Some people take trips for family events, to exotic locales or just to get away and recharge. I travel for those reasons too, but I also travel to taste wine. Wine, you ask? Yes and not just any wine; quality, premium wines made by Black vineyards and vintners. Right there I lost a lot of folks. You’re scratching your head like, there’s a difference? In fact, there is. A vineyard is where you can go and physically see the grapes growing on the vines. Most vineyards have a tasting room to try their delicious wines. A vinter is a person who makes wine. They usually don’t own a vineyard. They can contract with vineyards to create wines.
Now back to the wines. Most people, especially Black people, don’t know there are about 60 African Americans winemakers. I didn’t either, until my curiosity lead me to do a search of the interwebs. I was delighted to find so many and have made it my mission to taste each Black owned and made wine there is.
Thus began my will travel for Black wines adventures. My most recent trip, the second weekend in February, took me to Richmond, Virginia to Benita Johnson, founder of The Vine Wine Club’s 3rd Annual Exclusive Black List wine tasting.
The wines available were:
Seven Sisters Wines, South African wines created by the seven Brutus sisters has yes you guessed it seven wine.. That night I tasted Sauvignon Blanc; 2012 Pinotage/Shiraz; 2011 Rose’; Cabernet Sauvignon; 2011 Merlot; Sweet White Wine and Chenin Blanc. These sisters are tasty indeed.
Brown Estate Wines, a third generation, family owned, Napa Valley winery produces twelve wines. On hand that night were two stellar wines, 2014 Zinfandel & 2013 Chaos Theory.
“Most people, especially Black people, don’t know there are about 60 African Americans winemakers.”
~ Nicole Kearney
Shoe Crazy Wines, created by Gwen Hurt and her daughter is based in Virginia produces six wines. On deck were Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Rose and Sweet harmony white wine (2016 and 2015 Exclusive Black List People’s Choice Winner). All three are fantastic.
Mouton Noir Wines, created by André Hueston Mack and made in Oregon boasts 12 wines. We were served O.P.P – Other People’s Pinot Noir, Horseshoe and Handgrenades, red blend and Bottoms Up, white table wine. All three are top notch.
Flo (For The Love Of…) Wines, created by Marcus Johnson, musician and author is Maryland based and as three wines; a Red Blend, Chardonnay and Moscato. All three were available for tasting. All three were delicious. My palate (taste) runs dry but the Chardonnay was divine; buttery, smooth and a hint of oak (meaning the wine spent time in an oak barrel).
I had the honor and pleasure of attending a fantastic after tasting party with Marcia Jones of Urban Connoisseur. There I tasted a three out of eight wines from Theopolis Vineyards, owned by Theodora Lee, known to many as Theo-patra, Queen of the vineyards, based in California. The wines are outstanding.
Longevity Wines, located in California is helmed by Phil Long and has an impressive 13 wines, two if which were sampled. They were incredible.
Vina Sympatica Wines, started by Sherrijon Gaspard, based in California has three sparkling wines; two of which were available tasted right on point, light and bubbly.
I can’t wait until the next adventure.
The Exclusive Black List is Black excellence at it’s finest. I know I’m reserving the second weekend of February for this event annually. I invite you to come to Richmond in 2018 and taste quality, premium Black wines with me. To find out more visit www.thevinewineclub.com.
Nicole Kearney, MFA Wine Enthusiast and Founder of Sip & Share Wine : Home & Event Wine Tastings. You can learn more about Sip & Share Wine at www.sipnsharewine.net @sipnsharewine – Facebook, Twitter & IG
Sip & Share is also looking for other wine enthusiast worldwide for possible employment opportunities. For more information, go to www.sipnsharewine.net.