6 Wonderful Black-Owned Wine Brands

I am an avid supporter of small businesses, as it has a huge impact on the local economy and often offers me an opportunity to try rare or interesting goods that may not be offered at larger companies. It is equally as important to support black-owned and minority businesses. In many cases, the profits of these businesses can have a positive influence in our communities, as well as many other benefits.

Some time ago, I read an article that presented a short list of black-owned wineries and wine brands. As an avid wine drinker, I was pleasantly surprised and intrigued by many of the brands listed. It was enlightening to see how these often small operations have made a big impact in their communities and in tandem made history. 

Fitting perfectly into "28 Days of Soul" here are 6 wonderful black-owned wine brands (located right here on the east coast) that  cater to a  variety of pallets and each offer unique experience. 

1. Flo Brand Wines (Washington, DC)

LO Brands’ mission is to enhance customers’ lives and make each day a little better one sip and sound at a time. Everything that the company creates is about improving that segment of [their] consumer’s life, especially when products are combined like music and wine. FLO Brands’ products include FLO CD series, FLO Wine, FLO Fest and more.

GT's Pick: Flo Moscato

 

2. Wisdom Oak (North Garden, VA )

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wisdom Oak once began as a hobby for founder/owner Jerry Bias. Formerly known as Sugarleaf Vineyards, Bias began with the planting of 375 vines in 2001. Almost fifteen years later, Wisdom Oak is still one of the only African-American owned and operated vineyards on the East Coast.

GT's Pick: Cabernet Franc Rose

 

3. Edelheiss Wine  (Washington D.C)

Chic, innovative, yet traditional European wine, which has never been packaged or branded, to the United States.  The Edelheiss Wine Team has plans for expansion to other countries after its initial launch in North America.

 

4. Mouton Noir Wines (Harlem, NY)

Founded by sommelier Andre Hueston Mack in 2007, Mouton Noir incorporates a trademark attitude and personal perspective to wine subculture. The wines are unique and distinctive garage wines, initially created for some of New York's best restaurants for whom Mack was a sommelier and now are available nationwide. - From the Mouton Noir website

GT's Pick: "O.P.P" Noir-  Other People's Pinot Noir

 

5. Serendipity Wine (Washington, DC)

Located in the Washington, DC Metro area, Serendipity Wines was founded by CEO Brenda Williams. Her vision was to create a brand built on the memories shared over glasses of wine. Serendipity offers three types of wines: Chardonnay - Tempation, Curvee Blanc (White Blend) and Carbarnet Franc - Seduction.

GT's Pick: Chardonnay - Temptation

 

6. Shoe Crazy Wines  (Chesterfield, VA)

Shoe Crazy Wines offers delectable recent vintages for your enjoyment and pleasure. The brand was birthed in 2006 when, Founder Gwen Hurt, was given a wine-making kit for christmas. After making and bottling over 120 bottles of wine, she decided to turn her passion into a career. In 2013, Shoe Crazy Wine, LLC was founded. Shoe Crazy creates signature and proprietary blends that are beautifully balanced wine.

GT's Picks: Cabernet Superior

28 Days of Soul: Curried Shrimp Cakes and Parmesan Tomato Grits

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This month Geo Table's presents "28 Days of Soul" a celebration of black history and community through cuisine. Today, I am happy to present to you the first of a weekly segment  called the "Evolution of the Black Kitchen."  In this segment, I will present a modern or innovative twist on classic soul food dishes.

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This week's dish was inspired by a few recipes in The Black Family Reunion Cookbook. The Black Family Reunion Cookbook celebrates African American cuisine from across the United States and contains almost 250 recipes.

This cookbook was a staple in my grandmother's (and many of my friends' grandmothers) homes. If you are truly interested in learning about African American cuisine, it is definitely worth the buy.

If ever forced to select my FAVORITE brunch dish, then Shrimp and Grits would top the list. Although this delectable combination was rose to fame in the early 1980s, it's origins began much earlier in a part of the United States affectionately known as the  "Grit Belt" ( the Carolinas to Louisiana). The dish was commonplace among fisherman who lacked a diversity of food options, and the meal was typically eaten for breakfast due to it being hearty and filling. It was often served with scraps of bacon.

For a full history on Shrimp and Grits, this is an article worth reading. 

Today, the dish has been modernized in a number of ways and can be found on countless menus across every corner of the United States. In creating my "personal take" I decided to step out of the box to  give my dish an more worldly flare. Relying on curry powder, diced vegetables, chopped shrimp and panko to fry the shrimp in a way this is unconventional for this dish.  I then paired them with a  tomato based grit topped with parmesan cheese.  This turned out much better than expected and this version will make regular appearances at my dining room table.

The recipe can be found below:

CURRied SHRIMP CAKES AND PARMESAN TOMATO GRITS

For the Curry Shrimp Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large raw shrimp ( peeled, deveined )
  • ·1 large egg
  •  1 small red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  •  1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  •  1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  Pinch of ground black pepper
  •  2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)  
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) canola or vegetable oil

1.      Chop shrimp in the food processor. Place in a bowl with egg, red onion, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, curry powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well.  Add 1 cup panko and mix well. Form mixture into 10-12 (approximately 3-inch-diameter) cakes. Roll cakes in remaining 1 cup panko; transfer to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.  (Note: These can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before making).

2.     Heat 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry cakes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 6 minutes

For the Grits

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 cup coarse grits
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Add water, milk, butter and marinara to a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Once liquid is simmering, whisk in grits in a slow stream. Whisk constantly to make sure the grits don’t clump together.
  2. Whisk mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens substantially. It should take 15 to 20 minutes to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until cheese is melted. 
  3. Place in bowl, and top with parmesan cheese. 

I hope you enjoy!

 

Geo's Table presents 28 Days of Soul!

28 Days of Soul

Happy February! It's almost unreal that we have already spent a whole month in 2016! Only 31 days in and I can proudly state 2016 has started with a thrilling bang, including landing a new job, and gaining more opportunities to venture into the magazine writing space. Now it's time to sustain that momentum, and bring some innovative ideas to Geo's Table.

As many of you know, February is recognized as Black History Month, and in honor of this I am elated to bring you the first Geo's Table series 28 Days of Soul. Although this year denotes a leap year with 29 days, it is my hope that this become an annual series that is celebrated each year here at Geo's Table.  

Guided by my personal philosophy of Eat well. Share experiences. Cultivate Community28 Days of Soul will fold each piece of this to segments that celebrate my history and heritage. This will in

  • Eat well: Celebrating the cuisine of the african american community, I will offer new and modern takes on soul food and other personal favorites through a weekly segment called, The Evolution of the Black Kitchen.
  • Share experiences:  Broadening my personal knowledge as well as the knowledge of others has always been very important. Using Twitter and Facebook as my platform, I will offer tidbits of "food-related" history and insights throughout the month.
  • Cultivate community : Honoring the past, and investing in the future, I will also highlight movers and shakers in the food community (locally and beyond). 

I am anxiously awaiting all of the great things that this month will bring, and can't wait to see how it's received. Leave any comments or ideas you'd like to see!