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Urban Connoisseurs


John June Lewis, Sr.In 1940, John June Lewis, Sr. (1894-1974) became the first African American to own a vineyard and winery, as well as first winery in Virginia. Built by his own hands on land deeded to him by plantation owner, Armistead Burwell, John would produce two varietals, a Lambrusca and Hybrid wine at his Woburn Winery in Clarksville, Virginia.

Association of African American Vintners (AAAV)Over 25 years later three African American men founded the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV). Established in 2002 by Mac McDonald, owner of Vision Cellars, Lou Garcia, owner of Stover Oaks Winery, and Dr. Ernest Bates, owner of Black Coyote, AAAV is a growing organization whose founding members wanted to create an organization to support current and future winemakers. More about these founders can be found on www.aaavintners.org.

Urban Connoisseurs was founded in 2012 by Marcia Jones. The mission of Urban Connoisseurs is to affect sustainable growth in the Black winemaking community by increasing the number of Black Winemakers in the US and abroad, create opportunities for the next generation to pursue various careers in the wine industry, and maintain brand and legacy.

Never before has a scholarship of this magnitude been created to solely support African Americans pursuing careers in the wine industry. The creation of the John June Lewis, Sr. Scholarship Fund serves to preserve a name that might otherwise be lost, bring awareness to present day Black winemakers, and to provide financial assistance to African American students pursuing careers in the wine industry.

Urban Connoisseurs and the Association of African American Vintners is partnering with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to maintain the fund. The partnership will allow students to gain access to funds to support their pursuit of a career in the wine industry with a Science degree in Viticulture and/or Enology. Scholarships will be awarded annually to students who meet the eligibility requirements.

For further information, please contact Marcia Jones, Marcia@urbanconnoissuers.com.

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