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09 Jun 2024 | Jeremy Dugan

Black owned Wineries, June 14th

On June 14th I will be hosting a tasting featuring wines made by Black owned wineries. I believe I was 16 years old when I found out that Brown Estate is a Black owned winery. The winery that started just a year after our store opened, 1996, had been a staple in our Zinfandel section for years, but I had never heard of an American Person of color owning a winery. As a Black Person, I didn’t see much self-representation in the alcohol business as a whole. Billy Dee Williams being the spokesperson for Colt 45 (before my time, but I remember seeing posters!), and Nas in Hennessy commercials were about as close as it got to seeing Black people interact with alcohol. Maybe Living Single had an episode where the group went wine tasting, or maybe Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv went up to Napa in an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But I don’t remember that happening.

Since 2006, we in the industry have seen a large growth of black influence in wine, but to me, it still feels like a majority of wine drinkers get surprised when they learn of a winery being black owned. Which is why when I came back to The Wine Country in 2021, I decided to start putting identifiers on products I was responsible for bringing in. That’s why you see “Black owned company”, “Female owned company”, “P.O.C. owned company” and “Members of LGBTQIA+ owned” on items around the store. I find that in a business where there is a stereotypical image that comes to mind when you think Owner of a winery, that you identify and acknowledge when that stereotype is broken.  

And that’s why I am hosting this tasting highlighting Black owned wineries. It is the job of those who have a soap box to stand for things we believe, and I believe representing the underrepresented is important. So, make your reservations for the 14th where we will be trying wines from Brown Estates, Three by Wade, Bodkin Wines and Zafa Wines.

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