Ntsiki Biyela, founder/owner of Aslina Wines. She is South Africa’s first black female winemaker Photo courtesy of www.aslinawines.com

By Janice Malone
Tribune Entertainment Editor

HOLLYWOOD, FL — The 2nd Annual International Women in Wine Celebration by Urban Connoisseurs took place (April 28, 2018) aboard the South Beach Lady Yacht in Hollywood, FL. The confab was the gathering of Black female vineyards owners from around the world.

Paula Harrell, owner of P.Harrell Wines Sonoma County, CA (www.pharellwines.com) was one of the many female vineyard owners at the 2nd Annual International Women in Wine Celebration by Urban Connoisseurs. Photo courtesy of Urban Connoisseurs

The evening was filled with lively jazz music, an exquisite cuisine six course meal from Chef Hugh Chef Irie Sinclair and Chef Jouvens Jean, and of course plenty of vino from the wineries of the featured vintner owners. Actress Sope Aluko, who starred as “the Shaman” in the blockbuster film Black Panther, was one of the VIP guest speakers among the 200-plus guests that featured event sponsors, wine vendors, sommeliers and wine enthusiasts. 

Marcia Jones, founder of Urban Connoisseurs Wine Group Photo by www.urbanconnoisseurs.com

Urban Connoisseurs is a marketing agency that supports Black owned wineries, vineyards and winemakers who produce fine wines.  The California-based company is owned by marketing expert Marcia Jones, who brings over twenty years of experience to the business. “We promote these wineries through orchestrating relationships with retailers and other businesses to sell their brands,” says Ms. Jones. “We tell the winemakers’ story.  Time and again, professionals in the wine industry have said wine sells when the buyer knows the story behind the grape,” adds Jones. Urban Connoisseurs has even established a scholarship fund in partnership with the UNCF, with the aim of supporting African Americans pursuing careers in the

l-r; Translator/consultant Lovely Wilfred and owner Marie-Inès Romelle CEO of Champagne Marie Césaire in Reims, France. Photo by Janice Malone

wine industry.  See their website  www.urbanconnoisseurs.com for more details.

Some of the vineyard owners present at 

this year’s Wine Celebration event were:

• Marie-Inès Romelle of Champagne Marie Césaire in France (https://marie-cesaire.com)

• Aslina Wines by Ntsiki Biyela from South Africa (http:aslinawines.co.za)

• Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards, Yorkville, CA (www.theopolisvineyards.com)

Shae Frichette, owner of Sashay Wines in Benton City, Washington, strikes a pose on the
upper deck of the beautiful South Beach Lady Yacht. Photo by Janice Malone

• Paula Harrell of P. Harrell Wines, Sonoma County, CA (https://pharrellwines.com)

All of the wine makers listed gladly accept mail orders. Visit their websites for more details. 

Next week, part two of this story will continue, as we meet the ladies who make the vino!