FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Dr. Monique Bell recalls attending the Black Vines Festival in Oakland five years ago. Bell, a marketing professor at Fresno State, would take that curiosity and use it to jump into the world of wine.

“There was a community of wine lovers and winemakers, those enjoying life and they happen to look like me…it brings people together it’s been a part of humans coming together.”

Bell’s initial research into wine led her to learn about the basics.

“I love learning how soil can impact the taste of wine,” Bell recalls.

Early on she noticed a lack of representation. Both in consumption and on the supply side. 

“They may have had a bad experience walking into a wine shop and being ignored being disregarded or dismissed.”

She says in 2020, the Buy Black Movement brought more attention to wine professionals of color. Her curiosity inspired her to create the company “Wyne Belle.” Her company shares content on minorities in the wine industry.

“I wanted to tell the stories and build awareness of the multicultural presence in wine.”

During our conversation at the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, she highlighted a few female winemakers.

“This wine is made by two sisters – the McBride sisters who also are in northern California,” Bell said.

Telling their stories garnered her a spotlight landing her on the pages of some of the biggest publications in the country, including Forbes and the Boston Globe.

“Being nominated as the social visionary of the year by wine enthusiasts,” Bell explained.