During a surprise Feb. 26 wine tasting at the San Francisco Delta Sky Club, Delta announced a new partnership with Brown Estate, the first and only Black-owned estate winery in California's Napa Valley.
The wine made its first onboard appearance in a surprise in-flight tasting for customers on Flight 1473 from San Francisco to New York-JFK.
The idea to partner with Brown Estate started with Carlyne Scott, a member of Delta's Black community business resource group (BRG) and BRG Program Manager. Scott originally suggested the winery as a special for Black History Month, and that seed germinated into a larger relationship between Delta and the winery. Delta will feature Brown Estate wines in the winter of 2019-2020 as part of its commitment to supplier diversity.
"Partnering with innovative, diverse suppliers from certified small-, minority- and women-owned businesses like Brown Estate is fundamental to Delta's strategy to keep climbing year-round," said Heather Ostis, vice president, Supply Chain Management. "Seeking employee perspectives and leveraging unique ideas brings us closer to meeting that goal, while creating the highest quality experience for our customers."
After Scott's suggestion, a selection of Brown Estate wines were passed to Andrea Robinson, Delta's master sommelier, for consideration in the airline's seasonally rotating wine menu. Robinson's year-round wine selection process – including both in-the-air and terra-firming tastings – culminates annually with a final tasting of more than 1,500 bottles over one week. Two Brown Estate selections made the cut.
Domestic Delta One customers will see two Brown Estate wines on the winter 2019-2020 menu, 2017 Betelgeuse Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Chaos Theory.
"We are delighted to partner with Delta Air Lines," said Deneen Brown, president of Brown Estate. "Delta's all-in commitments to the spirit of inclusion and to their wine program are perfectly aligned with our core values at Brown Estate."
Chaos Theory, a red blend of merlot, petite sirah and zinfandel, greets the nose with a lively aroma of ripe Rainer cherries, blackberry compote, winter spice and heavy cream. Hints of Asian apple and Meyer lemon are followed by dark chocolate, tiramisu and fresh-baked croissants.
On a lighter note, Brown Estate describes its Betelgeuse Sauvignon Blanc as "endless summer in a bottle, straw gold in color, with refreshing clarity.” Tropical fruit comingles with subtle citrus, fever grass and lemon verbena, while night-blooming jasmine and honeysuckle are complemented by a cascade of stone fruit, lychee, pineapple and guava.
The Brown Estate label was established in 1996, when the Brown family harvested what would become their first bottling of Brown Zin. Their first three vintages debuted in January 2000 at the annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Grand Tasting in San Francisco. In 2017, they opened their Brown Downtown tasting room in the heart of downtown Napa. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter for company updates.
Story edited from an original publishing on www.delta.com