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“Black Owned Wine Companies You Should Know”

Remember: it's not what actionable words we use, it’s what actions we use after the words that counts.

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By Stu Nudelman aka Stu The Wine Guru:WSET 2 Global Wine Professional

As I write this article, to give you context, it is late July, and we are still in the beginning phase of the COVID19 health crisis. I am staying home, staying healthy, staying positive, but If the virus has taught me anything, it’s to be aware of being still. The writing process for me has always been a form of meditation for my mind. I think we need more acceptance of being ok with being still.

I always start my articles off on an optimistic note. I hope that in the very near future, things are better in the world. My hope is the following:

It will be safe for the kids and teachers to go back to schools in addition to remote learning. 

Our government is listening more to the science for answers and less to the politics. Mask wearing is accepted and every person in the country is on board with that concept. 

All Sports are back and we can enjoy watching them on TV (for now). Hospitals are starting to become less overwhelmed, and hot spots are getting some relief, numbers of cases are going down in the U.S. and the world.

One can only hope…..

Now…let’s discuss wine.

If you follow me on social media; Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and I hope you do, you will know that during the Black Lives Matter protests and unrest over Police Brutality, and deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatianna Jefferson, Stephon Clark, Philando Castile, Rayshard Brooks, and the too many others to mention, I decided to use my platform to shine a light on Black Owned wine companies.

I reached out to many of them globally and asked them to send me their wines to sample for review. In addition to soul searching and introspection, and re-evaluation on how I think as a white person, I want to do my part to help Black owned companies do well. I told the owners of these wine companies, and Black friends of mine, the following:

“I just want you to know : I am with you- I am listening- I want to learn what I can do to make a difference-I have always and will forever love the Black Community- I don’t want to be part of any pain caused to it- I want to be part of creating peace and love between us- Please tell me what I can do.

With much love and respect

Stu”

I meant every word then and still mean it now. Since I am a person that puts my words into action, and not just says things but does things, I want to shine a light on these amazing Black Owned wine companies from all over the United States, and France, and introduce you to some who you may not have heard of but they deserve for you to buy them. I want you to try their wines.

Remember: its not what actionable words we use, it’s what actions we use after the words that counts.

First up from France…

La Fête Du Rose’ (pronounced: La- fet)

Donae Burston/ Founder & CEO

The first Black owned Rose out of St Tropez, France. Produced in conjunction with the prestigious winemakers from the oldest vineyard on the Saint-Tropez peninsula established in 1340 and Spanning over 160 acres. The Domaine is committed to sustainable agriculture, the environment, and protection of nature. Sustainability is their guiding principle and as a result the Domaine was awarded the Zero Pesticides label in 2016. Giving back and celebrating diversity are an integral part of La Fête’s brand culture.

From the beginning of June through August, the company will donate $2 of every bottle sold to Color of Change, an organization fighting every day for racial justice, and other organizations that serve as a resource for minorities pursuing a career in the wine industry. Among Donae’s many accolades, his Rose was named one of Forbes Magazines: “10 Fantastic Black-Owned Wines and Spirits To Add To Your Summer Shopping List”

2018 Lafete Du Rose’

Price: $25

Alcohol: 12.5%

Type: Rose’

Varietals: 80% Grenache, 14% Mourvèdre, 6% Syrah 

Produced: St Tropez Peninsula

Nose: Grapefruit, pomelo rind, Pineberry strawberry, slight hint of Montmerency cherries

Palate: dry, crisp, mineral driven, with flavors of strawberry, honeydew, watermelon, rose petal and celery.

Food to pair: fish, shellfish and white meats. I also suggest spicy Asian food as well.

www.lafeterose.com

Next from Cincinnati, OH comes some sweet red and sweet white wines

Markell-Bani (Pronunced Mar-kell Bah-Nie) Fine Wines-

Owners/ Gregory Markell Lawrence and Sean Bani Yisrael

Markell-Bani Fine Wines and Sparkling Beverages was founded in 2008 by lifelong friends and Cincinnati natives, Gregory Markell Lawrence and Sean Bani Yisrael. Inspired by their passion for fine wine and a purposeful desire to respond to the under representation of African-Americans in the wine industry, they decided to create their own wine brand. 

Greg and Sean began by immersing themselves in the wine industry, traveling the world, visiting vineyards, participating in wine showcases and educating themselves in the craft of wine making. Often the only African-Americans participating in the events, they quickly realized the elite nature of the wine making industry. Determined to use their African-American heritage as an asset instead of a limiting factor, they pressed forward; and Markell-Bani was born.

Aniyah Rouge

Price: $20

Alcohol: 12.5%

Type: Sweet Red

Varietal: Concord 

Produced: Lancaster Pennsylvania 

Nose: Black cherry and Raspberry jam, grape juice, grape soda

Palate: Elderberry pie and blackberries

Food to pair: Sharp cheddar, spicy seafood, and barbecued meats and of course rich chocolate

www.markellbaniwines.com

Demera Blanc

Price: $20

Alcohol: 12%

Type: Sweet White

Varietal: Niagara

Produced: Lancaster Pennsylvania 

Nose: Candied lemon rind, flowery jasmine-like notes

Palate: Some tropical flavors and foxy note

Food to pair: Fruit, Salads, Antipasto and Spicy Asian Fare. 

From Indianapolis, Indiana comes…

Sip and Share Wines

Owner: Nicole Kearney

Sip & Share Wines is a boutique winery producing a diversity of artisanal vegan wines.

Nicole’s serious relationship with wine began in 2008, when she attended graduate school for her Master in Fine Arts (MFA) at Spalding University, Low Residency MFA program, in Louisville, Kentucky. Surrounded by writers of all genres – playwrights, screenwriters, fiction, non-fiction, and poets they shared about their lives and craft while sipping wine. Over two years, they would continue to sip and share wines with each other. It was there her passion for wine knowledge and the spark for her future endeavor was ignited. Over the years, she tasted wines at wine tasting events, and learned how to conduct her own at friends homes.

In March 2018, Sip & Share Wines became a licensed federal winery and began the process of producing a diversity of wines.Nicole was also part of the list of Black Owned Wine Makers that made the Forbes Magazines: “10 Fantastic Black-Owned Wines and Spirits To Add To Your Summer Shopping List”

7 Words Wine Collection: Gratitude Red Blend

Price: $20

Alcohol: 14%

Type: Red

Varietals: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon 50% Merlot

Produced: Indiana

Nose: Spice box, mocha, cassis, strawberries

Palate: Plum, Blackberry, Licorice

Food to pair: vegan/vegetarian and grilled foods, tomato-based pasta, vegetables, pizza and red meats.

7 Words Wine Collection: Manifest

Price: $20

Alcohol: 14%

Type: White

Varietal: Chardonnay

Produced: Indiana

Nose: Granny smith apple, muted lemon, hint of vanilla

Palate: Honeydew, bosc pear, lemon curd

Food to pair: vegan/vegetarian foods, or fish, chicken, seafood, salad, pasta and noodles

From Richmond Virginia comes

Shoe Crazy Wines

Owners: Gwen Hurt and daughter Brittny Hurt

Owned and operated by a mother-daughter team, who create wines with women in mind. Their philosophy is that women face tough daily challenges. and they know they can tackle them together-with a great pair of shoes and a great wine! They work with the best vineyards in California to develop unique blends. 

Gwen Hurt had everything going for her. Three great kids and a successful career in IT that sent her on globetrotting business trips – far-removed from the poverty of her childhood. In those early days, she and her siblings each had one pair of shoes to wear for the entire year!

Then in 2013, Gwen’s path took an unexpected turn. The company where she had worked for over 15 years downsized, and she was let go from the job she loved. While driving to pick up her personal items from the office, Gwen and her daughter Brittny were in a car accident that left both of them severely injured. It took Gwen and Brittny a year of physical therapy to recover from their injuries.

As Gwen recuperated, she refused to give in to depression. Instead, her thoughts turned to a business idea she had years before: turning her wine-making hobby into a business. Through her international travel, Gwen had developed a deep appreciation for fine wines. It was daughter Brittny who suggested that she name her wine creation something that she loved. Gwen loved and was crazy about shoes. Shoe Crazy wine was born that day!

Grand Brut Sparkling Wine

Price: $14.99

Alcohol: 11%

Type: Sparkling

Varietals: Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc 

Produced: Mendocino, CA 

Nose: Hints of Crispin Apple, Asian Pear, some bruised orange

Palate: Lemon zest, pear and almond notes

Food to pair: Soft cheeses, shrimp, seafood, spicy dishes, salami, egg dishes

Sparkling Peach Mango Wine

Price: $15.99

Alcohol: 11%

Type: Sparkling

Varietals: Proprietary 

Produced: Lodi,CA

Nose: Of course the natural peach and mango used to make this wine is abundant on the nose

Palate: In addition to peach and mango, their are secondary flavors of citrus and vanilla

Food to pair: Cheeses and BBQ

Chardonnay

Price: $14.99

Alcohol: 13%

Type: White

Varietals: Chardonnay

Produced: Mendocino, CA 

Nose: Grilled pineapple, lemon zest, hazelnut

Palate: Vanilla, tropical fruit, butterscotch, poached pair

Food to pair: Poultry, fish and soft cheeses

Melange Red Blend

Price: $14.99

Alcohol: 13.5%

Type: Red

Varietals: 60% Merlot 30% Zinfandel 10% Syrah 

Produced: Mendocino, CA 

Nose: Cardamom, oak, espresso, red berries

Palate: Baking spice, black tea and plum

Food to pair: Steak, burgers, lamb, tuna, hard cheeses

Sweet Harmony- Sweet White

Price: $13.99

Alcohol: 12.50%

Type: White

Varietal: Riesling

Produced: Willamette Valley, OR

Nose: A bit of petrol, meyer lemon, pineapple, lilly, rose petal

Palate: Apricot, apple and tropical fruits

Food to pair: Soft cheese and spicy foods

Sweet Bella- Sweet Red

Price: $14.99

Alcohol: 7%

Type: Red

Varietal: Merlot

Produced: North Coast, CA

Nose: Raspberry, plum, mocha and blueberry 

Palate: This is a dessert wine, so you get rich dark berries and cocoa on the palate

Food to pair: Soft cheese, spicy foods, desserts like chocolate cake and blackberry cobbler

Sparkling Rose Strawberry Passion

Price: $15.99

Alcohol: 11%

Type: Sparkling

Varietal: Zinfandel

Produced: Lodi, CA

Nose: Albion strawberries, icebox watermelon, spiced apple 

Palate: strawberries, hint of yeast and nutty flavors

Food to pair: fresh fruit, salami and cheeses

Now from good ole Napa Valley, CA comes

Darjean Jones Wines

Owner: Dr. Dawna Darjean Jones

Darjean Jones award winning wines are a small family owned winery specializing in boutique wines from California’s most acclaimed growing regions. The objective at Darjean Jones is to produce wine that imbibes the essence of the quintessential California vintage with a uniqueness of character only achieved through artisanal winemaking. Their wines are produced in small lots.

As a Louisiana native and first generation African-Americanwinemaker, the love of good food and drink is coded in Dawna’s DNA. It is a part of her winemaking journey during her early experiences in Napa Valley as a plant pathologist working on diseases of wine grapes. Experiencing Napa Valley first as a research scientist helped her to formulate deep respect and appreciation for vineyards and the abundant wealth of grape varieties sown on their diverse soils. Although her focus in the early years was on the plant diseases that affected wine grapes, later she developed a new kinship with winemaking. This adventure in winemaking was born of a personal quest for true “joie de vivre,” joy of living! Dawna sourced grapes for her first vintage, a Napa Valley Merlot, in 2010. Darjean Jones Wines is the culmination of an enduring affair with wine, fermentation science and the microbes responsible for the magic.

Among the accolades, her wines have won Double gold and silver medals at the San Francisco Chronicle competitions 

2016 Cabernet Franc Stagecoach AVA

Price: $74

Alcohol: 14.5%

Type: Red

Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Produced: Napa Valley, CA

Time in French oak barrels: 22 months

Nose: Mint, roasted jalapeno, raspberry and strawberry

Palate: Cavendish strawberries, Carolina raspberry, bell pepper

Food to pair: Meats, BBQ, Pastas, Hard cheeses

2016 Pathologie Proprietary Red

Price: $60

Alcohol: 14.7%

Type: Red

Varietal: Undisclosed

Produced: Napa Valley, CA

Time in French oak barrels: 22 months

Nose: Blackberries, espresso, cocoa

Palate: Blueberries, Blackberries, mocha

Food to pair: Meats, BBQ, Pastas, Hard cheeses

Now we move to the south and bring you

Ole’ Orleans Wines

Owner: Kim Lewis

At the heart and soul of “Ole’ Orleans Wines: A Tribute ToHistoric New Orleans” it was founded by Kim Lewis. Ole’ Orleans was bought to life in 2018 based on the love of New Orleans and Kim’s family history. Each bottle is dedicated to a part of New Orleans’ history, making every bottle a collector’s item. Ole’ Orleans is a collection of well-balanced wines with a luxurious, delicate, and lingering finish. 

These wines are a tribute to New Orleans and its historic legacy. Richly flavored, New Orleans’s very own handcrafted wines are created in Louisiana. 

2018 Ole’ Orleans Ole Carrolton

Semi Sweet

Price: $21.99

Alcohol: 11.5%

Type: White

Varietal: Blanc Du Bois

Produced: West Monroe, LA

Nose: Floral and citrus notes with grapefruit

Palate: Strawberry, watermelon and citrus

Food to pair: Cream sauce pastas, Asian cuisine, creole cuisine, paella


​2018 Ole’ Orleans La Village des Chapitoulas

Price: $21.99

Alcohol: 11.3%

Type: White

Varietal: Blanc Du Bois

Produced: West Monroe, LA 

Nose: Honey, white flowers and grapefruit

Palate : Peach , grapefruit, and apple

Food to pair: Crab cake, goat cheeses, Asian cuisine, creole cuisine, paella

As we now find ourselves in Chicago with

Love Corkscrew Wines

Owner: Crishon Lampley

Lampley is a negociant, wine enthusiast and founder of LCS Entertainment, LLC that features Love Cork Screw wines. Love Cork Screw is a lifestyle brand that launched six varietals in the fourth quarter of 2013. Since its inception, the LCS brand has acquired over 50 locations including, Target, Mariano’s, Binny’s, Whole Foods and other Chicago land area stores, restaurants and bars. 

This rapid expansion is attributed to Lampley’s 17 years’ of experience in the industry, which has given her leverage to develop a keen awareness of what people enjoy and what the market is missing.

Crishon leverages her platform to mentor young women and budding entrepreneurs who can benefit from her lessons and her success. She gives her time and resources greatly to nonprofit organizations through sponsorship and speaking engagements. Lampley has mentored youth through Urban Broadcast Media, Chicago Sky and Polished Pebbles to encourage Chicago’s youth. She is a member and supporter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

LCS Entertainment, LLC is a licensed wholesaler and importer, and a certified Minority Business Enterprise. Crishon was also part of the list of Black Owned Wine Makers that made the Forbes Magazines: “10 Fantastic Black-Owned Wines and Spirits To Add To Your Summer Shopping List”

2018 Love Cork Screw: We Go High Rose 

Price: $18.00

Type: Rose

Varietals: 62% Seyval Blanc and 38% Chambourcin

Produced: Michigan

Nose: Tropical and citrus notes with hints of nectarine and white peach 

Palate: Strawberries, muted cherry, nectarine

Food to pair: Salads, cheeses, salmon, chicken

We make one more trip back to Chicago with

Simply Love Wines

Owner: Barb Jackson

Barbara Jackson has been actively working on Simply Love since 2013; however, the passion has been lifelong, even as a child.  While based in Chicago, Illinois, the wine is sourced from Napa Valley and at this time is sold online.  All orders are shipped from Napa to a growing list of states including:California, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. 

Barbara designed the label herself, symbolizing a chapter in her life that has been both challenging and rewarding.  The hearts on the bottle share the simple message that to love one another is important as well as a design that exudes warmth and is visually appealing.  

Barbara is from a generation of change.  As a mentor for 20 years, working in Chicago and local area high schools, she invested her time in helping to build self confidence and character among adolescents and young adults, teaching an attitude of “simply love”.  Barbara believes that we can make things happen, one person at a time.  Barbara’s plans are two-fold: spread a message of love to one another and to continue to focus on our youth. She hopes that eventually, all proceeds from Simply Love Wines will go back to the communities she works with.  

2014 Simply Love Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $78

Type: Red

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Produced: Oakville, CA

Nose: Hints of Oak, black berries, allspice, blackcurrant, plum

Palate: Cassis, boysenberry, black cherry, roasted espresso

Food to pair: Beef, lamb, BBQ, baked eggplant, antipasti, hard cheeses 

So now all of you wine lovers out there who want to experience wines with great price ranges, produced by some of the best Black Owned wine companies, get out there and seek out these wines.

For more information about me follow me 

on Instagram and Twitter @stuthewineguru

Or my website www.stuthewineguru.com

Also remember you can join me for virtual and live wine events I am hosting that you can attend! I’m hoping that we will all be attending events, in person, by the time you read this.

Listen to my radio podcast: Wine talk with Stu The Wine Guru on ITUNES or wherever you enjoy podcasts.

Read more of my articles in future Thrive Global editions

As I always say:

“If it’s time to pour the wine, it’s time for Stu The Wine Guru. Drink up! 

“Wine evolves in your mind as well as in your glass”

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