We were at the Association of African American Vintners’ 20th anniversary celebration in Oakland, Napa and Sonoma. Twenty years ago, three vintners – Edward Lee “Mac” McDonald, Vance Sharp and Dr. Ernest Bates – came together as the first members of an audacious undertaking, an association of Black winemakers. Audacious because at the time, Black faces were rare throughout the global wine industry. Although the number of Black people in the wine world is growing, from vineyard workers to those who make it and who sell it, of the more than 11,000 wineries in the U.S., fewer than one percent are owned by Black people or have a Black winemaker.
- This is the time of year for columns about holiday wine, but most of them are about the liquid inside the bottle. It’s also a good moment to step back and give thanks to those who make wine something bigger, something more important than an alcoholic beverage.
- "When you don’t see anyone that looks like you doing something you might be interested in doing, then one tends to think that it’s not for you." -André Hueston Mack