2024 Black History Month Wine – Speak & Sip!

Walking in Excellence

Nubian Voices, an established Toastmasters International club here in Las Vegas, decided to wrap up this year’s Black History Month with a wine tasting. The wine tasting was singular because all of the wineries are black-owned. 

For most of us who were raised in traditional black neighborhoods, wine was not a part of the culture. At least, not wine made with grapes. My grandmother, for instance (may she RIP), made lots of fruit wine, usually apple or pear. Lots of pear! She would occasionally make apricot wine which was my favorite. And no, I wasn’t 21 when I was allowed to partake. These wines were part of the meal, just like in Europe. Honestly, I could write a dissertation on the history of brewed/fermented alcoholic beverages and their place in human history.

Making Pear Wine

FYI, Black History Month is a peculiarly American event. It celebrates the contributions of those of African heritage in the building of America and the historical evolution to the present day. It came about due to the contributions of black citizens that were largely ignored, and those historical figures who helped to build the fabric of the United States.

There were snacks, traditional dishes, and sweet tea. And, of course, the wines. Let’s take a look.

Mary J. Blige – Sun Goddess Prosecco

Mary J. Blige is not the winemaker, but she worked in concert with winemaker Marco Fantinel of Fantinel Winery in Fruili, Italy. She’s the inspiration for this approachable and delicious Prosecco. Find more information at the Sun Goddess Wines website.

Who knew that one of her life passions is wine! This gentle Prosecco is fruity, and on the nose and palate has notes of apples, pears, and peach. Sun Goddess is an ideal pairing for all types of seafood and pasta. And, by the way, the name Sun Goddess was her mom’s nickname for her!

McBride Sisters – Sparkling Brut Rosé

This one was my favorite of the evening, by the way. Because I didn’t know the wines that would be tasted, I’ve since learned that this is a 92-point Wine Spectator recipient. The sisters, Robin McBride and Andréa McBride John were raised all over the world and became familiar with the international “wine countries,” including New Zealand and Monterey, California. Their winery is the largest black-owned and woman-founded winery in the US. Their second label, “Black Girl Magic,” is very popular and enjoyed by all.

This wine has the characteristics I love most about quality Rosés such as a nose and palate of roses, strawberries, cranberry, and a touch of watermelon. Delish! Check out the McBride Sisters here. And while you’re there, check out the other labels, including Black Girl Magic.

Marcus Johnson – Flo Cabernet Sauvignon

This was the first red and fairly lightweight by Cabernet Sauvignon standards, it was very approachable and a great Cabernet for new or hesitant red wine drinkers.

Cabernet is the classic wine for pairing with red meat, such as prime rib or filet mignon. This particular Cab would be great with burgers, lamb, and even chocolate!

Marcus Johnson is a jazz musician and founder of Flo Wine. His Sips & Sounds tasting experiences strive to go “Behind the Apron” with collaborations highlighting diverse catering companies or chefs. See his story at Flo Wine.

Brown Estate – House of Brown Red Blend

This is a light-bodied red wine, and I knew immediately that it was a blend. It was surprisingly complex, with aromas of pomegranate and cherry, along with a bit of cinnamon, clove, and lavender. Maybe this is the wine I should have chosen to pair with Dune: Part Two! FYI, The House of Brown Rosé is one of my favorites!

House of Brown is the “second label” of Brown Estate wines. The costs are affordable, and the wine is good! It would pair well with beef, lamb, or pork. Normally, I’d recommend Pinot Noir with pork, but I think this wine would be a great match.

Brown Estate was founded in 1995 by siblings Deneen, David, and Coral Brown. It is Napa Valley’s first Black-owned estate winery. Their parents had purchased the property in the 1980s, so the land was already in the family. That’s rare, whether the owners are black or not!

House of Brown Red

It’s important to know that Brown Estate Wines is a highly respected label in Napa. The wine is exquisite, pricey, and worth it. As an aside, their Howell Mountain Zin is off the chain. It’s $65, but anything from Howell Mountain is the nectar of the gods, anyway. Be sure to check out both the Brown Estate and the House of Brown websites for more information.

House of Mandela – Thembu Collection Shiraz

If the name sounds familiar, it should! The founders of the House of Mandela are the daughter and granddaughter of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), whose story is legend.

South African Braai

The Shiraz has a vibrant nose of fresh dark berries, spice, dark fruit, and Africa. The last descriptor is hard to define, but in the wine world, it’s known as “terroir,” or the place where the wine is grown. People are often amazed at how sommeliers and other wine experts can taste a wine and tell you what it is and where it’s from. What it is is called typicity. Where it’s from is called terroir. This wine would be wonderful with summer barbeque. In Africa, it’s called Braai. In the photo, the sausage is called Boerewors, which is made up of minced beef, lamb, goat, and sometimes game such as Springbok or Oryx. South African BBQ is ALWAYS cooked over “real” fire, never gas!

John Legend – Signature LVE Chardonnay

We already know that John Legend is a creative person, with music, acting, directing, and now winemaking under his belt. He’s actually working in collaboration with Raymond Vineyards – a high-end winery in Napa – for many of his wines, with his Rosé from the south of France being the exception.

The Chardonnay has good typicity. In other words, anybody would know that this is a Chardonnay! It has notes of green apple, white fruit (as in white nectarine), honeydew, and vanilla. This would be a stellar pairing with any seafood, chicken, veggie dishes, and creamy pasta dishes. 

Nearly every wine label has a “second” label as mentioned above or in the videos. This is no exception. The first label is Chardonnay from Carneros and is sold for $65.00 on the website and both online and brick & mortar vendors. It has a 91-point rating from James Suckling. Our less expensive Chardonnay here, is $14.95 at Total Wine, and earned a 91 point rating from Beverage Dynamics with the main difference being the style and method of winemaking.

There’s a ton more information on the John Legend LVE website.

So There’s More?

First of all, it wasn’t until very recently that I learned that Brown was a black-owned winery. Even the snootiest of my own wine friends never mentioned it. To be honest, I don’t think they knew. Or cared. It’s a good, high-end wine, and that’s all anybody cares about!

There are organizations in support of black winemakers and wineries. They include Black Wine Movement, Harlem Wine Gallery, and Association of African American Vintners.  All of these organizations have lists of black-owned wineries, and as I said above, I didn’t even know they black owned. 

And a Few Articles

Wine & Spirits 

The Press Democrat

Visit California – Get to Know the Many Black-Owned Wineries in California

Cuisine Noir



Thanks once again to Nubian Voices for a fun meeting! 


Vegas Wineaux
Vegas Wineauxhttp://vegaswineaux.com
Life now, especially after leaving the day job, is even crazier! I hope that you continue to follow and enjoy the wine and Vegas news!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Vegas Weather

Las Vegas
clear sky
83.9 ° F
86.7 °
82.1 °
17 %
0 %
97 °
97 °
96 °
100 °
102 °

Must Read

Grapes & Grains – Paso’s Newest “Bank”

It has possibly the largest selection of wines, beers, and spirits I've seen anywhere. I think it has as many wines as my favorite winery, Albertson's.


- Advertisment -