Only 1% of all wine companies are ‘black-owned wine companies’ and New Orleans native Kim Lewis just joined the exclusive bunch after the launch of her own company, Ole Orleans Wines, in April of 2019.
Created as a “tribute to historic New Orleans”, Ole’ Orleans offers up high-quality, hand-crafted wines made with both French and Spanish heritage in mind.
While the taste is one that embodies elegance and worldly sophistication, it was something that happened close to home that sparked Kim’s need for a fresh start.
In the interview with Travel Noire, she expressed that it was the dissolution of her marriage and already-running healthcare businesses that pushed her toward something new:
“After my divorce, I just wanted to start fresh. I knew that I wanted to shut down my healthcare businesses and create something just for me that I could build for my children.”
While Lewis admits that she was only going off of her own knowledge of what “good wine tastes like,” she surely handled the business side of things like a true expert.
She conducted research, hired a consultant, endured and overcame a few rejections, and developed a plan that would ultimately leave her with a $20,000 budget and strong determination to make her vision come to life. And that’s exactly what she did.
With a Presco, Merlot, and Moscato on the way, Ole’ Orleans already has two white wine blends under their belt: Ole Carrollton and La Villiage des Chapitoulas Tchoupitoulas. Lewis’ goal is to produce 12 unique beverages in the coming years, but most importantly—give us a little taste of New Orleans.
2 more black-owned wine companies you can support right now
It was 2010 when winery owner Dawna Darjean Jones first sourced grapes to produce her very own Merlot in Napa Valley with hopes of spreading a little “joie de vivre” or joy of living to her fellow wine lovers.
She’s been doing just that for the last 10 years with the winery’s signature Merlot, award-winning Cabernet Franc, delectable Chardonnay, vivacious Viognier and splashy Rosés that may leave you begging for another glass.
From Jenny’s Instagram:
I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself for those that are new here. I’m Jennifer McDonald – Founder, CEO, and Winemaker at Jenny Dawn Cellars.
We are an urban boutique winery located in Downtown, Wichita, Kansas. As an African American Winemaker, first level Sommelier, Entrepreneur and CEO I see a lack of diversity and inclusion in the wine industry.
I am the first African American commercial winemaker in the State of Kansas. My goal is to inspire other young, black and talented individuals to choose a career in agriculture and winemaking.
I find this field highly interesting, engaging, and rewarding. Studying the history of wine is fascinating. Making award-winning wines that people thoroughly enjoy is exhilarating.
For years, when local African Americans went to wine retailers, they couldn’t purchase wine from anyone who looked like them. Now they can. That’s impactful and meaningful.
I started making wine at home using kits around 5 years ago while working full-time in HR for some of Wichita’s largest employers.
Eventually, I hit that glass ceiling. When my homemade wines started winning awards at various competitions, I decided I could make a business out of this hobby.
I went back to school and got my master’s degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University where I studied the factors that influence consumer wine preferences.
I then worked to build my brand for several years with a wine facilitator in Napa and eventually opened my winery and tasting room at the historic Wichita Union Station in November of 2019.
I handcraft premium, fruit-forward, aromatic wines that have great structure and a delicious taste.
Jenny Dawn Cellars is inspired by the wildflowers on the Kansas countryside, inviting you to open up, enjoy the breeze, and show your colors to the world.
Just like a flower, when Jenny Dawn Cellars wine is shared with someone special, it needs no further explanation – it’s a feeling that is simply understood.
Jenny Dawn Cellars ships their wine to 38 states!
Who are your favorite black-owned wine companies to support? Link them below!
Oh and read this post as well.