S.2 Ep 11 -Donna Stoney: Trailblazing Winemaker, Serial Entrepreneur & Sister Friend
"According to The Zoe Report, the Association of African American Vintners reported that only 50 out of 10,000 U.S.-based wineries are Black-owned, although Black consumers account for at least 11 percent of wine drinkers across the country." - Re’Dreyona Walker
OR - Willamette Valley: Swirl, savor and share the aromatic flavors of Pineapple and Lemon Zest with the ladies in your life.Fruit forward, long finish, hits at the front and the back of the palette. Light and refreshing. The term Sister Friends celebrates friendship in our moments of Laughter, Tears, Struggles and Healing. May you honor your own Sister Friends with each sip!
Editors note: I met Donna Stoney, Oregon's first African-American winemaker at Argyle during the Black Girls Wine Oregon tour.
During the Wine Sisters interview below, Regina and I were struck by her calm presence, despite her casual mention that she has sixty-four employees working in six foster care homes. Somehow she manages to also make wine; her latest winemaking venture is to produce her wines with Walnut City Wineworks partnering with winemaker Michael Lundeen.
The Donna Stoney Storey
Donna has spent three decades building a career that places people and their quality of life at the center of everything that she has done. A serial entrepreneur, Donna is the Founder of Stoney Wines as well as the Executive Director at StoneyBrooke Residential Services LLC. Donna has been quietly breaking barriers and records since college where she set NCAA records in basketball and then in 1978, she became Oregon's first black female case manager for Multnomah County's developmental disability services agencies. When Donna followed her lifelong dream to become a winemaker and opened Stoney Wines in 2019 she joined the ranks of a very small prestigious group of African-American female winemakers in the United States. Donna is quick to credit Iris Rideau (who was the very first African-American female winemaker in the US) for helping to provide the inspiration and pave the way for winemakers such as herself. Donna is committed to taking down barriers and unifying people wherever she goes and in whatever she does.
Some may view the pairing of a career in social services and wine-making to be a seemingly odd match Donna is quick to point out their commonalities:
"Serving people is at the heart of everything I do. My work in serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities is about bringing together people, educating communities, and improving the quality of life for all those in our circles. What I love about wine is that it's a great unifier.
It brings together people and allows us to create enjoyable experiences and memories together. Making wine and serving people both require the same traits in order to be successful including a high-level of attention, a tremendous amount of patience, a natural level of curiosity, and a deep abiding passion for where you are investing your efforts."
It only takes spending a few moments with Donna to feel the warmth of her heart and the passion for what she does. She is passionate about creating delicious wines but also just as passionate about creating life experiences that unify.
“You can have the most amazing glass of wine in your hand but if the company you're sharing it with is not enjoyable, it will lessen the entire experience.What goes in our glass is important, but who we are sharing that glass with is just as important. My dream is that the Legacy of Stoney Wines will bring people together and truly let them feel comforted. There’s nothing quite like having a beautiful glass of wine and pairing it with my family’s recipes that are all about comfort food. If I had one wish, it would be that I want people to have the feeling our family has on the weekends. Our friends and family don’t need an invitation. Everyone just shows up and next thing you know we are sitting in our kitchen, turning up the smooth jazz, opening a beautiful wine, and pairing it with our famous recipes like skillet cornbread, mac and cheese, or banana pudding. Our cups may be filled but it’s the laughter and smiles that fill our hearts. To me, that's the true quality of life.”
Wines by Donna Stoney
Pinot Noir OR - Willamette Valley
Bayani is the name of our first beautifully made Pinot Noir. Named after Winemakers first Grandchild, the word Bayani is Filipino in origin and means hero. Classically bold with with hints of sour cherry, blackberry and plums. Classic and traditional, these flavors indulge all of your senses.
Pinot Gris/Grigio OR - Willamette Valley - Van Duzer Corridor
Sustainably farmed and certified Salmon friendly, this wine was sourced in The Van Duzer sub AVA of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Tropical fusion of peaches, pear and melon. Bare soft acidity with an earthy note of honey, ginger and citrus.
2017 Bayani Reserve Pinot Noir
OR - Willamette Valley - Van Duzer Corridor
Sustainably farmed and certified Salmon friendly, this wine was sourced in The Van Duzer sub AVA of the Willamette Valley in Oregon Cool ocean breezes and rich solis combined to create our cool front Pinot Noir Reserve. Smooth with a dry finish and notes of black currant.
Pinot Noir Rosé OR - Willamette Valley - Van Duzer Corridor. Sustainably farmed and certified Salmon friendly, this wine was sourced in The Van Duzer sub AVA of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Stunning color with a tantalizing bouquet of fresh strawberries, tarragon and lemon brings a sense of relaxation before the first sip!