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Black-Owned Napa Valley Winery Lands Partnership with Delta Air Lines

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said it will begin serving wine from the first and only Black-owned estate winery in Napa Valley, Calif., a nod to boosting supplier diversity during Black History Month.

The airline’s partnership with Brown Estate Vineyards began as an idea via an employee with Delta’s black community resource group and has since blossomed into a long-term collaboration where Delta Domestic One fliers can enjoy two Brown Estate wines on the winter 2019-2020 menu, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Brown Estate Vineyards

The partnership with Brown Estate was launched as part of Delta’s supplier diversity program, the airline said. (Images courtesy of Instagram / Forbes)

The winery’s 2017 Betelgeuse Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Chaos Theory red blend will be among the libations from which customers can choose. The drinks will be served in business class on select Delta flights.

“Partnering with innovative, diverse suppliers from certified small-, minority- and women-owned businesses like Brown Estate is fundamental to Delta’s strategy to keep climbing year-round,” Heather Ostis, vice president of supply chain management, said in a statement. “Seeking employee perspectives and leveraging unique ideas brings us closer to meeting that goal, while creating the highest quality experience for our customers.”

To kick off the partnership, Delta will host a complimentary in-flight tasting on Tuesday for passengers on a New York-bound flight from San Francisco, Black Enterprise reported. A second tasting will also be held at the airline’s Sky Club at San Francisco International Airport, which Delta master sommelier Andrea Robinson and the Brown Estate owners will attend.

Founded in 1996 by siblings Deneen, David and Coral Brown, the Brown Estate Label is a fast-growing, family-run business that continues to gain exposure to “diverse audiences” mostly by word of mouth, according to the company’s website. Essence reported the siblings discovered a knack for wine-making after inheriting a vineyard from their parents, Bassett Brown and Marcela Brown, in 1995. They took over the 450 acres in the Chiles Valley American Viticultural Area of Napa Valley, and the rest is history.

“We are delighted to partner with Delta Air Lines,” President Deneen Brown said in a statement. “Delta’s all-in commitments to the spirit of inclusion and to their wine program are perfectly aligned with our core values at Brown Estate.”

Carlyne Scott, who’s a part of Delta’s black community business resource group, said she initially suggested the partnership as a way to celebrate Black History Month, but the idea soon grew into something much more.

The Brown Estate is best known as one of that region’s most well-regarded zinfandel producers, with its 1997 bottling receiving a score of 91 points from influential win publication Wine Spectator.  The vineyard produces a variety of wines, including cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and petite sirah.

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