*Winemaking is a centuries-old profession originating in Old World France and yet, in 2021 little is still known about the rapidly increasing growth of diversity in the industry. With an estimated 80,000 wineries worldwide, the US is 4th in the world in wine production.
Often absent from the narrative are the independently run, Black-owned wineries with roots dating back as far as the early 1940s with John June Lewis, Sr. of Virginia. Serving as a vehicle to further increase awareness of the diversity in the wine industry, Urban Connoisseurs, in partnership with Uncorked & Cultured, are hosting the inaugural 2021 International Winemakers Summit (IWS), a virtual 3-day event highlighting some of the world’s most esteemed winemakers of African descent.
The 2021 International Winemakers Summit takes place February 19-21, 2021. Placing an emphasis on diversity, the sessions moderated by world-class Sommeliers, will feature 12 Black award-winning winemakers from around the world. The Sommeliers will cover topics such as Wine Trends; Terroir and The Difference; The Diverse Aromas and Flavors in Wine; and so much more, the 3-day summit will educate everyone from the novice to the connoisseur.
Featured winemakers across the African diaspora, include:
- Chris Christensen – Bodkin Wines (Sonoma, CA)
- Phil Long – Longevity Wines (Livermore Valley, CA)
- Theodora Lee – Theopolis Vineyards (Yorkville, CA)
- Marie-Inès Romelle – Marie Césaire Champagne (Champagne, FR)
- Raymond Smith – Indigené Cellars (Paso Robles, CA)
- Cheramie Law – Cheramie Wines (TX)
- James Moss – J Moss Wines (Napa Valley, CA)
- Tinashe Nyamudoka – Kumusha Wines (Breedekloof Valley, SA)
- Steve Byfield – Nyarai Cellars (Niagara, CN)
- Nicole Kearney – Sip and Share Wines (IN)
- Shae Frichette – Frichette Winery (Red Mountain, WA)
- Dan Glover – L’Objet Wines (Healdsburg, CA)
“I’m so excited to celebrate 12 Black winemakers, to honor them for their contributions in the wine industry and being the face of possibilities for the next generation of Black winemakers. There are over 10,000 wineries in the US. Winemakers of African descent represent less than 1% of this industry,” said IWS and The Black Winemakers Scholarship Fund founder, Marcia Jones. “With the increase of wine sales last year, I feel it’s time to celebrate Black professionals across all industries, and my goal for Black History Month and beyond is to encourage consumers to support Black winemakers.”
In addition to supporting winemakers of color, the International Winemakers Summit will host a virtual brunch with three award-winning chefs, Chef Jerome Brown, author of Carolina Soul, and competitor on Extreme Chef and the Food Network; Chef Sabrina Tinsley, co-owner of Osteria La Spiga and Iron Chef contender against Bobby Flay; and Ricky Simpson, Jr., chef to the Atlanta Hawks and 8th Place winner of the World Food Competition.
Throughout Black History Month, Urban Connoisseurs in partnership with Uncorked & Cultured are embarking on a “Buy Black Wine” campaign that involves the upcoming Urban Connoisseurs Wine Club offering members the opportunity to receive quarterly shipments of four varieties of wines from four different Black winemakers. In addition, Uncorked & Cultured will host weekly interview segments of wine industry professionals, distributors, wine shops, and wine reviews from winemakers of African descent. The multi-platform campaign will create experiences for consumers to understand the growing legacy of diverse winemakers, and resources for wine enthusiasts to be intentional in supporting the advancement of equity in the wine industry.
About Urban Connoisseurs
The mission of Urban Connoisseurs is to affect sustainable growth in the wine community by increasing the number of American winemakers of African descent in the US, create opportunities for the next generation to pursue various careers in the wine industry, and maintain brand and legacy for the Generation After Next.
About Uncorked & Cultured
Uncorked & Cultured is a media company that curates original content, e-commerce and experiences to consciously create a destination for consumers and brands that share the same ideals. With a mission to authentically and unapologetically connect Black consumers to wine, wellness, culture and adventure lifestyle.