The entire state of California has become a destination for wine lovers, with regions like Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Paso Robles, and Temecula Valley enjoying a boom in wine-related tourism. Once thought of as a pastime reserved for the elite, wine culture has endeared itself to new drinkers in recent decades, especially as more wine-growing regions sprout up and natural wines gain in popularity. Despite this growth, Black-owned wineries still make up less than 1% of the industry, according to Association of African American Vintners (AAA Vintners) president Phil Long.
Thankfully, a new guard of Black winemakers in California are stepping forward, with the intention of changing the industry and inviting all to participate. Many are hopeful that this recent emergence of Black-led wine brands is an indicator that more opportunities for BIPOC across the sector are on the horizon.
Theodora Lee, owner and winemaker for Theopolis Vineyards, has witnessed this change and says that, “When I joined the AAA Vintners as a Charter Member in 2006, we only had a handful of , AAAV boasts more than 100 members, representing growers, vineyards, sommeliers, and vineyard managers.”