Pictured: Theodora Lee (Theopolis Vineyards), Marbe Marke (Marke Wines) and Jerry and Melanie Bias (Wisdom Oak Winery)
Blacks in Wine, Beer and Spirits Around the World
From California to South Africa and beyond, this directory is your roundtrip ticket to enjoy some of the best wines, beers and spirits along with getting to know the people making it all happen.
This international directory of black wineries, breweries and spirit makers is the first of its kind and has grown since we launched it in 2012. With a pulse on these three industries, we’ll be sure to keep you posted about who is new as well as how the veterans continue to change the game.
Be sure to click on the names to be directed to the websites.
Abbey Creek Vineyard
North Plains, OR
Winemaker Bertony Faustin plants the vines, tends to them, harvests the fruit and makes the wine. He is the heart and soul, the drive that pushes Abbey Creek forward. A transplanted New Yorker, Bertony has found not only his family, but his destiny in Oregon wine country. A physical trainer by trade, Bertony started his wine career like many, somewhat by accident.
Read more about Abbey Creek Vineyard in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Winemaker Christopher Christensen makes California’s first sparkling sauvignon blanc as well as a still sauvignon blanc. Other varietals include a muscat canelli and a zinfandel that will be released this September.
Located in Napa Valley, the sibling team of Coral, David and Deneen Brown make wines that include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Tastings available off-site in Yountville.
Charles Woodson Wines
Charles Woodson discovered his appreciation for wine in 1998 when he arrived in Napa with the Oakland Raiders for training camp. Charles Woodson Wines is farmed with the same artisanship, precision and delicate care that is at the core of the winemaking philosophy.
Earl Stevens Selections
Rapper E-40 or Earl Stevens is a wine connoisseur who decided to make his own label of wine. Earl Stevens Selections has three offers: mangoscato, red blend (cabernet and zinfandel) and moscato.
eco.love Wines (Currently not in production)
San Francisco, CA
Sisters Andrea and Robin McBride are the owners of eco.love wines which are made in New Zealand at the first carboNZero Cert™ winery in the world. They produce three varietals – Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Noir and their vision is to create wines that enrich a celebration of life, beauty, and optimism, for the betterment of humankind. eco.love Wines are all about being accessible, beautiful, sustainable, and tasty.
Read more about eco.love in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Edelheiss Wine is an elite 100% organic fortified wine generating an exhilarating taste and consists of all natural red wine, cinnamon and other natural mixed spices that makes it for a comforting, soothing and delightful beverage. The taste of Edelheiss reflects the commitment of a quality brand with unsurpassed quality control and the purest of ingredients.
This winery is also owned and operated by the Sterling brothers and specializes in Pinot Noir, pulling grapes from both Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Cole Ranch, the smallest AVA in the United States, is solely owned by Esterlina. Tastings on-site by appointment.
Everett Ridge Winery (Winery Closed June 2016)
Beautiful winery and tasting room located in Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma County). Owned and operated by four brothers, Eric, Steve, Chris and Craig Sterling. Diablita Wines is a separate label also produced by Everett Ridge. Tasting room open to the public.
Silver Spring, MD
Founded by jazz artist Marcus Johnson, FLO Wine, part of FLO Brands, produces and sells two types of wine – a Chardonnay and a Red Blend. The wine is bottled in northern California and created using grapes from the best appellations around the state.
Read more about Flo Brands in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Heritage Link Brands
New York, NY
Owned by husband and wife team Khary and Selena Cuffe, Heritage Link Brands works with vintners from across Africa with the majority of their relationships in the continent’s most developed market, South Africa.
Read more about Heritage Link Brands in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Cape Province, South Africa
An internationally renowned wine connoisseur and wine columnist, Jabulani Ntshangase developed a keen interest in the wine industry in the late 1970's while studying towards his business degree on a United Nations Scholarship at the Baruch College in Manhattan, New York. This interest started when he was employed as a clerk in an upmarket Manhattan Wine Shop.
Read more about Jabulani Ntshangase in Cuisine Noir magazine.
House of Mandela Wines
Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter have launched a premium wine label with fine wines that capture the essence of the South African’s viniculture that is truly becoming an industry rival worldwide.
Read more about the House of Mandela Wines in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Paso Robles, CA
Raymond Smith is the owner and winemaker for Indigenè with the winery based in Carmel Valley, Monterey County. The Riesling (I=mb2) is fruit-forward and pleasing, the Cabernet Sauvignon, complex.
J Moss Wines
J Moss is a small family owned wine producer who creates high quality, hand crafted lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from the appellations of Napa Valley.
Dan Glover is the winemaker behind this brand. The 2008 L’Objet Noir, Pinot Noir is from the well known Bacicalupi Vineyard located in the storied Russian River Valley.
Winemaker Phil Long enjoys the challenge of bigger wines, but approaches each varietal with the same dedication. The tasting room is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm. Favorites in the barrels will always include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Debruvee (the signature Rhone Style blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Petite Sirah), and Philosophy (Bordeaux style blend), and Chardonnay among others.
Read more about Longevity Wines in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Maison Ilan is owned by San Francisco Bay Area native Ray Walker and is a micro-négociant winery, sourcing small lots of pinot noir fruit from the Côte de Nuits region in Burgundy, dedicated to exceptional Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. The winery is located in Nuits-Saint-Georges, France.
Markell-Bani is the brainchild of two local visionaries, Gregory Markell Lawrence and Sean Bani Yisrael. The two decided to create a wine brand that embraced African-American culture, while maintaining elements and character loved by traditional wine drinkers. Their passion for fine wine and discovering that the wine industry has historically overlooked the African-American community, led to the formation of Markell-Bani. Selections include Black Cherry Merlot, Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc and Rose'.
Marke Wines are a reflection of winemaker Marbue Marke’s journey. It is a journey that defies conventional expectations…and leads to unexpected destinations. The result of this journey is his personal portfolio of the art of wine making.
Read more about Marke Wines in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Husband and wife team, Diale and Malmsey Rangaka, left their professional careers behind to build a family business around developing a world-class wine tourism business in South Africa.
Mouton wines are unique and distinctive garage wines produced by Andre H. Mack. Founded in 2004, Mouton Noir began producing wines for New York City restaurants and released their first label, Mouton Noir Wines’ Montgomery Place in 2008.
Read more about Mouton Noir in Cuisine Noir magazine.
MYX Fusion Moscato
MYX Fusions Moscato is co-owned by Nicki Minaj, one of today’s most influential female recording artists, and entertainment industry magnate, Mona Scott-Young. MYX Fusions Moscato combines the excitement of fruit-infused sparkling wine with the infinite drinkability of full-flavored beer. MYX is currently available in 3 exciting flavors – Peach, Coconut and Original Moscato.
Nombe (Now Closed)
San Francisco, CA
Gil Payne, a San Francisco sake sommelier, wants us to know two things: Good sake is not supposed to be served hot and sake bombs aren’t cool either. Payne owns Nombe, the acclaimed izakaya-style Japanese restaurant with his wife in the Mission District.
Read more about Nombe in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Jordan, Ontario – Canada
Winemaker Steve Byfield is the owner of Nyarai Cellar, one of the small yet growing collection of vintner-directed virtual operations within the Niagara region.
Read more about Nyarai Cellars in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Producing 300 cases per year, Okapi Vineyard produces full-bodied wines with opulent flavors balanced by sufficient tannins and complexity ages beautifully. Wines are available online and via telephone.
Paul Charles Wines
Los Angeles, CA
Charles Wine Company is family-owned and managed with a portfolio of premium wines representing the rich diversity of the Western States: California (Northern, Central and Southern), Washington and Oregon appellations. The company and winemaker Paul Charles make and distribute wines under three labels: Paul Charles Series, Cherise Sparkling Riesling and Symphony that are carried in selected wine shops, hotels and online.
Read more about Charles Wine Company in Cuisine Noir magazine.
P. Harrell Wines (Just Added)
The creation of P. Harrell Wines has emerged from owner’s Paula J. Harrell’s long standing passion and appreciation for wine. Her 2013 Zinfandel, Three Fifteen is named after her childhood home in San Francisco. The 2013 Reisling, Haight Street, is a tribute to her family’s legacy.
POPCORN CHARDONNAY(JUST ADDED)
The brainchild of chef and entrepreneur R.C. Mills, Popcorn Chardonnay is a fun, accessible, unpretentious CA chardonnay brand, yet a serious wine from quality vineyards throughout coastal AVA’s. Near 100% malolactic.
Owned by Iris Rideau, and located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, Rideau produces wines that highlight Rhône varietals. Tasting room open to the public.
Read more about Rideau Vineyards in Cuisine Noir magazine.
CEO Brenda Williams believes that wine is the epitome of sophistication and fun. Living by the moto, “Be rich in life, rich in love, and rich in family and friends,” she introduced “Temptation Chardonnay,” “Cuvee Blanc,” and “Seduction Cabernet Franc,” to bring fulfillment to every conversation, every meal, and every moment that you share with a glass in hand.
Morgenster, Brackenfell, South Africa
The Brutus family of seven biological sisters started this business in the wine industry. Their wines are sold in 41 states as well as on American Airline’s international flights.
Shoe Crazy Wine
Founder Gwen Hurt was given a wine making kit for Christmas and hasn’t looked back since. The brand name is inspired by her passion for shoes. The wine is made from superior grapes in optimum conditions. Shoe Crazy Wine creates signature and proprietary blends that are beautifully balanced. Its mission is to deliver the ultimate wine drinking experience by never forgetting the customer is everything.
Los Angeles, CA
Simply Vino’s Vina Sympatica™ is a bubbly blend of super fruit and wine and as its name suggests, quite simply “a likeable wine.” The concept is a play on the traditional wine spritzer – cool, classic, light and enjoyable.
Sharp Cellars (Now Closed)
Sharp Cellars’ production is very limited. Concerned more with quality, each varietal rarely exceeds 300 cases. Vance Sharp began producing wines under his own label, Sharp Cellars with the first release being the 2001 Hailey’s Creek Zinfandel. Sharp’s wines were met with immediate acclaim receiving tasting honors and awards as well as being served at the White House.
Pronounced (Soh-saa-bee) meaning “ fun” in the Cape Verdean language, this is the essence and inspiration of Sosabe Wines. Well balanced, with flavors, smoothness and complexities Sosabe Wines are enjoyable for all occasions. Sosabe Cellars’ Wines are sold in many restaurants and stores throughout California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Florida and as far as Japan with direct shipments available in other states.
Theopolis Vineyards is a small lot vineyard and hand-crafted winery located in California’s prestigious Yorkville Highlands of the Anderson Valley. Owned by Theodora Lee, wines made from the grapes harvested on the vineyards have received stellar ratings of 94-96 points by world renowned critic Robert Parker. In 2014, Lee started bottling and distributing her wine releasing a Petite Sirah and Symphony (a white wine that is crossing of Muscat and Grenache Gris).
Read more about Theopolis Vineyards in Cuisine Noir magazine.
San Francisco, CA
Marrying 10 plus years of experience in the wine industry as négociants, and creators of eco.love Wines from New Zealand, Andrea and Robin McBride have crafted another authentic, but affordable luxury wine, this time from select vineyards within the Central Coast of California. Their vision for Truvée is to make delicious wines everyone can enjoy and inspire people "to find" what matters most to them.
Read more about the Truvée and the McBride Sisters in Cuisine Noir magazine.
The Vegan Vine
Los Angeles, CA
Retired basketball star John Salley has embraced his vegan lifestyle and love for wine by partnering up with Clos LaChance Winery for his first foray into the wine industry. Wines are sold online and at select retail locations.
Read more about The Vegan Vine in Cuisine Noir Magazine.
Napa Valley, CA
Fun, elegant, stylish and approachable are just a few words to describe the 2012 Vanilla Puddin Chardonnay from Napa Valley, CA. Created in conjunction with Gabrielle Union and JaM Cellars, Vanilla Puddin Chardonnay has characteristics of pears, light French oak, white chocolate with dollops of vanilla, the perfect wine to make any day a special occasion.
Wisdom Oak Vineyards (Now Closed)
North Garden, VA
Jerry Bias owns and operates this winery in Virginia – that’s right, it’s not in California. They make a range of vitis vinifera, but also some vitis labrusca varietals. Tasting room open to the public.
Read more about Wisdom Oak Winery in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Owner and winemaker Mac MacDonald has become an icon of African American winemaking. He is co-founder of the Association of African American Vintners and produces several Pinot Noir wines from various vineyards in California.
MEET THE WINE EXPERTS AND WINEMAKERS
A trip to New York’s Wythe Hotel and its restaurants will put in you the company of sommelier Lee Campbell, one of the industry top wine professionals.
Andre H. Mack
André Mack decided to leave his “desk job” to pursue his passion for wine and has built an impressive career since. He has been featured in major publications, such as Food and Wine, Wine and Spirits Magazine, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Ebony, and Black Enterprise. Mr. Mack was honored in 2007 with The Network Journal’s 40-Under-Forty Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to business.
Winemaker and author Christian made his first wine in his bathtub and today loves to share his knowledge about the business and how to make the way we think about wine a little less complicated.
Born and raised native of Dallas, DLynn Proctor is now an international fixture in the wine industry. In 2008, Wine & Spirits Magazine named Proctor the “Best New Sommelier in America.” This proclamation was followed by articles and features in national media outlets such as Wine Spectator, Everyday with Rachael Ray, Decanter and The New York Times.
Read more about DLynn Proctor in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Greg is a college professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration at California State University, Sacramento. His areas of specialty include wine tourism education and California wine geography, and Greg has conducted wine tours, written a book chapter about wine tourism, and is also a contributing writer for Cuisine Noir magazine.
James King and the King Group present a variety of unique and unforgettable events for wine and food groups. They create a “full-bodied” experience for corporate wine tastings, conferences, fundraisers, special events, and private homes.
Read more about James King in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Anani is the only sommelier in the United States to have worked for Michelin three-star restaurants on both the west and east coast. Anani is a major tastemaker in the wine industry as an alumnus of renowned restaurants The French Laundry and Per Se.
Read more about Anani Lawson in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Jarod Sleet is a winemaker Argyle Winery in Oregon and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in viticulture and enology. In the future, he hopes to start his own label and have his own line.
Joseph Smith is the winemaker at Klinker Brick in Lodi Wine Country. Originally from Belize, Joseph is the man behind the award-winning wines in this undiscovered wine country.
Read more about Joseph Smith in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Caldwell Winery and Vineyard isn’t an African-American owned winery at all, but their winemaker, Marbue Marke, is and Caldwell promotes his expertise proudly. Caldwell is in east Napa County in the Coombsville region. Tasting room open to the public.
Read more about Marbue Marke in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Ntsiki Biyela is the resident winemaker at Stellakaya Winery in South Africa and is also the first Black woman winemaker in the country as well. She joined the winery in January 2004 and has a passion for red wine and was named the Landbouweekblad Woman Winemaker of the year in 2010.
Read more about Ntsiki Biyela in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Victoria Coleman’s passion for viticulture and winemaking is stimulating. The Seattle native began working in the wine business as a production assistant to Michael Silacci. She is currently the wineamaker at Mario Bazán Cellars and has been there since 2004.
THE BEER – BREWERIES AND BREWERS
Black Frog Brewery
Chris Harris, a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, began his brewing journey on the user-friendly Mr. Beer machine. After his co-workers began tasting the beer, requests poured in and today he is the owner and brewer of the first minority-owned nano brewery in Ohio.
Cajun Fire Brewing Company
New Orleans, LA
Cajun Fire Brewing Company was founded on Halloween 2011 by Jon Renthrope. The start-up brewery is operated by a team of young passionate individuals who lend their expertise to collectively produce a rich culturally stimulating experience in every pint.
Read more about Cajun Fire Brewing Company in Cuisine Noir magazine.
Harlem Brewing Company (Just Added)
Owner Celeste Beatty started making her first brews in her studio apartment right across from Marcus Garvey Park after finally opening the gift of a home brew kit that sat in the closet for several weeks. She kept brewing and with the amazing support from family and friends, Harlem Brewing Company launched at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Today she is the only woman black-owned brewery in the country.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Owned by “Madmaster Brewer” Ndumiso Madlala, the name “Soweto Gold” means” being the home of the brewery and “Gold” being the very reason for the existence of Soweto as we know and love it today. Madlala also says, the connotation of “gold” as a label depicts something valuable and precious. It shows that Soweto Gold is a premium product.
Garret Oliver is the brewmaster at The Brooklyn Brewery Company who has been brewing beer since 1994. He is the author of “The Brewmaster’s Table” and a 2014 James Beard Award Recipient.
Read more about Garrett Oliver in Cuisine Noir magazine.
MEET THE SPIRIT PRODUCERS
Boujae (Just Added)
Founded in January 2015, Stephania Lauger created Bou’Jae Vodka to accommodate her gluten free lifestyle. Bou’Jae was created with health in mind. Consumers can enjoy Bou’Jae and not have to worry about allergic, inflammatory, or autoimmune responses.
Down South Beverage Company produces STILL MOON moonshine that has a crisp and clean flavor with a warm and smooth mouthfeel. Signature flavors include their Special Reserve, Apple Pie, Strawberry and Lemon drop. STILL MOON is currently available throughout Indiana as well as in Humble, Houston, and Friendswood, TX.
Rivulet® Artisan Pecan Liqueur
Rivulet begins with the finest slow-distilled brandy, gently aged to perfection in small oak casks, resulting in a spirit that some say is smoother than silk. Their brandy is distilled and aged using the same time honored methods and traditions that have been passed down for generations.