We hardly hear stories of successful black women, but we do hear “It’s a man’s world. The truth is, we have had instances where women have risen and raised the bar and proven this saying wrong. We have been able to come up with a list of women who have broken into the wine market and have stood out creating a niche for themselves in the industry.
Theodora R. Lee (THEOPOLIS VINEYARDS)
Lawyer-turned-winemaker, Theodora R. Lee has almost twenty years of winemaking experience and expertise. She is the owner of Theopolis Vineyards. Lee, who is termed the “Theo-Patra of wines,” has earned respect and accolades throughout the winemaking industry as a low, yet superb winemaker who has dozens of awards for her yearly selections. Recently, her rosé Petite Sirah won third place in San Francisco’s International wine competition.
Founded in 2003, this Bay Area counselor relocated to San Francisco from Texas in 1987. Soon, she sipped her way into the local wine culture. Fresh from taking viticulture classes at UC Davis, in 2001, Lee bought land within the Yorkville Highlands of Anderson Valley within the green thumb region of Mendocino County. Like several of the wineries on this list, you’ll be able to join the vineyards wine club to urge first dibs on a beautiful selection of pinot noirs, petite syrahs, rosés, and symphony wines, which are currently sold out.
Ntsiki Biyela (ASLINA WINES)
After over a decade within the wine industry, the first woman winemaker in the Republic of South Africa, Ntsiki Biyela decided to alter on her own in 2016. Aslina Wines, a corporation named after her mother, has been creating great bottles of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blend. To affirm her brilliance and work, in 2018, Aslina Wines Umsasane won a laurel wreath at the Michelangelo’s International Wine and Spirits Awards.
MAKAZIE & TUKWINI MANDELA (House of Mandela)
A lifestyle, wine, and art company with wine being one amongst its main features. It holds a cherished name throughout the globe. Birthed by descendants of a nationalist leader. The House of Mandela wine collection uses grapes from the Cape region of the African country. The country contains a rich winemaking region that has been through some turmoil with the threat of drought, but the twist cap bottle wines are a mainstay.
CHRISHON LAMPLEY (Love Cork Screw)
Based in Chicago, Love Cork Screw is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur and wine enthusiast, Chrishon Lampley. Leveraging her successful run of a room noted more for its wine selection than its art, she convinced investors for start-up capital to launch her wine company.
Mixing her artistic skills with the masterful palette of vino, she brokered a deal to begin Love Cork Screw, which has been leading the pack since 2014.
LINDSEY WILLIAMS (Davidson Wine Co)
Owned by former corporate lawyer cum winemaker, Lindsey Williams, has shown an impressive list of over 35 varieties at Davidson Wine Company. By searching and sourcing grapes home and abroad, they produce a range of cabernets to pinotages and ports.
To help deal with the lack of diversity in winemakers, Williams partnered with Shayla Varnado of Black Girls Wine, a collective of women who love to indulge in wine and sisterhood. The social circle works to record meaningful events giving spaces to grow relationships and their appreciation for vino.
Here we have it, a few outstanding women who have individually or collectively made a name and identity for themselves in the wine industry.