The wine world is becoming a little more inclusive
3 Parks Wine Shop
“Wine is a big business, and it’s really sad that it was never marketed to the Black community,” says Sarah Pierre, the first Black woman to own a wine shop in Atlanta. At 3 Parks, the bottles on her shelves emphasize the growing influence of not only low-intervention producers but also vintners who are women and people of color. “The last two years can attest to what Black dollars in the wine community can do, because you see brands blowing up,” she explains. “It’s incredible to see what happens when you just let someone in.”
Graft Wine Shop
Charleston, South Carolina
Femi Oyediran and Miles White initially bonded over music while working as restaurant busboys, and their playlists contribute to the vibe at their Charleston shop and wine bar as much as the 500-strong collection of bottles does. The duo, who shared Food & Wine’s Sommelier of the Year award in 2019, stress quality as well as community. “I think everyone that ever felt disenfranchised from the wine community has been finding a place or a voice in recent years,” Oyediran says. “I ’m hearing students say, ‘I want to become a winemaker.’ I’m meeting more Black customers that are very versed in wine. It just seems that the community has really grown.”
Husband-and-wife Master Sommeliers Chris Gaither and Rebecca Fineman stock unique and hard-to-find selections at their retail shop and restaurant in the historically working-class San Francisco neighborhood of Dogpatch. By working one-on-one with customers—including creating bespoke boxes for club members that pull from as many as 22 wine-producing countries—they are creating an inclusive community of wine lovers.
The Urban Grape
This isn’t your usual packie (that’s Bostonian for “liquor store”); The Urban Grape has been Beantown’s go-to wine shop for over a decade, and owners TJ and Hadley Douglas are seeking to improve the industry along the way. In 2020, they partnered with Boston University to launch The Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color, providing education, training, and mentorship for those interested in a career in wine. Program cohort Tatiana “June” Glenn says the award has opened doors for her: “It has granted me a future of opportunities that sheds light on how underrepresented the industry has been for someone who looks like me.”
Multihyphenate André Hueston Mack (sommelier-winemaker-restaurateur-designer) is used to standing out, as evidenced by one of his logos: a black sheep. Recently, he expanded his empire with VyneYard, a shop in Brooklyn that stocks bottles from low-intervention, family-owned estates, along with a robust under-$25 selection. Need extra help organizing your next party? The shop offers a Drop-off Wine Bar, complete with a selection of bottles, glasses, a chiller—and even an optional sommelier.