Fruits of the Vine

The business of wine (growing, making, distributing, selling, serving, teaching, drinking) is complex and competitive. Wine making is nearly as old as farming, 10,000 years! Wine is made, in one form or another, in most parts of the world. In the USA, there are approximately 22 black-owned wineries, a number of joint ventures between black celebrities and wineries, wine tours led by African Americans, wine shops, and other wine-related businesses started by blacks. Most of the wineries are in California, but there are some in New York State, Oregon, and in Virginia. If you travel to any of these locations, be sure to check out the tasting rooms at the wineries, ask your local wine shop to find some of these great products, join a wine club, or go to the websites of these wineries and order directly from them.

Mac McDonald of Vision Cellars
Mac McDonald hails from Texas, where his father made moonshine. His Vision Cellars in Sonoma County is a long way from those humble beginnings! He moved to California in 1963 and started his own business in 1995. Mr. McDonald is an officer in The Association of African American Vintners; The Association was founded in 2002. His wines, along with those of Ernest Bates' Black Coyote Wines, have been served in the White House by President Barack Obama at State Dinners.

Andre Mack, Mouton Noir Wines
Winemaker Andre Mack whose label is Mouton Noir Wines, gets his grapes from some of the best vineyards in the American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in Oregon. He has been making wine since 2007.

The first African American female winery owner in the USA is Iris Rideau. She started Rideau Vineyards in 1997 in the Santa Ynez Valley in the heart of Santa Barbara, California wine country.

And now, the first African American winemakers in wine-rich Washington State, Dreux and Dain Dillingham, have debuted their label Carter-Lamour with their Chardonnay and soon-to-come Cabernet/Malbec. Be sure to click on the links to learn about their compelling story and how to order their wines.

Nearly all of African American winemakers have been successful in other professions before turning to wine making. They have been surgeons, entrepreneurs, business executives, sommeliers. Their goals have been to not only make excellent wines, but to educate other African-Americans in the art of wine appreciation. There is a Boston-based group of ten African American women, Divas Uncorked, whose aim is to get the wine industry in general to pay more attention to women and people of color. They host an annual Martha's Vineyard Wine & Food Festival, host educational wine dinners, and have their own wine label. Wine makers, vineyards owners, restaurants serving wines by these black wine makers: follow up and find what a great way this is to expand horizons, meet interesting people, and support these pioneers.


  1. Marcia Jones is founder of Urban Connoisseurs. Urban Connoisseurs is a value added service of sales and marketing to small boutique wineries, primarily Black owned. We have a quarterly wine club that provides 4 different wines from 4 different wineries each quarter. Members also have the opportunity to host a complimentary wine tasting in their homes for friends or family, and receive complimentary passes to ANY of Urban Connoisseurs' wine tasting around town. This includes our latest events, Wine Down Wednesdays which may include in opportunity to "Meet the Vintner". Visit our site and join today at

    1. Thanks, Marcia, for adding more information for people who are interested in further exploring this topic!

  2. And, for more/updated information check here:


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