Black Woman-Owned Wine Brand Pours Out the Luxury Locally  

Dr. LaToya Thompson was the first black woman in Detroit to own a luxury wine brand, Opulence Wine.   

Photo credit Rebecca Simonov  


She loves the finer things of life.   

That’s what motivated Dr. LaToya Thompson, to become the first black woman in Detroit to own a luxury wine brand, Opulence Wine. She created her beverage business and launched her new line of high-brow drinks for people who like to drink with their pinkies up.  

The wine industry has a long history of being male-dominated with women making up only 28 percent of winemakers in the U.S. but they are responsible for up to 57 percent of wine sales, according to local statistics. Black-owned wineries pale in comparison accounting for just one percent of U.S. wineries.   

Thompson, who is a physical therapist by trade and “a woman of luxury by choice,” told the Michigan Chronicle about how her enjoyment of the finer things of life, wanting to up her self-care and desire to shift the narrative of luxury for Black and Brown communities in the food and beverage industry gave way to, Opulence Wine.  

“I started the brand because, one, I love wine and it’s pretty simple for me [and] I saw that there was a disconnect,” she said, adding that although there are a lot of Black brands coming out, she sees, especially in Michigan, that there are not “many of us.” “As far as the Black female there is not one. I saw this would be a great opportunity for me to start this brand and put our face on it and let people know we can be involved in something not considered for us — especially when it comes to luxury.”  

She said another kind of disconnect comes between Black culture and is associated with luxury and how luxurious things, including wine, can be a normal daily part of Black life, deservingly.  

“I enjoy luxury items because I enjoy luxury items,” Thompson said, adding that she wanted to enjoy wine that is premium, and the experience runs deep with her white and red wines. “[It] should be an experience that goes from not just tasting the wine but being able to learn and educate yourself on how that grape got to that glass.”  

Thompson said that with her background as a physical therapist with science and sports she is always thinking about the end game and “how we got to this point,” she said, adding that her inquisitive mind wants to know why and how the grapes she uses get from one point to the very glass of wine.  

“[I’m] very intrigued by the wine experience in Detroit and I want to put it on the map,” she said. “We are a wine destination, at least northern Michigan, but I want to put Detroit on the map to let people know we have people in Detroit, southeastern Michigan that love wine and [we’re] making room for us in this industry to grow.”  

Thompson, who lived in Miami after school, started working in the collegiate athletes’ field and she spent a lot of time with the coaches’ wives – who networked and attended wine tastings. With her interest in the wine industry, and her own wind down with a glass a day, she took her love of the crushed grapes and made two flavors for others to enjoy. Both of her wines come from grapes grown in California.  

Her 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet is a red wine that she describes as bold and full-bodied that “gives you a firm taste.”  

“It has persistent flavors of plum, a hint of herb and finished with firm tannin.”  

Her white wine is a 2019 pinot grigio (Lodi) is described as not super sweet or dry; it has faint notes of honey and floral aromas along with tastes of pear and nectarine.  

“I wanted to have only have two wines to make sure I have something for everybody,” she said.  

A launch event for Opulence Wine is set for 6:30 p.m. on October 7 at House of Pure Vin.  

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