Are there black-owned wineries in California? Yes, there are. Here are a few examples: Brown Estate Vineyards, Darjean Jones Wines, Okapi, and Taste Collection Cellars. But did you know there are even more? You can visit these wineries to learn more about African-American-owned businesses. So the next time you’re in California, try a few wines from California black owned wineries.
Brown Estate Vineyards
The only black-owned winery in Napa Valley is Brown Estate Vineyards. Founded by Bassett and Marcela Brown in 1980, Brown Estate is the only winery in the entire Napa Valley black-owned. The couple grew the vineyard and produced the wine on their adjacent property. While there are few black winemakers in the Napa Valley, Brown is adamant that people of African descent need to take part in this booming industry.
Delta Airlines has announced a partnership with Brown Estate Vineyards in honor of Black History Month. The partnership will include two of Brown Estate’s wines on their flights during the winter months of 2019 and 2020. Brown Estate’s mission is to support African-American businesses and the community. The Delta One flight will include the wines starting in January as part of the airline’s new Black Community Resource Group.
Darjean Jones Wines
The founder and CEO of Darjean Jones Wines, Dawna Darjean, is a first-generation African American. She obtained a Ph.D. in plant pathology at U.C. Davis, making her one of only two black women to hold this degree. She focuses on quality rather than quantity and has been featured in Tyler Perry’s movie “Nobody’s Fool.” The company offers an online wine shop and wine club. The winery does not allow visitors to visit the winery, but it does sell wines at its online store.
The company also has a wine consulting and event planning business. Darjean Jones Wines is a unique example of a Black-owned winery. In addition, the company provides scholarships to black students studying in the wine industry. Grape Collective first reported on the winery, a company founded by an African American. It is also a part of the Urban Connoisseurs Foundation.
Okapi Winery is owned by Dan and Kim. Kim worked as a winemaker’s assistant, and Dan was once a case handler for another famous winemaker. They transformed a walnut orchard into a vineyard and now make some fantastic wines. J. Moss Wines is also a small family-owned company that makes great wine in selected appellations throughout the Napa Valley. Dawna Darjean Jones is the first Black winemaker at J. Moss Winery.
Another great advantage of being a minority winemaker is being able to tell your story in an authentic, honest way. Unfortunately, winemaking is one of the professions in which African Americans are significantly under-represented. Black people own fewer than one percent of wineries in the U.S. The same is true for the number of black farmers in the U.S. Thankfully, the numbers are beginning to change, with black winemakers gaining recognition.
Taste Collection Cellars
A black-owned winery in California has become a wildly popular trend with its mission to make wines for a greater social good. Chef Rhonda Russell, the founder and owner of Taste Collection Cellars is an accomplished chef who has devoted much of her career to educating the public about wine and food. Although the winery is based in Houston, Texas, it makes the majority of its wines in Lodi, California.
In addition to wine, Charles Woodson discovered the wine industry in Napa Valley during the 1990s while playing for the Oakland Raiders. Woodson fell in love with the culture of wine and wanted to be a part of it. Today, Charles Woodson Vineyards is one of California’s black-owned wineries. He specializes in Pinot Noir and Red Blend. Additionally, his winery focuses on educating the public about natural wine and is committed to improving the culture of wine drinking.
Maison Noir Wines
Andre Hueston Mack founded the “Maison Noir Wines,” an Oregon-based winery, the first black American to win the Best Young Sommelier Award in the U.S. Andre worked for some of New York’s top restaurants. He also worked as a sommelier for Thomas Keller’s Per Se and The French Laundry. The winery is not unique and exciting, but it’s also fun, elegant, and well-made.
The recent push toward buying from Black businesses has helped raise awareness about the benefits of diversifying the wine industry. The winery’s name was initially derived from Theodora R. Lee, the queen of the vineyards. Today, it has a team of black employees and is the most prominent Black-owned winery in the U.S.
If you’ve ever wanted to taste the wines of a black-owned winery in California, you’ll want to know about Domaine Curry. This company makes some of the most innovative wines in the country. Its mission is to celebrate women and the virtues they bring through their wine. This company has been featured in USA Today and The San Francisco Chronicle. The winery’s logo is a tribute to New Orleans and the city that inspired it. The wines are balanced and delicious, serving luxury and delicacy equally.
Dawna Darjean Jones is a first-generation African-American winemaker. She started Darjean Wines in 2010, intending to spread the joy of wine to her friends. Her daughter, Sydel Curry-Lee, and sister Ayesha Curry are the owners of Domaine Curry Wines. They partnered with winemaker John Schwartz to create the winery’s signature wines rooted in their love of food and heritage.