Black Women in Wine to Know
Winesisterhood wants to connect you to 8 black women who are shaping the future of wine and redefining the industry. These women have created opportunities in underrepresented spaces, with entrepreneurial endeavors, social platforms, activism and by stepping into the spotlight. We celebrate these black women trailblazers who are challenging the status quo. Winesisterhood encourages their endeavors with hope to continue to see them and others thrive.
Tahiirah Habibi is the founder and CEO of The Hue Society, “a trailblazing organization increasing Black, brown, and Indigenous representation and access in the wine industry”. The sommelier is empowering the Black community through wine and has made it part of her mission to make wine inclusive. Currently, she is one of the most celebrated female sommeliers in the United States and is the first Black Woman on the cover of Wine Enthusiast. She co-founded The Roots Fund in 2020 to help the community with financial support with scholarships and mentorship and she is also the CEO of Sipping Socials Wine Consulting, creating wine programs, personal cellars and elevating wine drinking experiences. Visit The Hue Society’s Linktree to find out ways to get involved!
Ntsiki Biyela is founder of Aslina Wines and one of South Africa’s most iconic winemakers. Alina has been creating great bottles of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. In 2018, Aslina Wines Umsasane won a gold medal at the Michaelangelo International Wine and Spirits awards. The Umsasane wine is named after Biyela’s beloved grandmother. Her nickname was Umsasane, which means Acacia Tree which provides shelter in the Zulu language. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot and has a bold structure, smoothness and complexity, all of which honour the characteristics of Aslina, the matriarch of Ntsiki’s family. Ntsiki Biyela is on a beautiful journey while breaking industry stereotypes with her devotion to authenticity.
Tonya Pitts is an impassion and individualized force in wine. With over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Pitts is currently wine director of One Market in San Francisco, where she manages a list of around 500 labels. She uses her position as a platform and knows how important it is to help others and bring diversity to the industry through recognition and encouragement. She has long supported female, Black and Latino winemakers, and is an enthusiastic mentor, advocate and ambassador for women, BIPOC and LGBTQ within the hospitality sector. Pitts has partnered with organizations like Wine Unify, which encourages young people of color interested in the wine industry with programs focused on funding, mentoring and education. She treats ‘Everyone the Same with Dignity and Respect’ and welcomes all to the table.
Erica Davis and Catherine Carter
Oakland-raised entrepreneurs Erica Davis and Catherine Carter are reimagining the wine experience with The Sip, a subscription service where members receive a gift box containing 3 small bottles of sparkling wine every 2 months, including educational materials and a wine-related gift. “The way the wine industry was marketing didn’t work for us,” Davis reported in an online interview. “So we decided to create a space where people could decide what sparkling wine they liked without committing to purchasing a whole bottle of wine.” Carter defines their philosophy as: “(We) are shaking up the wine industry by making luxury beverages approachable and empowering people to find their flavor without breaking the bank. The philosophy is not to find a seat at the table, but rather build our own table and invite those underrepresented in the wine industry to sit, and Sip!“
Chrishon Lampley is the first Black woman in Midwest to have a national wine brand. With Love Cork Screw, Lamply is also one of the less than 1% of wine industry négociants, vineyard and wine owners who are Black females, (a négociant is a a wine merchant or wholesaler). Rising from the ashes of a storm that destroyed her Chicago art and wine bar, Lamply pivoted to her passion project and reinvent the wine industry to be a more inclusive and sustainable experience for all. Love Cork Screw has sold over 1 million bottles of wine and wine-scented candles and self-care products that are all ethically sourced. Lampley’s story is about community as well and she is passionate about using her platform to mentor budding entrepreneurs and pave the way for more opportunities for women of color in wine.
Shae Frichette co-founded the Frichette Winery with her husband Greg with a mission to grow their own grapes and create great wines. In following their dream, they sought out mentors, took classes, learned to ferment and created their own lane. Today, Frichette is a 2000 case winery hosting events for wine club members and guests from all over the world. Frichette is Washington State’s only Black female winery owner and is using her success and insight to empower and encourage more female and Black winemakers. When not in the winery, she is in the community serving on boards, mentoring, and volunteering with local non-profits. Frichette shares wine and wine education for more than twenty non-profits in the Tri-Cities area each year.
Aamira Garba is an award winning winemaker born and raised in Orange, NJ and is changing the wine industry in New Jersey. Her label LoveLee Wine is a certified Minority Owned wine brand specializing in all things wine & wine culture. Garba currently makes her wine at a custom facility in Napa and the LoveLee name is derived from her daughters’ names, Heaven Lee and Lyric Lee. Lovelee states that the brand’s hope is to inspire people to live a life of passion on purpose. Grab has collided with other community members on this list, having received a scholarship from The Roots Fund and being recognized at the the Wine & Culture Fest in Atlanta, run by The Hue Society, winning two big awards, Brand of the Year and the Innovator/Who’s Got Next award.