Wine vineyards are always popular summer road-trip destinations, but less than one percent of the country’s 8,702 wineries are owned by people of color. There are however some incredible Black-owned wine producers from Napa to Virginia planting and harvesting their own grapes and producing libations for consumer enjoyment.
With COVID-19 limiting our travel options in 2020, refocusing on domestic destinations is an avenue we can take in an effort to get out of the house this summer. So, let’s celebrate these Black-owned vineyards, winemakers, and sommeliers that are carving out their own spot in an industry lacking people of color.
Just remember, drink responsibly.
Born from Haitian-immigrant parents, Brooklyn native Bertony Faustin became Oregon’s first recorded black winemaker back in 2008. “I don’t love the industry, I love what the industry allows me to do.” And what that is, according to Faustin, is to provide a communal space where conversations about “diversity, equity, and inclusion” flow like pours of Sauvignon Blanc.
The outspoken owner of Abbey Creek Vineyards is self-taught, and plants his own vines, “tends to them, harvests the fruit, makes the wine and sells every bottle.” The property is named after a creek that runs through the vineyard.
Always the hustler, Faustin says, “A lot of people will ask, ‘Did you make wine because you love it?’ ‘No. If wine didn’t work it would have been raisins.’ ” We’re glad it’s not raisins.
31441 NW Commercial Street
North Plains, Oregon 97133
Phone: (503) 389-0619
Established in 2003 by “Theodora R. Lee aka Theo-patra, Queen of the Vineyards,” Theopolis Vineyards is a small lot vineyard and hand-crafted winery located in Yorkville, an area in California’s southeastern Mendocino County. The region is a “highly elevated, rugged interior wine-growing area” great for Muscat and Grenache Gris, grapes crossed in production of a Symphony, a white wine. Theopolis Vineyards also produces a “richly intense and flavorful Petite Sirah and Rosé of Petite Sirah” as well as a Pinot Noir.
32674 Highway 128
Yorkville, California 95494
The Brown Estate is a generational dream realized and the first and only Black-owned estate winery in California’s Napa Valley. The vineyard was purchased in 1980 by Jamaican-born Bassett Brown and Panamanian-born Marcela Abrahams Brown. The couple grew grapes here for other local winemakers until their children took over, eventually opting to bottle their own wine in 1996. The Brown Estate brand has continually grown over the years and now includes an exclusive Downtown Napa Tasting Room.
1005 Coombs Street
“Mouton Noir Wines, founded by iconoclastic sommelier André Hueston Mack in 2007, which incorporates his trademark attitude and personal perspective on wine subculture. The wines are unique and distinctive garage wines, sourcing the best fruit possible in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon to produce wine which shows the individuality of their respective sites and terrors.”
Lindsey Williams is the owner of Davidson, North Carolina’s first urban winery. A corporate lawyer turned winemaker, Lindsey discovered an appreciation for vino late in life. “Davidson Wine Co. was started out of the desire to bring affordable and locally made wine options to the town” where she resides with her husband Aerik, son Max and frenchton Simone.
Located in the city’s historic business district, Davidson Wine Co. was once “an organ making shop.” Staying true to its history, the owner ensures the rich history is reflected throughout their space. “We look forward to offering you a warm and inviting atmosphere for enjoying wine while spending time with friends and family.”
121 Depot Street
Davidson, NC 28036
815 12th St Suite B
Space 101 Paso Robles Ca
And for life after the quarantine …
“Highberry farm is a boutique winery and function venue located on the outskirts of Somerset West, Cape Town. The estate is renowned for its quality grapes and wine due to its prime location being near to the ocean and elevated 200m above sea level. It has recently also completed the construction of its own bespoke function venue, ideal for weddings and parties.”
Sir Lowry’s Pass Road – Helderberg Rural
Cape Town, South Africa