Abbey Creek Vineyard
> Location: North Plains, OR
> Owner: Bertony Faustin
> Sample wines: Pinot Noir Rosé, P.O.P. Ruby Port
Born in Brooklyn to Haitian-American parents, Bertony Faustin moved across America as a young man, intending to end up in California. A detour took him to Oregon, where he met the woman he would marry and settled down. He was working as an anesthesia technician at Oregon Health & Sciences University when his father died in 2007.
The event made him reevaluate what he wanted to do with his life. He wasn’t a drinker, of wine or anything else, but his wife’s family owned a few acres of land planted with grapes for tax purposes. He bought them and upgraded the vineyard, eventually expanding it, thinking that if the wine thing didn’t work out, he could always sell raisins. It did work out, and the self-taught Faustin has become an important figure in the Oregon wine scene.
Altopiano Vineyard & Winery
> Location: Escondido, CA
> Owner: Denise Clark
> Sample wines: Vermentino, Primitivo
Denise Clark fell in love with Italian wine on a trip to Tuscany in 2007. A few months after they’d returned home, she and her husband, Peter, had to flee their home in northern San Diego County as a wildfire approached. The blaze spared their house but destroyed their avocado grove. Instead of replanting, they decided to convert it to a vineyard.
Today, Denise is one of the few Black women making wine in the United States, producing a range of well-reviewed wines from Italian and French varietals – some of them silver medal-winners at the San Francisco Chronicle’s annual wine competition.
Charles Woodson’s Intercept
> Location: Paso Robles, CA
> Owner: Charles Woodson
> Sample wines: “Fumble” Cabernet Sauvignon, Limited Edition Hall of Fame Cabernet Sauvignon
Former Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson fell in love with wine at a Raiders training camp in the Napa Valley. In 2001, with the help of Robert Mondavi winemaker Rick Ruiz, he made his first barrel – a merlot – and in 2005, he launched the Napa Valley winery he called TwentyFour (his number with the Raiders), producing small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc at $85 a bottle.
After he retired from the NFL in 2015, he rethought his wine business and transitioned to a Central Coast operation called Intercept – presumably in reference to his 65 career interceptions. Today it produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay – and in 2019, he added Woodson’s Bourbon Whiskey to his portfolio.
> Location: Sonoma, CA
> Owner: Lloyd Davis
> Sample wines: Carneros Albariño, Sonoma Mountain Malbec
Working in the banking industry in New York City, Lloyd Davis became the financial advisor to a major wine retailer, and that ignited his passion for wine. In 2008, he left banking to take over Sam and Vicki Sebastiani’s financially troubled Viansa winery (the Sebastianis’ sons later reclaimed ownership).
In 2015, he opened his own operation, Corner 103, producing wines from all over Sonoma County and presenting them in a well-equipped visitors’ center on Sonoma Square.
Coronado Vineyards (Escaso Vinos, Conquistador)
> Location: Willcox, AZ
> Owner: Doajo Hicks & Roxanne Peterman Hicks
> Sample wines: Escaso Vinos Dry Riesling, Coronado Estate Sangiovese
The first modern commercial winery in Arizona – a state not usually thought of for its vinicological efforts – opened only in 1983. Today, there are more than 120 producers there, many turning out excellent wine.
On the Coronado website, the Hickses – two academics from St. George, Utah – describe themselves as “the only award-winning African & Native American family to own a vineyard in Arizona.” They’ve been in charge since early 2020, when they bought the 14-year-old operation from founders Mark and Jacque Cook.
Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor