Written by Alexis Collins
Artwork by Cindy Nguyen
We’re raising a toast to African American contributors in wine by spotlighting some outstanding Black-owned wine shops, and providing a destination to foster the community of Black entrepreneurs in the 3-tier wine distribution chain. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or casual drinker, where you choose to spend your dollars can greatly benefit small businesses, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes extending your patronage to Black-owned wine retailers and producers, whose existence is often glossed over by the predominantly white wine world.
The recently published Buy Black Wine directory is a comprehensive list of Black wine business in partnership with professor, culture, and wine researcher, Dr. Monique Bell, PhD and Uncorked & Cultured. If you’re eager to start racking up your cellar with Black-owned wines, let us fill your glass with some tasty recommendations!
- Happy Cork: Brooklyn, NY
Starting off our wine shop selection with a splash, we’re taking it to the Big Apple, where Brooklyn native Sunshine Foss founded her community-oriented business in 2019. Their motto “your number one source for all things happy,” can’t be any more accurate, with the spot becoming a top travel destination while simultaneously serving as the largest collection of Black and minority-owned wine and spirits in the borough. The store has also transformed into a cultural hub where patrons can choose from a diverse array of accessories created by POC. Possessing a background in fashion and design, Foss extended her talents towards decorating her store, displaying expertly-crafted adornments throughout its interior, from a wood pallet cash wrap to recyclable merchandise. Their spectacular assortment of delicious wine is carefully tried and selected by the team to ensure you have the ultimate tasting experience. Happy Cork stresses the importance of shining a spotlight on underrepresented brands, guaranteeing these amazing wines have a chance to reach your glass. These wonderful varietals, which are showcased on the company’s site, range from Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot. Purchase your bottles today at affordable prices!
- Purple Corkscrew: Avondale Estates, GA
Owner Steffini Bethea and her dedicated team of wine specialists opened the shop in 2016 to provide an eclectic experience for guests. Visitors are immediately whisked into an intimate setting where they could explore prized wines while engaging in fun conversation with close friends. The wine shop is purposely designed to be dynamic, with the staff building a small wine retail boutique section so you can buy and sip in one location. After gracing the wine room, customers could diversify their personal wine rack by picking from a hand-picked selection of small vineyard brands. Bethea wants to engage with you by providing quality wine that resonates with your tastebuds. Every wine is carefully examined and tasted by her team before being placed on the shelves for your consumption. Immaculate customer service isn’t just an ideal, it’s a goal that Bethea strives for when interacting with each and every customer. Purple corkscrew is an extension of enjoying your go-to wine from the comfort of your own home so check out their store now.
- SIP Wine and Beer: Escondido, CA
Nestled in the “hidden city” of Escondido, California, Cassandra Schaeg hopes her entrepreneurship and platform encourages, inspires, and empowers people, especially minorities and women in the wine industry. Regardless if you’re a booze novice or a wine connoisseur, she wants wine and beer devotees to share their passion for all things community and culture over their beverage of choice. Drawing inspiration from witnessing an agricultural revolution in her hometown of Temecula, which is now considered a widely recognizable wine destination, Schaeg envisioned building the foundation for her own wine and beer establishment. Since 2015, patrons who grace this shop have a space to join insightful and fun conversations about the complexities of beer and wine, accompanied with a charming aesthetic that further prompts visitors to indulge.
- Graft Wine Shop: Charleston, SC
Co-owner Femi Oyediran knows a thing or two about wine, besides being a long-time wine aficionado, he served under the tutelage of famous Sommelier Rick Rubel, the first in his series of rare and impressive feats. His portfolio also involves becoming the recipient of the coveted Walter Clore Scholarship, earning the highest score on the certified exam. He also surpassed the first three levels of the Court of Master Sommeliers within a two-year period, a task that proved arduous for many wine enthusiasts. This accomplishment placed Oyediran on a path of prestige, for he is now one of 7 Advanced Sommeliers in the State of South Carolina. The list of accolades and awards include, but are not limited to, being a two-time national finalist for the Chaine des Rotisseurs Best Young Sommelier in America competition, Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2018 ’40 under 40,’ and the ‘Sommelier of the Year’ award winner by Food and Wine Magazine in 2019. His co-owner is fellow Sommelier Miles White, who also mastered his Sommelier certification with flying colors. Their tireless dedication to producing fulfilling wine has led to a creative compilation of funky, sweet, and sparkling wines that’ll have your palate falling in love. Explore their organic Jacques Puffeney Vin Juane Arbois 2013 and their Château Andoyse Du Hayot 2007, which is brewing with an abundance of grape varieties.
- Off the Rox Wine and Beer Shop: Baltimore, MD
Carefully selected beers and handpicked wines are simply part of the tasting experience, according to founder Jeryl Cole. Their mission is to implore your tastebuds, taking them on an adventure as they travel from locally-produced beverages to natural wines. At Off the Rox, their main focus is including drinks that may be overlooked by mass distributors, which is why they source from vineyards that participate in small-scale harvesting and production. A special feature from their shop is their highly-anticipated Rox Box, a four-pack consisting of sustainable small-produced wines that embody a different theme. These monthly themes reflect a location or style that is sure to entice you as you sift through their diverse display of bottles. When you shop from Off the Rox, you’re automatically coined a “Roxstar” because you’re choosing to have a memorable product in your glass!
- 3 Parks Wine Shop: Atlanta, GA
The Peach State has plenty of wonderful wineries they can brag on; however, some of the most banging vino hails from 3 Parks Wine Shop in the ATL. This hotspot is nestled in the cozy neighborhood of Grant, Glenwood, and Ormewood Parks, where its open doors serve as an extension of the shop’s consistent hospitality. Here, you can purchase some flavorful wines in anticipation of a night out with friends, or, if you simply want to unwind and re-watch a season of Insecure after a long day in the office, they’ve got you covered too. Sarah Pierre, the shop’s owner, wants to make your time spent with them as interactive as possible, which is why she hosts monthly wine club sessions. You can dabble in the selection process, using your expertise to help them determine which bottles to carry. For wine surveyors, this is your chance to enter some uncharted territory, taste testing wines that are newly in stock! Mark your calendar so you can enjoy a remarkable event full of pairing tips and informative tidbits on wine backgrounds. Last but not least, if you need a new supply of wine to fill your pantry, or a gift wrap bundle to take to a party, 3 Parks sells generous amounts, bottling up to 32oz bottles of incredible wine to pack on your next trip. Definitely shop with them to see their latest assortments, including their special holiday collections located here.
- House of Pure Vin: Detroit, MI
Established in the heart of downtown Detroit, House of Pure Vin solidifies itself as a “signature retail destination for wine lovers and future connoisseurs.” They always guarantee that there’s not a shortage of bubbly, partnering with Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi to curate their endless supply of wine and champagne. Founder and CEO Regina Gaines has assembled an amazing team of friendly and knowledgeable staff who excel in meeting your wine expectations, personalizing your interactions with dependable brands. All you have to do is detail the meal or occasion, and your customized wine expert will recommend the perfect wine to suit it. The wines available here on historical Woodward Avenue are brands that will be in your household for a lifetime, a few notable bottles to try are their bold and fruity Aslina wines. If you want a classic aperitif to pair with a savory dish or a cigar, check out their renowned Cognacs.
- Poco Wine and Spirits: Seattle, WA
Rashida Burnham started with a dream, and that was to transform her brick-and-mortar shop into a neighborhood wine and whiskey hangout on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Her wish was for patrons to have numerous beverage options, which explains why their bar boasts over 20 stylized wines and a whopping 35-plus flavors of whiskey. Their shelf is bursting with specialty cocktails and beers that are ready to impact your tastebuds or be packaged and transported home. Poco’s mission is an uncompromising form of exploration and discovery, creating an entire display of unique drinks that resonate with you on a deeper level. Showcasing lesser-known varietals owned by people of color is a popularized part of their offerings, it also serves as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of entrepreneurs who identify as minorities. Their wine menu will have you on the edge of your seat in anticipation, if you’re in the mood for something bubbly, get their exotic Cava from Spain, if red’s more your preference they serve a delicious glass of pinot noir.
- The Urban Grape: Boston, MA
Conceptualized by husband-and-wife duo TJ and Hadley Douglas in 2010, Urban Grape fosters an individualized atmosphere that allows customers to stock their wine cellars with a medley of brands, including everyday wine, birth year vintages, and wines that can age gracefully, therefore appreciating in value. The shop’s prominence and popularity grew from humble beginnings, starting out as a small store in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Over time, the Hadley’s brainchild transformed into one of the most successful independently-owned wine shops in the country. The thriving empire is complete with Urban Affairs, a wine tasting and event company; The Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color, an endowment fund given to Boston University students who want to pursue careers in the wine and beverage industry; and Urban Cellar, an enterprise that specializes in rare cellar stocking and management. If that’s not phenomenal enough, they are the first store in the world to incorporate the Progressive Scale, an intricate system that categorizes wines based on their body instead of their varietal or region. It’s no wonder why their phrase is DRINK PROGRESSIVELY! Whether it’s a full-bodied 2019 Domaine Ott or a rustic 2018 Arnot-Roberts, customize your shelves with a rotation of collectibles that will appease your palate for decades.
The BUY BLACK WINE DIRECTORY is a growing assemblage of Black wine businesses as a partnership with Uncorked & Cultured and Dr. Monique Bell, professor, wine + culture researcher and founder of The Wyne Belle. Our research collaboration seeks to illuminate Black contributions to the wine industry and foster community within it. With intention to Sip Consciously, this comprehensive resource highlights Black entrepreneurs in the 3-Tier wine distribution chain.
This list is subject to change and (hopefully) grow as we become aware and get owner consent. If you would like your Black-owned wine business listed, complete our survey!