Yesha Callahan

5 Black-Owned California Wineries to Visit Instead of the Wine Train

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Over the weekend, 11 women—10 Black, one white—were kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train after a customer complained the book club members were too loud. According to one of the women involved, the ladies were paraded through the train into the care of four waiting cops, causing the group to feel humiliated.

Despite the Napa Valley Wine Train debacle, Black people love vino, too. What many don’t know, however, is we also produce it.

From the vineyards in South Africa, to those across the U.S., Black owned wineries are waiting for you to visit.

So here are 5 Black-owned California Wineries to give your hard-earned money to instead of the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Rideau Vineyard

Iris Rideau

Founded in 1997 by Iris Rideau, Rideau Vineyard boasts 16 acres of land which it uses to produce its award-winning Pinot Noir. Located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, Rideau Vineyard’s tasting room is open to the public.

Shop online or schedule a visit on the Rideau Vineyard website. 

Brown Estate

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Founded 35 years ago on a “ghost estate” in Napa Valley, Brown Estate began by selling grapes to other wineries. In 1995, the family run business began producing its own label. Next year, the vineyard will roll out its 20th vintage of Brown Estate zinfandel, that can be tasted right on site at its beautiful winery.

Bonus? The owners of Brown Estate have already reached out to the women booted from the Wine Train to set up a private visit to their gorgeous property.

Shop online or schedule a visit on Brown Estate’s website.

Esterlina Vineyards

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Owned and operated by the Sterling Brothers, Esterlina Vineyards specializes in handcrafted wines in three different varieties. Esterlina also owns the only vineyard in the Cole Ranch Appellation, which is America’s smallest American Viticultural Area.

Shop online or schedule a visit on the Esterlina Vineyards website.

L’objet noir

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Owned by Dan Glover, L’objet noir translates to “the black object.” Glover describes his award-winning Pinot Noir like this: “This wine represents the complete absorption of all that is light in my world… my love of food, wine, family and friends, my experiences in the vineyards and cellars, my fascination with the Pinot Noir grapes that grow and thrive in the Russian River Valley… and the transformation of these energies into the inky dark loveliness that is my wine.”

Shop online at the L’objet noir website

Everett Ridge Winery

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Owned and operated by the Sterling Brothers (who also own Esterlina Vineyards), Everett Ridge Winery is the second oldest winery in Dry Creek Valley, dating back to 1878. The winery specializes in Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay varieties of wine, and the tasting room is open daily.

Shop online or schedule a visit at the Everett Ridge Winery website.

Want to know about even more Black-owned wineries? Check out this list by Tuanni Price, owner of Zuri Wine Tasting .  

  1. August 24, 2015 - Reply

    By all means enjoy yourselves at these wineries but they can’t compete with the NVWT. Works for the thousands of us who will continue to give our business to NVWT to enjoy a quiet and relaxing meal and the scenery. Thanks for the free advertising of our favorite local business!

    • August 24, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      Ha! NVWT is mediocre at best.

      • August 25, 2015 - Reply

        @LorMarie

        Absolutely. I work in the wine industry, and we don’t recommend the NVWT to anyone. It’s a subpar tasting experience, and it’s definitely not for anyone who is looking to get more seriously into wine and wine tasting. And that’s all without respect to their reprehensible actions here.

        • August 25, 2015 - Reply

          @pope_suburban

          Thanks for sharing, you won’t be missed.

          • August 25, 2015 - Reply

            @6disqncali

            The way you managed to miss the point was breathtaking. There’s nothing to miss because we aren’t sending business your way. We’re not sending business your way because you’re a bad outfit, a fact that is stunningly underscored by the revolting comments you’ve made here. This is not how one runs a business, unless of course you’re aiming for “into the ground.” No one here wants your Sutter Home, so please, go back to it and take your comments with you.

        • August 25, 2015 - Reply

          @pope_suburban

          Maybe I missed something.

          I’m glad to see these businesses highlighted, but how was the wine train’s action “reprehensible”? You’d have to be pretty raucous and loud to get kicked off. And usually proprieters give people at least one warning.

          • August 25, 2015 - Reply

            @Jean

            I am sure you miss a LOT-lol.

          • August 27, 2015 - Reply

            @Jean

            The CEO referred to their handling of the incident as “100% wrong,” which was in the link that was mysteriously deleted. In the company’s own words, they behaved horribly.

    • August 24, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      lol “free advertising”–you mean the free advertising for these fantastic wineries listed here by Clutch, or all the bad press Napa Wine Valley has received in one day alone? Reviewers on Yelp (including many Whites) have stated they have either cancelled their reservations or will never set foot on that train, is that the free ads you are referring to? And btw, abbreviating the name won’t alleviate any of that “free advertising”, from now on any Google search will bring up this incident.

      So enjoy your ride on the Jim Crow train; maybe it will take you on a nice tour back to the 1950’s and you and the rest of your hateful friends can stay there. The rest of us will continue to live in this century and continue to enjoy our lives. Which brings us back to this article– these wineries featured here look great, it was a great idea for a BLACK OWNED MEDIA OUTLET to look out for their own like this.

    • August 24, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      You think you sound different from an Alabama hillbilly, but I can’t tell the difference.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      It’s not always true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

      • August 25, 2015 - Reply

        @Enfant Terrible

        It is in this case lol.

        • August 25, 2015 - Reply

          @6disqncali

          Indeed! I’m pretty sure the CEO of the NVWT said thanks for the free publicity as he apologized to the women.

          It’s quite comical to watch you troll a thread about black winery’s–in light of this incident–while exclaiming how happy you are to have the NVWT all to your white self–Hilar!!! The irony in that is just too darn funny.

          Your white insecurity is so glaring, but oh so delightful.

          • August 26, 2015 - Reply

            @Guest

            Whatever you say Fo’Landra
            LOL

            • August 26, 2015 - Reply

              @6disqncali

              BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

              Same to you Clea’Tus

              LOL

              Keep these lame white responses coming.

          • August 27, 2015 - Reply

            @Guest

            He knows how to play the game, the apology and anything else that comes his way. They already are getting more business.

            They so badly wanted to be accepted by the whites, now look at them, crying and stressed out. All they had to do is keep the volume down and they couldn’t even do that Pathetic.

            • August 27, 2015 - Reply

              @6disqncali

              “He knows how to play the game, the apology and anything else that comes his way. “–Of course he does, is that why he lamented over the fact that this scandal was painting the NVWT as something that they’re not in the national media!? Can’t understand why his “apology” fell on death ear.

              “They already are getting more business.”–Racist supporting other racist?!?!–I’m shocked!!! But guess what? That’s actually really good to hear, since the women do have the option to sue. That false statement posted on the NVWT facebook page–which he apologized for the libel–was erased, because they admidtely lied.

              So you and your kinfolks have my personal blessing to go ahead and help the NVWT rake in all the money that they can get, ’cause they might actually need it. Don’t be surprise if a lawsuit comes their way. I personally can’t wait, so happy toasting and drinking.

              “They so badly wanted to be accepted by the whites, now look at them, crying and stressed out.”–BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Are you serious?!?! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Coming from a lame racist white person trolling a black blog–this by far is your most ironic comment. HILARIOUS!!!

              I mean, how sad must one be to so bladly want to impress the black folks here, that they’re so stressed out to the point of responding to the same comment TWICE?!? Add to the fact that you’ve been whining and crying all up and down this board for 2 DAYS!!! The irony in that is just too freaking rich. Again HILARIOUS!!!

              “All they had to do is keep the volume down and they couldn’t even do that Pathetic.”–Lol! And the laughter of irony continues. Sweetheart, what’s pathetic is your desperade need to mask your abysmal insecurity through flimsy boasting. It’s pathetic that you fail at even masking your own desparation, while calling out theirs. All you have to do is stop trolling here and you can’t even do that Pathetic.

              Please keep this coming, I am fully entertain by your level ignorance. It is simply amazing.

              • August 27, 2015 - Reply

                @Guest

                Dude not sweetheart. Hmmm who has posted a very lengthy post? You are so full of it your massive back side is about to explode! LOL LOL LOL LOL! You are confused and that’s no surprise. Can’t quit LOL over and over!!!!

                • August 27, 2015 - Reply

                  @6disqncali

                  “Dude not sweetheart.”–Sweetheart, it makes no bit a difference to me how you imbecile trolls identify.

                  “Hmmm who has posted a very lengthy post?”–A rhetorical question that, only a nit-wit would ask having no viable comeback.

                  ” You are so full of it your massive back side is about to explode!”–Are you sure that’s not your massive white matter? It’s quite clear that you are full of that and nothing else.

                  “LOL LOL LOL LOL!”–Your cornyness knows no bound. Hilarious!

                  “You are confused and that’s no surprise.”–I see my “confusion” has confused you–that’s no surprise. Again hilarious!

                  “Can’t quit LOL over and over!!!!”–And please don’t. Your retorts are pure genius.

                  Keep ’em coming, as I said before, there’s nothing more entertaining than watching a moron revel in his own stupidity.

                  • August 30, 2015 - Reply

                    @Guest

                    Disturbed people write lengthy replies, I know you don’t get it so I don’t mind explaining. Flattered you call me names, I knew I had you figured out, you like white men!!

                    • August 30, 2015 - Reply

                      @6disqncali

                      “Disturbed people write lengthy replies”–Disturbed white people troll a black blog for several days.

                      ” I know you don’t get it so I don’t mind explaining.”–I know you don’t get it, so that’s why you keep coming back.

                      “Flattered you call me names”–Weak attempt at sarcasm. Try again.

                      “I knew I had you figured out, you like white men!!”–Yes you figured me all out, you like black women!!

                      Keep ’em coming sweetheart…

                      • August 30, 2015 - Reply

                        @Guest

                        You are typical. If I’m a troll then why do you keep replying? Mama beez teachin youz not lez anyones dizrezpects youz? So you bez on the nets lookin for trouble. LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        • August 31, 2015 - Reply

                          @6disqncali

                          “You are typical”–Says the typical troll. Hilar!

                          “If I’m a troll then why do you keep replying?”–Awww…how sad. Unlike you, I know why you keep replying to me.

                          “Jimbob bees obsessed with thees blacks foks hes not lessum talk beter bak ‘cus hes thees cheef in hes trailerpark.” LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

                          Just keep ’em coming. It just get better and better.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      Enjoy your Jim Crow train ride! Maybe it will take you back to the 1950’s and you can stay there.

      • August 25, 2015 - Reply

        @Vintage

        Thank you, we will. Every one of us 🙂

        • August 25, 2015 - Reply

          @6disqncali

          Don’t forget your cross burnings, you can use each other as firewood since you are all peckerwoods.

          🙂

          • August 25, 2015 - Reply

            @Vintage

            They can take their cousin-spouses with them.

            • August 25, 2015 - Reply

              @Libra_Lady

              Oh yea! Yum, it’s the best!

              • August 25, 2015 - Reply

                @6disqncali

                Say hi to your BrotherDaddy and your AuntGrandma.

                • August 25, 2015 - Reply

                  @Libra_Lady

                  Say hi to LaBuck’quee’sha.

                  • August 25, 2015 - Reply

                    @6disqncali

                    Must be a friend of yours.

            • August 25, 2015 - Reply

              @Libra_Lady

              Don’t you love how it’s pretending to have disposable income for a wine tour, when they and their cousin-spouses are still struggling to buy one set of teeth to share?

              • August 25, 2015 - Reply

                @Vintage

                !!!

              • August 25, 2015 - Reply

                @Vintage

                Does Boone’s Farm give tours?

                • August 25, 2015 - Reply

                  @Libra_Lady

                  LOL! Lady you know that’s too high-falutin’ for that crowd. What about a moonshine & snuff tour?

          • August 25, 2015 - Reply

            @Vintage

            Poor and in cest is the BEST! Yea baby. 🙂

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      “Thanks for the free advertising of our favorite local business!”–BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, the NVWT are getting some great advertisment these days.

      You white trolls are so freaking lame. Simply hilarious!!!!

    • August 26, 2015 - Reply

      @6disqncali

      Yeah but the more we patronize our own the more services they will be able to provide and the more wine they can produce. Sounds like we win twice.

  2. August 24, 2015 - Reply

    Next time I find myself in California I will definitely look up this article again for reference. I hope the ladies are able to salvage their trip.

  3. August 24, 2015 - Reply

    I enjoyed this article! Shedding light on Minority owned vineyards, something you don’t hear about everyday. A very lucrative business that can be beneficial for many generations to come.

  4. August 24, 2015 - Reply

    I wish for even more prosperity for all of these businesses. It is certainly great to learn about many black owned wineries. We are a diverse people and our gifts are multifaceted.

  5. August 24, 2015 - Reply

    Thanks for this Clutch! I will have to do some research on the Sterling Brothers as Sterling and Cole are the names of 2 families in a book series by Rochelle Alers. I wonder if she used them as an inspiration.

    • August 26, 2015 - Reply

      @Mico

      Oh yeah!! I forgot all about that! Maybe she did.

  6. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    Nice time! I’ll keep a weather eye open for these wines!

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @Enfant Terrible

      School first, comment second. LMAO.

  7. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    Great article, though I am still a newbie to wine, I will be keeping my eye out for these brands.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @binks

      Oh yes add this to your list of things to do when you summer in Cali, LMAO. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    Speaking as a grumpy old man who likes his wine now and again, and who has lived in the Napa-Sonoma area for a little over 15 years, let me just say – the Napa Valley Wine Train is, basically, the tourist trap you’d expect it to be. Nice enough if you’re interested in old trains, but overpriced and you’re not going to get a stellar offering of wines. If you’re taking a trip to California and want to check out great wines. there’s plenty of places to choose from in Napa, and plenty of great places to eat, too – and the combined a la carte price of both will probably be less than the Wine Train. If you’re interested in old California trains, take a sidetrip to the Mendocino/Fort Worth area and check out the Skunk Train, or the Felton/Santa Cruz area for the Roaring Camp Railroad. Or. if you’re in Sacramento, visit the railway museum.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @Trademark Dave

      Lol your recommendations are hilarious!! In particular Skunk Train and my #1 favorite is the Railway Museum in Sacramento, Ca.!! The Railway Museum is a ride of the Sacramento river LMAO.!

      • August 25, 2015 - Reply

        @6disqncali

        Way to be a dickhead.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @Trademark Dave

      You’re awesome. I’m so pleased with how the public has reached out to these women and offered them some great advice and expressed good opinions. Thank you for being a decent human being.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @Trademark Dave

      Thank you!!!!!

  9. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    Thank you for this article, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for these wines, and next time I’m in NorCal, I’ll look into visiting some of these wineries.

  10. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    This was a great idea to feature these wineries, Clutch. I never even considered Black owners of these types of businesses. I’m going to check if there are any here in NY state.

    • August 25, 2015 - Reply

      @Vintage

      I haven’t either, Vintage.

      • August 25, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Kinda gives me an idea for a media venture-ha! 🙂

        • August 25, 2015 - Reply

          @Vintage

          Persecution complex? Cali has lots of black owned businesses, u need to get out more.

  11. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    NOW THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKIN’ BOUT.

    I will look for the Pinot Noir and anybody who has a dry, mineral white!!

  12. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    I’m not a wine drinker, but I’m thrilled to see there are Black-owed wineries!

  13. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    Thanks for putting this together.

  14. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    When I heard the overreaction of the crusty white frumps on the Napa Whine Train, I was reminded of Maya Angelou’s lines:
    “Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom?
    ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.”

  15. August 25, 2015 - Reply

    ‘Peeeeeenooooooo (Pinot) Noooooirrrre!!!’

  16. August 26, 2015 - Reply

    Ride the wine train, only if you are old and white. Don’t be stressed by those Pesky minorities.

  17. August 26, 2015 - Reply

    Makes sense… support businesses that support you. Right?

  18. August 26, 2015 - Reply

    Now if these fine wine makers would get Kosher Certification on their vintages they’d be able to tap into a multi- BILLION dollar Kosher wine market.

  19. August 26, 2015 - Reply

    What a great article. Maybe people can find more black owned businesses in the black chamber of commerce directory or possibly on the black entertainment network. Maybe there is some helpful advertizing during the black Miss America pageant as well. It’s a shame they just missed the Black Expo in Oakland on July 25th. It’s not that far from Napa. Let’s face it, you probably never hear of the white versions of these because they are probably hiding the fact that they are all obviously racist. Power to the people.

  20. August 27, 2015 - Reply

    I have heard of the Esterlina Vineyards but was not familiar with the others. Thank you for sharing this information.

  21. August 27, 2015 - Reply

    “The enemy is fear.
    We think it is hate;
    but, it is fear.” Gandhi

  22. September 16, 2015 - Reply

    Hey there! Just an FYI for everyone. I love this article and know Dave Brown and his wines. I just read an article stating that the Wine Train was sold to new owners. Please be mindful that if a boycott is put in place, the people that are the target of said boycott will not be affected by the boycott. It wouldn’t be fair to boycott new owners who are innocent of the actions that spawned this boycott effort…

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