After a long, hard day at the office (or working from home), nothing beats meeting up with your crew for a few drinks at your favorite local wine bar. From the laid-back ambiance and chic décor with the perfect playlist always in rotation to the friendly bartender who knows exactly what to pour based on your energy, a wine bar is a sacred institution that challenges your palate to become more sophisticated.
In the new NBC sitcom Grand Crew, which premieres January 4, six friends have found a place where they can let their hair down, crack jokes, and drink some damn-good fermented grape juice. What makes Grand Crew so special is that it makes wine — a beverage that has traditionally been associated with whiteness and wealth — a supporting character in Black culture.
Toward the end of the first episode, as the friends raise a toast and agree upon making “Cru” their new hang-out spot, Sherm (played by Carl Tart) proudly admits while sipping on a cabernet franc, “What? Maybe I read a couple books on wine. And LeBron drinks it, so wine is Black now.” What seemed like a moment of comedic relief is a declaration: Black people not only consume wine, but have been and continue to be contributors, trailblazers and change-makers within the industry.
While there is still change to take place, the number of Black sommeliers, writers, marketers, educators, winemakers, and business owners continues to grow at an encouraging rate. Grand Crew serves as a gentle reminder that we deserve to be in spaces where we can freely enjoy everything from malbec to Mourvèdre to moscato.
Here are 15 Black-owned wine bars and wineries from coast to coast that are worth rounding up the crew and sipping at:
1010 Wine and Events (Inglewood, CA) – Owned by sisters Leslie and LeAnn Jones, 1010 is first and only wine bar in Inglewood. In addition to a full menu, they also serve the largest selection of Black-owned wines in California.
Indigene Wine Cellars (Paso Robles, CA) – Founder Raymond Smith planted roots in California’s Central Coast over 30 years ago and has since created award-winning wines that aim to showcase the terroir (aka the soil that gives the wine a sense of place) in every bottle he makes.
Ungrafted (San Francisco, CA) – Advanced sommelier Christopher Gaither co-owns this restaurant and retail concept with his wife Rebecca Fineman, MS, where they teach classes and offer guests a variety of tasting flights.
Brown Downtown Napa (Napa Valley, CA) – Home to the only Black-owned vineyard in Valley, the Brown Estate tasting room offers two wine flights and a cheese board option at their downtown Napa location.
Sip Wine and Beer (Escondido, CA) – Owned by Casandra Schaeg, Sip Wine and Beer is a place that welcomes anyone looking to expand their knowledge about wine and beer.
Boutique Vino (San Diego, CA) – Certified sommelier Justus Benjamin owns this “locally famous” wine hangout that sources wines from small producers.
Juice @ 1340 (Chicago, IL) – Hospitality veterans Derrick Westbrook and Tim Williams serve as two of three co-owners of the bar and wine-shop concept in Chicago’s West Loop.
Bronzeville Winery (Chicago, IL) – Opening soon on Chicago’s Southside, this winery will be a combination of wine, culture and community – showcasing local cuisine that will be uniquely paired with craft cocktails, beer, and Black-owned wines.
Jenny Dawn Cellars (Wichita, KS) – As the only urban winery in all of Kansas, owner Jennifer McDonald crafts her wine and bottles on-location, with 14 handcrafted wines guests can choose from.
Davidson Wine Co. (Davidson, NC) – With grapes sourced from all over the world, Davidson Wine Co. is owned by Lindsey Williams, a lawyer turned winemaker who makes her own wines.
Graft Wine Shop (Charleston, SC) – Sommelier Femi Oyediran serves as co-owner of this bottle shop and bar with an assortment of wines and food pairings.
Footprint Wine Tap (Seattle, WA) – As Seattle’s first and only sustainable bar with wine on tap, owner Ken Dillon locally has curated a menu that includes wine and food sourced from the Pacific Northwest.
Ole Orleans Winery (New Orleans, LA) – New Orleans native Kim Lewis wanted to pay homage to her hometown and has been creating wines since 2018 that embody the joyous spirit of NOLA with every sip.
Trez Art & Wine Bar (Houston, TX) – With this unique concept, owner Shawntell McWilliams combined her love for education, the arts and philanthropy to create a space for guests to enjoy wines from boutique female-owned and Black-owned winemakers.
Pur Noire Urban Wineries (Houston, TX) – Husband and wife team Carissa and Kenneth Stephens turned their love for Italian wine and travel into a tasting experience for all who want to learn more about wines from all over the world.