My Failed Quest to Find A Black-Owned Wine at America’s Largest Wine Store

My Failed Quest to Find A Black-Owned Wine at America’s Largest Wine Store

My story begins a couple of weeks ago. My sister, knowing my love of wine, purchased a gift certificate to Total Wine and More for my birthday. I had forgotten about it until one day my girlfriend retrieved it from the dark cluttered crevices of her purse. During the pandemic I had been existing mostly on the wines in my increasingly bare wine chest or the biweekly Instacart deliveries from Costco. The first thing that crossed my mind was….Oh Snap….I can order a few bottles from one of my favorite black owned wineries. 

Next stop Total Wine and More website

Type in Love Cork Screw……… no responses 

Type in Maison Noir….digital crickets 

Type in Brown Estate…..

Type in Theopolis Vineyards…..

WTH… So I picked up the phone and called the 800 number.

A pleasant young lady answers the phone and I explain my dilemma to her. She quickly informs me that I can’t redeem my gift card online but she’ll help me find a local store that might have what I’m looking for. I explained to her in detail and gave her a couple of brand names… can you check you online inventory? She puts me on hold and says I’ll get right back to you. After a few minutes she indicates I need to speak to a wine expert at one of my local stores. Cool can you transfer me? Gladly she says 

Next stop the wine “expert” at one of the local stores. Once again I explain what I’m looking for her response “Oh you mean a South African wine”  Nooooooo wines from black-owned wineries in the United States…… a few moments of silence on the phone and then “Those exist?”  WTF She reaches out to a colleague who states “OK I just searched online and found a list of 23 black-owned wineries” Sweet…. do you have bottles from any of those wineries? Her response…I don’t know. Could you look them up? Uhhhhhhhhhhhh that might take some time. Thanks for nothing.

I conducted some research on Total Wine and discovered they have 208 stores in 24 states and carry over 8000 different wines! Why can’t I locate one bottle of wine locally from one of over 60 black-owned wineries? Maybe they are wine snobs who look down on inferior wines? A few of the black-owned wineries have won awards and a quick survey of the Total Wine and More website reveals they stock what looks like the ENTIRE Barefoot collection including a 1.5L bottle of something called  Fruitscato Peach, and some Karen inspired White Girl Rose. Asking again. What’s up Total Wine? 

If you have questions for Total Wine & More you can reach them at 855-328-9463.


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