Kim Lewis, a single mom of three and an entrepreneur, is behind the newest wine company in New Orleans.
As a traveler, Lewis would taste different wines from the places she visited. She joked with a friend about starting her own wine company and what seem like a joke is now a reality.
At the time, she was already successful at running three healthcare businesses and realized she could run a wine company in addition.
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“I’m not an expert. But, I know what I like and what a good wine tastes like,” she stated.
Lewis then started her research about the wine industry. None of the already established labels were willing to help her. She soon learned that she would have to pay a consultant $20,000 to help launch her business from scratch.
“When I learned how much money it cost, I said let me see if I can complete this paperwork on my own,” Lewis said. “I was able to do it, submit it, and get approved for my license on the first try.”
Having received a license and after thorough deliberation whether or not to pair with a vineyard considering the cost involved, Lewis planned to pair with a company in Texas, but that didn’t work out.
Lewis held her official launch in New Orleans in April of 2019. Ole’ Orleans is a collection of well-balanced wines with a luxurious, delicate, and lingering finish.
According to the website, “Ole’ Orleans Wines, is a tribute to New Orleans and its historic legacy. Richly flavored, New Orleans very own handcrafted wines, created in Louisiana. La Nouvelle-Orléans, located along the Mississippi River is well known for its Creole and Cajun roots. Displaying its French and Spanish heritage through an elegant decay.”
There are currently two white blends available, Ole’ Carrollton and Tchoupitoulas, which can be purchased in the local New Orleans market and on the Tasting Room website.
Lewis, who plans to release 10 additional blends to reach 12, said: “Being a black woman with a wine company makes me feel on top of the world.”
She does everything from marketing her wines and answering emails, to visiting local retailers to check the shelves.
“I was recently asked to have my wines served at Dillard University’s 150th-anniversary gala. I had the opportunity to present Patti LaBelle, who was a speaker, with a bottle after she requested one,” she told Travel Noire.
“It’s important for those wanting to break into the industry to have tough skin. While you may get several no’s, there will be a yes,” Lewis served notice to women planning to venture into the sector.
Lewis has created a page, ‘DIY Business 101’ dedicated to helping aspiring business owners in any field get started.