Legacy is important. It’s especially important for Blacks. We don’t have to get into why as you likely know. This won’t be about legacy, but why it’s mentioned will make sense later. I want you to think about how many Black-owned brands that you are aware of. As of 2022, you can probably name many. But how many Black-owned wines have you heard of?
If you’re like most, you probably weren’t aware of how many Black-owned wines or wineries are out there. It was refreshing to see this in so many ways. Let’s go even further. We have a winery right here in Dallas, Texas. Even better, it’s Black-owned. Now, that’s something to get excited about, just like I did. We are getting rid of a few stigmas here, like the fact that we have legit wineries in Texas, that we have one in Dallas, and that it’s Black-owned.
Change is here and we love to see it. Let’s get to know Berkshire Farms Winery. This winery has actually been in business since 2011.
Founded by Jonathan Jackson and his brother Jason Jackson, Berkshire Farms is setting major precedents in our beloved city.
“Giving props to my brother Jason, he showed me a simple method while we were young and we’ve kind of run with it ever since”, says co-founder Jonathan Jackson.
Jonathan considers his brother kind of a mad scientist as he taught himself how to make wine.
“We’ve been a pretty grassroots winery and we do a lot of customer-facing and that’s because we want to introduce a new culture to an experience, so they understand what to pair it with and what temperature it needs to be at. “
Though most of us consider wine-making a Cali thing, more and more states like Texas are diving into the business and not depending on the West Coast. Jonathan advises that there can be a few challenges doing this.
So, let’s get to the juicy part. What kind of wine does Berkshire Farms offer?
“We make a large variety of wines. We specialize in our Tempranillo. We actually mix that to make our sangria. We make wine popsicles as well, but we have wines that we actually import, and we work with a partner here in town to develop flavors and work with those.”
Speaking of popsicles, the winery started with making wine popsicles before actual bottles of wine due to the small yield at the time, which was a genius idea. Who wouldn’t want a wine popsicle?
Take note that Berkshire’s biggest seller is their watermelon sangria or their summer soiree, a tropical wine.
I was curious about the process of winemaking in Texas.
“It is a lot of challenge there, but luckily there are some great organizations in Texas that you can do soil tests with and try to figure out what works best for you and everything’s not gonna grow, you have to be patient with it”, Jonathan says.
“We planted grapes about ten years ago. When we started the process, it was Berkshire Farms only, we originally had pigs. We went through the process of starting the animals, starting crops, and growing grapes. Four years ago, that’s when we were recognized as a winery.”
“The wine industry is a very nice industry, everyone cares and everyone wants to help when they get a chance.”
Jonathan encourages future winemakers to skip growing the grapes, which can take 6 years to get a good vine, and just learn how to make wine. The wine industry isn’t one to make a quick buck. It’s more about leaving a legacy for your family, which is what Blacks need more of. It will take absolute patience.
In addition to Berkshire Farms, there are several other black-owned wineries including Cheramie Wines, Wondry Wines, and Bilquis Honey Wine.
You can look forward to chilling on the patio or celebrating with friends when Berkshire releases their latest creation, a sparkling rose’ this summer!
Photo Credit: Anthony Roland