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Black women vintners changing the wine game

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Indianapolis wine lovers have plenty of options when it comes to finding the perfect wine as the list of local wineries continues to grow.

However, Sip and Share Winery and Wine and Candles differ from other wineries. They’re the only two owned by Black women.

 From private tastings to winery

A wine lover for years, Nicole Kearney began her business in 2016 by sharing other wines for private tastings. However, she always made her own sangria, which she bottled in mason jars. Eventually Kearney ditched the mason jars for more traditional wine bottles and became a licensed winery.

“In February we got our license, a federal permit, and we started producing wine …  we’ve introduced about seven different varietals of wine … In May we introduced blood orange sangria that’s a hit.”

This month Sip and Share introduced a limited edition red moscato and white zinfandel. The zinfandel was special made for the Essence Festival where Kearney was invited to pour at two different events —a major coup for a new winery.

“Typically, I just make several cases of a wine,” Kearney said. “We just produce it and kind of see what the feedback is. Basically, how it sells that kind of determines for us whether we’ll make it again.

“Our goal is we will have two different sets of wine so we’ll have two collections a year. Right now is spring/summer and then in fall at Open Bite Night again which is Oct. 6 we will release our fall/winter wines, which is a lot of deep reds.”

 Father knows best

Carmen Randolph made her entrance into the world of winemaking because she wanted to make a gift for her father, Ronnie B. An avid wine drinker, who loved to mix and match to concoct his own eclectic adult beverages, Randolph’s father inspired her to try her hand at creating a wine just for him. She admits, it wasn’t her best work and her dad drank it out of love. Her collection is named Ron B. Legendary after her father.

“‘Cause you made it for me I’ll drink it,’ he said,” Randolph recalls her father telling her. “You could be a great winemaker. You just need to go back to the drawing board.”

After her father died in 2009, Randolph’s husband bought her a winemaking kit and back to the drawing board she went.

“I really started being serious about it,” she added. Randolph also makes soy candles. “I wanted to make something that I thought he would be really proud of … As I started thinking about what I wanted to do, I wanted to kind of put a new spin on an old product. My dad was, like I said, a creator in his own right. He liked fruit tasting wines. He didn’t like wines the way they tasted. He liked to do his own.”

Randolph’s wines are fruity — most are grape based with notes of a fruit such as apple or peach.

Educating consumers

While both women enjoy making and sharing their wines, they love educating consumers on wine etiquette, different wine varieties and the winemaking process.

“Wines get their name from the percentage of grapes that they are,” Randolph said. “Most have to be over 80 percent of that grape.”

In her research, Kearney said she’s found about 100 Black and Latino winemakers throughout the country. The wine industry is ripe for more people of color to get into winemaking. Revenues from wine sales are $62.7 billion worldwide.

“Support black wine makers,” Kearney said. “We want to do what Jay-Z has done with D’Ussé and his Ace of Spades wine.”

Contact editor Oseye Boyd at 317-762-7850. Follow her on Twitter @oseye_boyd

More than moscato

These Black-owned wineries offer several varieties of wine.

Sip and Share Winery

Nicole Kearney





Wine and Candles

Carmen Randolph





Wine down

Wine lovers have plenty of local options to find their perfect bottle of wine. Below are several wineries located within the Indianapolis area.

Buck Creek Winery

11747 Indiana Creek Road South




Chateau De Pique Winery

1505, 6725 E. 82nd St.




Chateau Thomas Winery

6921 Cambridge Way, Plainfield




Country Moon Winery

16222 Prairie Baptist Road,





Daniel’s Vineyard

9061 N. Carroll Road





Easley Winery

205 N. College Ave.




Harmony Winery

7350 Village Square Lane,





Hopwood Cellars Winery

12 E. Cedar St., Zionsville




Peace Water Winery

747 N. College Ave.




Traders Point Winery

5520 W. 84th St.




Urban Vines Winery & Brewery

303 E. 161st St., Westfield



Wine and Candles owner Carmen Randolph made her first batch of wine as a gift to her father. Now, as a tribute to her father, she named her wine collection Ron B. Legendary. (Photo/submitted)

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