Wine vineyards are fantastic road-trip destinations, but less than one percent of the country’s 8,702 wineries are owned by people of color – and that does not improve when you factor ownership globally. There are however some incredible Black-owned wine producers from Napa to South Africa planting, harvesting and producing libations for consumer enjoyment.
Here are our favorites:
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 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, harvest the fruits, makes the wine and sells every bottle.” The property is named after a creek that runs through the vineyard.
Always the businessman, Faustin adds, “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.’ ”
Although, personally, we’re glad it’s not raisins.
31441 NW Commercial Street
North Plains, Oregon 97133
Phone: (503) 389-0619
Theopolis Vineyards was established in 2003 by Ms. Theodora R. Lee, aka “Theo-patra, Queen of the Vineyards.” Her vineyard lot and hand-crafted winery is 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 to create 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
Former New York sommelier turned vintner André Hueston Mack opened Maison Noir Wines in 2007. Mack’s road to producing wine has been an illustrious one.
He was awarded the “Best Young Sommelier in America ” by Chaine des Rotisseurs, which was kind of a big deal. Mack served as a sommelier at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry – also a big deal – as well as Head Sommelier at Keller’s Per Se in New York City. Now he distributes his own wines to restaurants back in New York and around the world.
“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.”
One of his more popular brands is O.P.P. or “other people’s pinot noir” and “Bottoms Up.”
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 pup, Simone.
Located in the city’s historic business district, Davidson Wine Co. was once an organ making shop before “offering you a warm and inviting atmosphere for enjoying wine while spending time with friends and family.”
121 Depot Street
Davidson, NC 28036
Some of the world’s finest wines come out of South Africa’s cape area, but few of the vineyards are African-owned despite their location. Highberry Farm is an exception. This boutique winery and venue is located on the outskirts of Somerset West in Cape Town. The estate is renowned for its quality grapes and wine due to its prime location of being near the ocean and still at an elevation of 200m above sea level.
Highberry holds private wine tastings and host weddings and other events.
Sir Lowry’s Pass Road – Helderberg Rural
Cape Town, South Africa
Eric has revolved in and out of passport controls for over 20 years. From his first archaeological field school in Belize to rural villages in Ethiopia and Buddhist temples in Laos, Eric has come smile to smile with all walks of life. A writer, photographer and entrepreneur, the LA native believes the power of connectivity and community is enriched through travel.