was born.
“We always talked about getting into the wine industry in some way,” Ebonie Dukes, co-founder of BlacOak Wine Club told Travel Noire. “I thought it was something we would do once we retired, but we decided to start now.”
BlacOak is a community of wine drinkers, whether amateur or self-proclaimed connoisseurs, that focus on bringing more visibility to the hundreds of Black-owned wines on the market.
Since the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the Blackout movement, Ebonie has been more intentional of swapping out the brands in her home for Black-owned brands— even down to batteries.
“We wanted to help close the wealth gap. While doing my research on Black-owned brands to support, I began coming across so many Black wine brands, that I never knew existed. I also knew that other people likely didn’t know that many of these brands existed, too.”
A large component of BlacOak is educating its members on the wine industry, while also dispelling the myth that Black people only drink sweet wines or moscato.
“Wine is like art and the winemakers are creating something personal to them,” Ebonie said. “When others are able to see that, they’ll be even more inspired to support and purchase from these brands.”
The BlacOak team will soon open a tasting room in the Philly area. The club also curates intimate winery tours and wine dinners, that will pick up again once it is safe. In the meantime they are hosting virtual tastings via their platforms, as well as providing access to a database of over 300 Black wine brands, they have found in their research.
“We’ve had such great engagement since our launch. We are building a community, and it really is amazing. Even in speaking to some of the brands that we highlight, we have found that the Black wine industry is very welcoming and collaborative. We’ve learned of so many brands actually helping other Black brands to get their start, too.”
Another point that Ebonie wanted to highlight, is that this club isn’t just filled with women. Three of the four co-founders of BlacOak are Black men, and they are changing the narrative that men don’t enjoy wine.
Anyone can join the BlacOak social media pages, and sign up for the monthly newsletter. The group also offers two paid membership options, that bring discount codes as well as first knowledge on any events that the group hosts. In the future, they plan to offer a subscription service that will allow members to get Black-owned wines delivered to their door.