According to studies, of the over 11,000 wineries in the United States, less than 1% are Black-owned or have a Black winemaker. In California’s Wine Country, only 14% of the more than 4,200 have a woman as their lead winemaker. Entrepreneur and winemaker Marlo Richardson is here to fix that with her newest endeavor, Braymar Wines, which made its debut in stores just last summer.
Braymar Wines is a new Black-owned wine label operating out of the California wine country, bringing together years of experience in wine making. With over ten years of experience in the bar and restaurant industry, Richardson has seen firsthand what her customers like to see in their wines. With this knowledge, she approached creating Braymar — finding the varietals that would make some of the trendiest, smoothest-drinking wines on the market.
Even though Richardson already had over a decade under her belt working with wines in a different capacity, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 inspired her to take the leap and create Braymar. Named after her two daughters, Brayli and Marli, Braymar Wines represents the culmination of Richardson’s time as an entrepreneur and a restaurateur. She brings to the table a deep appreciation of wine as well as the knowledge of what makes great wine.
“As a restaurant and bar owner for so many years, I’ve always had to purchase wine from other vendors or distributors,” Richardson explains. “I figured why not create my own brand and be able to sell it, if nowhere else, at my own restaurant’s lounge and bar?”
Richardson also owns Top Drawer Distillery, which produces all of Braymar’s Wines. At first, the line will include a North Coast Proprietor’s Red Blend, a Sonoma Brut, a California Sparkling Rosé, and a Chardonnay. It’s a combination of the classics with unique and trendy blends. Still, regardless of whether it is a familiar flavor or something entirely different, you can be sure that Richardson is bringing her unique spin to the tradition.
“The biggest challenge about having your own wine is that, once you have the product in your hand, and people taste it and love it, they’re going to ask where they can buy it,” Richardson asserts. “When you’re just starting, it’s probably only online or in a handful of physical locations. The challenging part is getting the wine into the hands of more people so they can try and enjoy it as we do.”
If you are looking to support a wonderful minority woman entrepreneur while drinking a phenomenal glass of wine in the process, Braymar Wines is now selling its first wines in its online store and four Los Angeles restaurants. Richardson believes in the importance of paying attention to detail and taking care of the customer, so when you shop with them, you know you are getting nothing but the best.