We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcia Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marcia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Timing. I was at a point in life where I didn’t want to work for others. I wanted the freedom to create. Having my own business gives me that freedom. I’m not guided by someone else’s idea of what my business/work should look like. Freedom and dollars don’t always go hand in hand, so I started part-time and worked up to giving the business my full attention. Haven’t looked back.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I didn’t start out in the wine industry. I was in non-profit and corporate prior to creating Urban Connoisseurs. I arrived at a crossroads in my life and needed to decide if I wanted to find another job in non-profit, shift back to corporate, and start something new.

After a visit to a few Black owned vineyards and experiencing great wine, and even greater hospitality (I’m big on hospitality), and I knew I wanted to do something in this industry.

After a few starts and stops (wine club, sales and marketing for some of the winemakers), I went to what I love to do most…create memorable experiences. I began creating “Meet the Winemaker” dinners, and added the Women in Wine and Men in Wine Celebration Dinners, I then added a Winemaker Summit specifically for winemakers to come together and talk through what they need business-wise, and share their success amongst each of other.

I had financial challenges, but nothing so critical to make me want stop.

What the world should know about me is I’m pro-Black. I believe it is important to give space for diversity to grow. There are less than 1% of Black winemakers. In a white male dominated industry it can be challenging for Black winemakers to even get their wines on the retail shelf. Additionally, the average person isn’t aware Black winemakers or other winemakers for different cultures exist. This needs to change because the country we live in is diverse and every industry should reflect this. My work/events, and coming soon…Journey between the Vines: The Black Winemakers Story (a documentary), and the book about Black winemakers.

Speaking of challenges…raising funds for the documentary has been a challenge, but I’m hopeful we will get it done.

About the brand….As I mentioned I’m Pro-Black. 2 years ago I started the Black Winemakers Scholarship Fund managed by UNCF. I wanted to help create legacy. Providing financial support to African American students studying Viticulture and/or Enology, or other like sciences is my contribution. We award 2 $5000 scholarships annually, and I’m working on creating a program to bring some students to meet the Black Winemakers…stay tuned.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live a nomadic life, so “the area” would depend on where I reside at the time. I’m a daughter of the sun, so if a friend is visiting me when I’m hanging in a city (or country) with sun and beach, then it’s “Glass in hand, feet in the sand”. We’re exploring local cuisine, and currently that would be Mexico (Playa del Carmen). I also love the spa life, so we would spend time pampering our body and mind. Restaurants are open air, and we’d have breakfast, lunch, and dinner (exploring the many seafood options) outside soaking up sun. Of course, we’d experience the many varieties of Mezcal and Tequilla!

And, because they are visiting I take time out from soaking up sun and water to visit local vendors for souvenirs.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My sister Cherry Jones. She is my biggest champion. Never cease to tell me how much she loves me and how proud she is of me. Attends/participates in just about every event I host, even when it requires her to travel. Always has advice for me to grow my business (even when I don’t always want it-SMILE).

And, she drinks more wine than ever, even though wine wasn’t really her thing!

Website: https://www.urbanconnoisseurs.com

Instagram: @urban_connoisseurs

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcia-jones-37b04430/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UrbanConnoisseurs

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.