Abner Montfleury is the ambitious wine producer from Boston, Massachusetts, who struck out on his own to step into the vintner’s world. He shares how his Haitian heritage, love of family, building community, and creating generational wealth motivates every business decision he makes.
Wine for some is about the viscosity, the terroir, the flavor profile, and memories centered around a good vintage. For Abner Montfleury, the Boston native aims to diversify the wine space. Montfleury recently launched Montfleur Duvin Yvonne in August 2020. Yvonne, an aromatic white wine made from gewürztraminer grapes, is named in honor of his late grandmother, an important matriarch in the Montfleury family.
“The idea came at the end of 2018. In March of 2019, my cousin directed me to a [Avocado and Honey] podcast, which led me to read books about wine.” Prior to entering the wine world, Montfleury, who is 24 years old, worked as an admissions counselor at Babson College in Massachusetts and later relocated to Baltimore, Maryland for a similar position at the University of Maryland. “I felt like I needed a change,” says Montfleury, who wanted to experience a new city and to be closer to his girlfriend.
Montfleury is eager to expand palates one bottle at a time with Yvonne. “It’s not a moscato, it's a sweet wine that you can enjoy [and] expand [your] palette,” says Montfleury. When he is not meeting with business owners, he is deepening his understanding of the wine world.
From Higher Education to the Wine World
Montfleury, a first-generation Haitian-American, grew up in Boston’s Dorchester and later, Hyde Park neighborhoods with his parents and older sister, who is also an entrepreneur.
Montfleury graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. Wine was not on his radar. His parents are devout Seventh-day Adventists, and in his home, there is a stigma around alcohol consumption as he grew up, but that did not dim his curiosity.
His exposure to spirits and wine began with Angry Orchard. From there Montfleury expanded his palate to wine. “My path to creating my wine has not been linear. But I definitely feel like my experiences of working as an admissions counselor, having to speak to people, learning how to sell a product definitely played into the businessman that I am,” he says.
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Legacy building through wine and creating generational wealth is at the core of what motivates Montfleury. “Looking back, little did my mom know that I would come out with my own wine. She loved it and the reception is amazing. It’s named after my grandmother who transitioned, and they understood that I found my passion and drive. It was about owning my own [company]. Our freedom comes with a cost.”
The entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity are clear in Montfleury’s story. He channeled his love for his late grandmother and memorialized her with his first release.
Celebrating Montfleur Duvin Milestones
The wine industry is not for the faint of heart. Montfleury is learning to celebrate his wins as they come, big or small. “My first partnership was with a Black-owned, woman-owned wine bar and cafe, and I remember going up to her and ordering food and I said this is my card, and I have my wine coming out soon. And she said come by when you have your wine. She bought two cases. That was one of my biggest moments.”
Building a network of relationships with fellow business owners is key to strong partnerships Montfleury has dedicated his time to cultivating. “My second milestone was selling out my first batch of two hundred bottles that happened in eight days. I was overwhelmed because people were buying my wine and the reception I was receiving from my community.”
Montfleury plans to expand his knowledge about wine and building relationships with other oenophiles. He credits fellow vintners like the McBride Sisters and Baltimore native Donae Burston of La Fête du Rosé with inspiring him to start Montfleur Duvin. “Seeing them and how far they've elevated themselves [and their brands], that’s been motivation for me to continue to take up space in the wine industry.”
Entrepreneurship and Building a Support Network
No entrepreneurial journey is not complete without the help of a supportive community. Montfleury is grateful for his cousin and girlfriend who assist with social media and managing the Montfleur Duvin Friday Wine Down playlist.
From Baltimore to Boston, Montfleury has seen an overwhelming amount of support from acquaintances, family and friends. “Positive affirmations every single day” are essential to Montfleury’s success. “Launching my own wine and going full-time was not an easy decision personally and financially. I’m in the entrepreneurship world, so it's up and down with that. There’s no right path to create generational wealth.”
Montfleury appreciates the support but also insists it should be genuine. “I want you to see the value in me, my story, my wine at the end of the day. I don’t want it to be a sympathy buy. I want it to be, ‘I want to buy a case because I support your vision’ and that’s the reception I've got from Black owned-businesses.”
Montfleur says he is on the search for a mentor. “I like to seek knowledge and wisdom from older people for business or personal advice. I know this is probably cliché, but the world is my mentor.”
“Before the end of the year, I want to sell close to 1500 bottles. I want to use this to catapult me into something else. My goal is to create generational wealth.” Montfleury is looking ahead and capturing the momentum of his launch this summer.
In 2021, Montfleur Duvin will release a red wine. When asked what’s his favorite wine, Montfleury is frank. “Apothic Red is one of my go-to red blends. I would also say I do not have a favorite wine right now. I am still new to the wine game.”
The new winemaker shares what he enjoys doing to decompress and that it’s not all about making wine but finding a balance in life. “I like to drink wine and listen to music, and we wanted to create a vibe. There’s a Wednesday Wine Down, of course, I wanted to do something different. Friday is the perfect day before the weekend. Our playlist allows you to relax. It has a lot of good music. Definitely check it out.”
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Check out the Montfleur Duvin Friday Wine Down playlist to kick off your weekend, wine in hand. Keep up with Montfleury and his wine brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To purchase, visit Montfleur Duvin's website.