Written by Stacy Lloyd
Artwork by Cindy Nguyen
Juneteenth: a celebration of liberation and African-Americans’ true freedom from enslavement in the United States. Now a federally-observed holiday, June 19th beckons us to take a bow to our ancestors. Freedom Day, as Juneteenth is also known, is a day to pay homage to our forefathers and foremothers for their many contributions to building and strengthening our country from the deep south and low country to the rolling hills of Napa Valley.
Black people migrated to the Napa region in search of better lives well before the Civil War. These former enslaved and free people brought with them skills ranging from carpentry to ranching and farming. By the mid-1850s, some 13 Black families were in Napa city, including the Canner family from Missouri. The formerly enslaved patriarch, Paul Canner, worked as a teamster and owned land that later housed a vital school for Black education.
Today, Black Napa winemakers till, plant, and harvest wines that are comparable to or exceed other local, national, and international wines. The sacredness of the land is steeped in history – our history – and is esteemed beyond its face value. There is both joy and pride in knowing that our ancestors once lived in Napa and helped it to thrive, thereby paving a way for today’s wine entrepreneurs.
“Land is power, land is wealth, land is really the core of black entrepreneurship,” a descendant of Creek Freedman of Greenwood Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Uncorked & Cultured community proudly celebrates its first Juneteenth in Napa as the day ascends to national attention. The experience will be the first of many excursions to provide education hosted by the Napa Valley Wine Academy and expose Black wine enthusiasts to California’s storied wine region. The visit is centered on Black winemakers in the area and includes J. Moss Winery, The Vice Wines, Theopolis Vineyards, Longevity Wines, Tympany Vineyards, and LVE Collection by John Legend.
With support from the Napa Valley Vintners, our group of cultural enthusiasts, influencers, and oenophiles are celebrating culture and encouraging community. During the week of Juneteenth until July 19th, Uncorked & Cultured and Association of African American Vintners will highlight Black winemakers on its social channels around themes of Celebration, Elevation, and Reconciliation. “One of the most important things we can do to increase diversity in the wine industry is building awareness of the few people of color who are already here, making careers in wine,” said Long, who also serves as president of the Association of African American Vintners. “We need more innovative programs like the Juneteenth Experience to help young people ‘see themselves in our roles and be inspired to join us.”
“Black folks can make great wine.” James Moss, owner and winemaker at J. Moss Winery
Just as we contribute to the fabric of this country, we are making our way in the wine industry. Inching and prying open a door that subsequently seemed to be shut in a country that is full of constant pushback, it is liberating to taste, walk and breathe the air on the grounds of vineyards owned and wines made by the beautiful shades that truly make America great. This is a joyous and proud day. This is our standing ovation, bow, and an Uncorked & Cultured toast to our ancestors. Happy Juneteenth!
Continue to follow our journey for the Juneteenth in Napa through Sunday, June 20th, 2021 on social at @uncorkedandcultured on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter platforms. And remember to shop Sip Consciously.
#JuneteenthNapa #UncorkedandCultured #SipConsciously #WineUnitesUs
Written by: Stacy Lloyd, Author (Rise of the Good Woman) and Spiritual Wellness Coach. Stacy is the owner of ms lloyd enterprises, Ltd Co., a multi-media + marketing firm. She is currently working on publishing other books, implementing the vision of ms lloyd enterprises and other platforms to help people become their best selves.