Black-owned wine labels are thriving around the world.
Historically, the world of wine has been overwhelmingly white, and that’s still very much the case today. In a 2019 survey of more than 3,100 wine professionals, 84% of respondent identified as white, with just 2% as Black or African.
However, things are changing – albeit slowly. Following 2020's racial justice protests, the wine industry has been forced to examine its lack of diversity. The Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), meanwhile, says it’s grown by 500% since 2019, as Black-owned wineries seek to raise awareness of their brands and encourage more young people of colour to enter the business.
There’s still much work to be done in achieving meaningful change, but giving Black-owned wineries the attention they deserve is an important starting point. In honour of Black History Month, here are 10 that should definitely be on your radar.
Longevity Wines was launched in 2008 by Debra and Phil Long (president of the AAAV) after their winemaking hobby outgrew their garage. By then, the pair had spent years visiting tasting rooms and had identified the urgent need for more inclusive wine experiences. The property produces a wide range of wines made from local grapes, including sparkling Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir, Grenache, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Founded in the 1980s, Brown Estate is the only Black-owned winery in the Napa Valley. The property specialises in Zinfandel, but also produces Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and a couple of roses, as well as a recently-launched first vintage of Primitivo.
Abbey Creek Vineyard
Oregon’s first Black vineyard owner and winemaker, Bertony Faustin, began crafting his wines in 2008. Since the subject of the award-winning documentary, Red, White & Black, Faustin and his team produce everything from Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec to sparkling Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.
Brother-and-sister team Maire-Ines and Jairo Romell founded their Champagne house in 2015. Located in Ecueil – a site of privileged terroir in Montagne de Reims – the estate produces a range of sparkling delights, including Cuvee Brut, Demi Sec, Rose, and a very popular Blanc de Blancs.
La Fete du Rose
Fete du Rose founder Donae Burston is on a mission to change the perception of the pink drink. “When you thought about rose, you didn't think of Black, Brown, or Asian people drinking it, or, at the time, see brands promoting multicultural people or men drinking their wine. It was not reflective of the universal appeal of rose,” she says. The pioneering Saint Tropez company produces two wines: its trademark La Fete du Rose, plus the La Fete du Blanc.
Founded by Rodney E Foster and Reemt Peters, Edelheiss Wine’s 100% organic offerings have found favour with a host of Black celebrities and influencers, including actor Tyler Perry and rapper Kevin Gates. The label – which sources grapes from its fifth generation family-owned vineyard in the Valley of Zell – produces a fortified red, a Riesling and both a sparkling white and rose.
Owned by Richard Parsons since 2000, the Ill Palazzone estate is comprised of three separate vineyards across very different parts of Montalcino. Brunello di Montalcino is the estate’s Grand Vin, but it also offers up the Lorenzo & Isabelle IGT Toscana (a Super Tuscan) and the non-vintage Rosso del Palazzone.
Adama Wines is a majority black-owned wine company and all-woman run enterprise, developed by The Adama Trust, which seeks to ensure the social and economic development of farming communities in Wellington. The HER collection is the first branded wine to come from the collective, and comprises a sustainably-produced Shiraz and Pinotage designed, the group says, to represent the strength, complexity and zest of South African women.
Set in the Bottelary Hills region of Stellenbosch, this Fairtrade-certified brand invests in numerous programmes that promote social, economic and environmental development. The winery produces a wide range of reds and whites, both under the Koopmanskloof name and under the premium De Koopman label.
Founded by Jada Whitney Francis in 2019, the ethos of XONA – so named for Saint Lucia’s native parrot – is all about promoting the rich Afro-Caribbean lifestyle of colour and vitality. The company, she says, has created the opportunity to “reinvest in our people, our island and our culture”. Four wines are produced, including a pineapple Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Sauvignon Blanc and a mango Gewurztraminer.