An Easy Way to Find and Experience Wines Made by Women & BIPOC Winemakers & Owners: My Review of The Wine Concierge
I easily taste over 750 wines a year either at home or at wine tastings.
And if you asked me how many of the wines I tasted last year were made by women or BIPOC winemakers and owners, I couldn’t even begin to venture an informed guess.
In the U.S. alone there are over 11,000 wineries.
Using quick, back-of-the-envelope math assuming each of these wineries produces a minimum of 10 unique wines, that’s a whopping 111,000 bottles of wine produced a year to choose from – and that’s just wine made in the U.S.
So, it comes as no surprise that for consumers interested in finding and experiencing wines made by women and BIPOC winemakers and owners, it might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack – even “with” Google’s help.
The Growing Trend of Wine Specialization
The universe of women and BIPOC winemakers and owners is small as a proportion of the overall wine industry.
For consumers wanting to champion these underdogs of the wine world, there are growing and emerging options.
This follows a larger trend of increasing wine specialization that is giving consumers more options to experience wine through the lens of their choice.
For example, there are wine upstarts that allow you to sample wines made exclusively in Burgundy (France), or wines made exclusively by independent winemakers or even vegan-only wines (which are likely also made by practicing-vegans).
Sampling wine made by women and BIPOC winemakers and owners is yet another lens through which to approach wine that follows a growing wine-specialization trend that is providing consumers with more choices and a wider range of wine experiences.
Enter The Wine Concierge (TWC), the “Hidden Figures” of wine made by women and BIPOC winemakers and owners.
According to TWC owner and Chief Discovery Officer, Leslie Frelow, “We want to tell The Wine Concierge’s winemakers and vineyard owner’s stories. Voices that are sometimes overlooked or not heard.”
TWC is Frelow’s second wine venture that follows the success of her long-running company, Vino 301 Wine Concierge, which provides wine tours and tastings of Maryland wineries.
TWC makes a donation to support The Black Winemakers Scholarship Fund with every purchase.
When looking through the wines available through TWC’s website, I was pleasantly surprised I’d actually tried wines made by women and BIPOC owners without even knowing it.
For example, I’d visited Babylonstoren Winery in South Africa and never knew this major estate was owned by a woman, Karen Roos.
Nor, did I know that the French rosé, La Fête du Rosé, is owned by African-American owner, Donae Burston.
Just browsing the wines available through TWC’s website provides you with quite an education.
TWC currently provides two options to access wines made by women and BIPOC winemakers and owners.
The first option is that you can simply visit their website and order the individual wines you want.
The second option is that you can join TWC’s wine club and receive shipments of 3, 6, or 12 bottles at monthly or quarterly intervals.
TWC also offers a premium-wine club tier for accessing even higher-tiered wines.
Getting down to the nitty gritty, the thing that matters most to me is the wine.
TWC sent me three wines to sample.
The first wine was a chardonnay from Maison Noir owned by African-American sommelier, winemaker and author, André Mack.
The second wine was a riesling from Januik Winery owned by Carolyn Januik.
And the third wine was a cabernet sauvignon from Charles Woodson’s Intercept, a winery founded and owned by 18-year NFL player and vintner, Charles Woodson.
Here are the wines I sampled and links to in-depth reviews of each wine:
- Maison Noir, Knock on Wood Chardonnay 2018, Willamette Valley, Oregon (Wine Casual, 91 Points)
- Januik, Bacchus Vineyard Riesling 2016, Columbia Valley, Washington (Wine Casual, 91 Points)
- Charles Woodson’s Intercept, Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Paso Robles, California (Wine Casual, 91 Points)
Well, you can tell from the links to my wine reviews above I enjoyed the wines.
I’ve been wanting to try André Mack’s wines for a while now, so trying his chardonnay was a special treat.
Being able to approach wine through the lens of contributions made by women and BIPOC winemakers and owners was a welcome education.
First, it gave me confidence to further explore wine brands I’d already been keen on but never knew the ownership or winemaker status of.
And second, it made me curious to go further down the rabbit hole to seek out more wines made by women and BIPOC winemakers and owners.
Whenever I bring focus to my winetasting, I typically discover themes I would have been unable to discover had I not had that focus whether it’s comparing cabernet franc made in the old world or new world, or evaluating wine made organically or biodynamically.
The Wine Concierge provides an easy way to put discovery of wines made by women and BIPOC winemakers on cruise control and for you to drink in the contributions of these communities.
And by bringing the contributions of these communities in focus, there is a larger opportunity to grow the market demand for these wines in the long-term which would help create more long-lasting opportunities for women and people of color in the wine industry.