7 Black-owned Wines To Add To Your CollectionDec 17, 2020 08:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
There are more than 8,000 wineries in the United States but about one-tenth of 1% of the winemakers and brand owners are Black, estimates President of the Association of African-American Vintners, Phil Long.
Although the South African wine industry is 350 years old, dating back to 1655 when the first known Cape vineyard was first planted, it was only in 2004 that Ntsiki Biyela became South Africa’s first black female winemaker. Since her rise and the success of her brand, Aslina Wines, it has revealed the lack of transformation within the wine industry.
Now more than ever, supporting Black-owned businesses is important especially wineries that were hard hit with strict COVID-19 lockdown regulation as seen in South Africa. Here are some Black-owned wineries, vineyards, cellars, and brands.
Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein is Oregon's first Black woman-owned winery. After obtaining her wine-producing and bottling license in 2018, UCLA film graduate Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein started her winery. She was exposed to wine by her grandmother in Zimbabwe at an early age and draws a lot of inspiration from her. Goldstein has also been a social justice activist and created the #PurposeWine program, where all the proceeds from these wines go toward various causes. Goldstein recently launched Black Lives Matter Pinot Noir, which dons ‘I Can't Breathe’ on its label in remembrance of the late George Floyd.
Thembi Tobie has a passion for wine, different cultures, different foods, and travel that fuelled her into venturing into the wine industry. In 2009, Thembi & Co was established between Tobie and Boland Vineyard International, and then in2012 she bought back her shares from Boland and today sells a range of Thembi Fair Trade wines. Tobie considers herself an educator and wine ambassador for communities with no wine culture, and a pioneer in the wine industry that is white and male dominated. Watch this video of her TEDx Talk at Utrecht University in Holland where her wine is doing very well.
Baltimore-born Donae Burston is the man behind the first Black-owned rosé label out of St. Tropez, France, which translates to ‘The Rose Party’. After working in the liquor industry for more than 15 years for brands such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, and Moët & Chandon, Burston noticed a gap in the market to create a brand that is inclusive of and speaks to the multicultural demographic. “Seeing people from all walks of life come together and enjoy La Fête peacefully, with love, and with appreciation has brought us pure joy,” said Burston.
Siwela Wines is a South African Black-female owned wine company that was established in 2019 and Siwela Masoga is the youngest winemaker in Africa at the age of 29. She is a biotechnologist by profession and a winemaker with experience within the wine industry from production to quality assurance in wine and spirits. Siwela Wines’s vision is to grow a sustainable brand both locally and internationally by 2025. Their product ranges from brut chardonnay MCC, Chenin blanc to pinotage rosé and sparkling sauvignon blanc.
This small-lot vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands in California is owned by Theodora R. Lee who is sometimes called ‘Theo-parta, Queen of the Vineyards.’ Although she’s a trial lawyer in San Francisco, she was inspired to begin bottling her wines in 2012 when she saw the great fruit being produced on her vineyard. Theopolis Vineyards is best known for its Best in Class, Double Gold, 95 Points 2013 Estate Grown Petite Sirah and its Double Gold 2014 Estate Grown Rosé of Petite Sirah.
Imvula Wines is another South African, 100% Black-owned company located in Bergville, KwaZulu Natal. Founder Siyabong Mvula was exposed to diverse varieties of wine available by friends that led him to enroll in the Small-Scale Wine Making course at the University of Stellenbosch and launched his brand in 2017. Mvula plans to position his wine as the beverage of choice for all at social gatherings and to communicate and educate his community about wine in combination with a philanthropic approach.
McBride Sisters Collection is owned by two sisters, Robin and Andréa, who grew up miles away from each other, one in Monterey, California and the other in Marlborough, New Zealand. Once the sisters were united in 1999, the sisters connected over their passion for wine and McBride Sisters Collections in 2005. Now, it's the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States, with 90% of their staff are women and more than half are people of color.
Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.