The US has come into its own as an important wine-producing country over the past several decades. Today, there are nearly 11,000 wineries in the States, and while still vastly underrepresented, there’s a growing number of phenomenal winemakers and vineyard owners from minority backgrounds changing the face of the industry.
If you want to help make a change, supporting minority-owned businesses is one small step you can take. How you choose to spend your money has an impact. If you’re a wine lover ready to throw your support behind some exceptionally talented BIPOC owned wineries, here are a few to get you started.
Abbey Creek Vineyard
The northwest corner of the country is home to some killer wineries, and Abbey Creek is a stand-out in the region. Self-taught winemaker Bertony Faustin is Oregon’s first Black winemaker and crafts beautiful wines out of his family-owned winery in the renowned Willamette Valley. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to drop into Abbey Creek’s tasting room, The Crick, “the only hip hop winery in the Northwest” located just outside of Portland in North Plains. Here, Faustin’s passion for how wine can bring people together is realized. Visitors can kick back, sip on wine while listening to hip hop and R&B – nothing pretentious here. Just great tunes and even better wine.
Wines to Know: 2018 Rose de Pinot #OoooWeee, 2017 Pinot Noir #Diva2, 2017 Chardonnay #daddyphatsacs
Owned and run by the Patel family, Akash Winery is based in Southern California’s Temecula Valley, where they produce a range of wines made entirely from estate-grown fruit. Renato Sais oversees the winemaking side of things. Akash was inspired by his father’s dream to own and operate a winery. The Patels just opened up a tasting room last year, so if you’re in the Temecula area, it’s worth checking out.
Wines to Know: 2017 Zinfandel, 2018 Parlez-Vous Rose, 2018 Syrah (Dreamville)
Ceja produces delicious premium wines out of sustainably grown estate fruit in Napa and Sonoma. The winery was founded by brothers Pedro and Armando, with their respective wives Amelia and Martha. They are the children of braceros (Mexican laborers) who came over to harvest grapes in the 1950s. Today, Ceja is one of the most recognizable Latino-owned wineries. Armando serves as winemaker and applies decades of experience combined with raw talent to make truly gorgeous wine.
Wines to Know: 2018 Carneros Pinot Noir, 2014 Oxomo (Bordeaux-style red blend) 2009 Dulce Beso (late harvest white wine)
Darjean Jones Wines
Dawna Darjean Jones is a triple threat: The owner-winemaker of her eponymous winery also holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from UC Davis. Originally from Louisiana, she knows a thing or two about great food and drink, so it’s no surprise she uses her skills to make boutique wines. The grapes that make their way into Jones’ award-winning wines hail from some of the top vineyards around Napa and Sonoma, including the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard.
Wines to Know: 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 2016 Russian River Valley Viognier, 2015 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Located in Washington State’s acclaimed Red Mountain AVA, Frichette is an artisan winery specializing in Bordeaux grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Semillon. Shae and Greg Frichette head up the family-owned venture, which boasts two fantastic lines: Frichette and Sashay. Stop by their tasting room for a little education, entertainment, and naturally, to taste their truly special wines.
Wines to Know: 2019 Sashay Rose, 2017 Red Mountain Merlot, 2017 Quintessence Malbec
When it opened its doors in 2010, Kita Wines made history as the first winery owned and operated by an Indigenous tribe. Situated in Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley, the local Chumash-owned winery focuses on boutique wines made from Rhone varietals, as well as some stellar Cabs, Pinot Noirs, and Chardonnay. Winemaker Tara Gomez brings years of experience and winemaking know-how to Kita, blending the New World with a touch of the old to create wonderfully elegant wines.
Wines to Know: 2018 T’aya (White Rhone-style blend), 2015 Spe’y (Red Rhone-style blend), 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
McBride Sisters Wine Collection
Although sisters Andréa and Robin grew up a world away from each other, in Marlborough and Monterey respectively, the two Black women were raised among vineyards. When they met, they discovered a shared love for wine, and the McBride Sisters Wine Collection was born. The wines in their collection hail from New Zealand and California’s Central Coast – but all of them are balanced, bright, and full of rich flavor.
Wines to Know: 2016 Black Girl Magic California Red Blend, 2018 McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Chardonnay, McBride Sisters Collection Hawke’s Bay NZ Sparkling Brut Rose