Meet Brian Kincaid, first-generation college graduate now Ohio’s first Black enologist

Mildred Europa Taylor March 05, 2024
Cleveland native Brian C. Kincaid is Ohio’s first Black enologist. Image: Instagram/thee_enologist

According to, an enologist is a winemaking professional who specializes in the scientific process of creating wine, applying both scientific knowledge and winemaking knowledge to help wineries develop new wines and improve the quality of wine they produce.

Cleveland native Brian C. Kincaid, who is Ohio’s first Black enologist, described the field of study as fairly new. “It is not something that’s been around as long as like other sciences, but it’s the science of wine and beer making,” said Kincaid to WKYC. “The art of winemaking has been around for centuries, but they’re just now starting to make it, you know, a collegiate thing.”

When 32-year-old Kincaid completed his degree from Kent State University in 2023, he became Ohio’s first Black enologist. His journey to pursuing a degree in Enology (the science of winemaking) during a global pandemic is interesting, the husband, father and first-generation college graduate said.

According to the Wine Institute, Americans consumed 964 million gallons of wine in 2022 but most people do not know how wine is made. Like many Americans, Kincaid’s only experience with wine was consuming it. 

After being introduced to community activist, writer and winery owner Mansfield Frazier of Chateau Hough on Cleveland’s east side, Kincaid started looking at exploring the craft.

“I had a knack for just talking about it. So he recognized that and was like, ‘Hey son, I’ll send you to college to just do this full time’,” said Kincaid.

Kincaid went to spend an entire summer “exploring the vineyard and navigating the nuances of the wine-making process,” WKYC reported.

“To make good wine takes a lot of patience, a lot of skill, a lot of trial and error actually too. It’s something you probably won’t get right the first time,” said Kincaid. 

The Cleveland entrepreneur continued to collaborate with Mansfield until the latter passed away in 2021. Now the beer and wine manager at Meijer Fairfax Market, Kincaid hopes to continue Frazier’s legacy who, as the owner of Chateau Hough, provided a space for formerly incarcerated people to work, helping them to get back on their feet.

“You know, we’re finishing where he stopped and keeping it going and then expand on that,” Kincaid said. “On top of that, he wanted this to be a generational thing so my kids and my grandkids could benefit from this.”

Last month, the Ohio enologist said he was working on harvesting a new wine line which will be ready in March.

“I’m a dry red guy. Ironically, my first wine that I’m working on now is actually a Chardonnay,” he said. “So it’s something a little bit different than I’m used to, but it’s something that, um, helps me understand and appreciate white wine just as much.”

Kincaid is now urging others not to give up on their dreams as he also works hard to set a good example for his daughter to follow. 

“You never really know what you’re capable of until you try it,” said Kincaid. “I never would’ve thought I would pursue something like this. And I got into these classrooms and I’m seeing all this laboratory equipment and like, I don’t know what it is at first, but after a couple months, it became almost a norm for me.” 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 5, 2024


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