Who else misses going to a winery and making an evening of it? COVID may have temporarily turned our backyards and front porches into private tasting rooms, but the spirit never died. Wine harvest season may not start until late summer (don’t tell the sommeliers that we’re celebrating early!), but with so few Black-owned and -operated wineries around, it’s never the wrong time to uplift and support the ones that do exist. Consider adding one of these Black-owned brands to your wino wish list. You’ll be lifting a toast to innovation, passion and history while you power through the – we hope – last leg of the pandemic in your fuzzy slippers.
Short, sweet and to the point. This one might be my favorite name on the list. Brown Estate in Napa Valley was officially established as a winery in 1996 on land purchased by the family in 1980. They were the first Black-owned winery in the region at the time. According to their website, the scarab beetle they use as their logo is “an ancient Egyptian agricultural totem, a symbol of good luck and long life.” Brown Estate is known for their line of Zinfandels, but the 2019 Chaos Theory quickly became a fan favorite with its notes of tea rose, cloves and Italian sports car leather.
We guarantee you’ve never seen a cooler looking wine than this. Amour Genève, owned and created by Coviello Salinès in Europe, is the world’s first blue wine. Salinès was inspired by his father’s adoration and collection of all things blue and, as a tribute to him, used molecular gastronomy to create the wine by adding natural pigmentation from Italian Nebbiolo grapes to fermenting Spanish Verdejo grapes. The result is a deep electric blue color, with floral notes of white peach, grapefruit and citrus. Amour Genève can be purchased online and shipped worldwide. And, right now, the brand is running a fundraiser for Spelman College with limited-edition bottles.
Nothing quite expresses the scarcity and plight of Black winemakers like the phrase, “We few, we happy few.” That has been Bodkin Wines’ motto since Chris Christensen founded the brand with his partner in 2011 in Healdsburg, California. The quote is from the famous Shakespeare play Henry V, and it’s apt that it’s spoken by a king. Bodkin Wines was the first U.S. brand to produce sparkling sauvignon blanc, which remains their most popular and highly-praised variety. Christensen is quoted on the website as saying: “I want to make wine that can be enjoyed in the here and now, wine for the connoisseurs and for the novices. Bodkin Wines should be enjoyed at family events, momentous occasions, picnics and barbecues – not hoarded in someone’s basement.”
This brand is what it looks like when you turn the phrase “Black girl magic” into a wine. In fact, they did; that’s the name of their most popular vintage. Half-sisters Andréa and Robin McBride founded their vineyard in 2005 after discovering their family ties. They source from California and New Zealand. They also created the SHE CAN professional development scholarship fund for women in the wine industry. According to Refinery29, McBride Sisters is the largest Black-owned wine company in the U.S. They also host a monthly wine and book club that celebrates Black women authors across different genres, and also their most popular offerings, like Black Girl Magic Riesling.