Married couple Pascal and Daneen Lewis are the founders of the Harlem Wine Gallery, a business which has the largest selection of Black winemakers and wine brands in New York City, according to NowThis News.
Prior to the establishment of their current venture in 2016, they had lived in Harlem for nearly 30 years but never found a wine shop they liked. This inspired them to open a wine shop themselves. Today, the wine shop is making history.
“We’ve lived in the neighborhood for close to 30 years, and we never really found a place that we liked buying wine in,” Daneen told NowThis News. “We would travel downtown and being Harlemites and being very active in the community, we’re like, ‘Wait, why are we leaving our neighborhood to go buy the wine that we wanna drink? We should have a shop. We started learning about wine, taking classes, and then kind of naively just jumped into it. Now, seven years later, here we are and we love every second of it.”
Besides filling in a market gap identified by Pascal, the business also identifies the need to give voice and platform to diverse winemakers as well as educate consumers on various selections available on the market.
According to Pascal, he and his wife ventured into the wine industry when they had no prior knowledge. Nonetheless, the lack of representation was a big motivation, Pascal explained to NowThis News.
“That is something that I thought needed some help, where I, as a retailer, I could have a space where their wines could be showcased along with all the other wines out there on the market, but actually give them a space and give them a prominent place within a store of this type,” he said.
According to him, his outfit is very selective in who they bring in as they try to limit the choices so that they can be able to let the people see what is available and “talk them through it and educate them on who’s making the wine, where the wine’s coming from, and give them some time to actually think, rather than just sort of being overwhelmed by thousands of bottles of wine.”
“Black brands and Black winemakers need an uplift, and we help to provide that uplift,” he noted.