Operating out of central Arkansas, Flyght Black is a wine education program increasing diversity in the wine industry by cultivating conversations on inclusivity across Arkansas and the South.

“Flyght Black began as an idea that came out of realizing there weren’t many networks for people of color to tap into if they were interested in pursuing wine studies or as a profession,” founder Kara Wilkins says. “In the United States, less than 1% of the 8,000 wineries are Black-owned or employ Black winemakers. There are many reasons for those barriers, such as cost, lack of resources and in certain instances, discrimination. Flyght Black is a way to bring attention to those challenges and encourage greater inclusivity in the wine industry.”

For Wilkins, the goal is simple: Amplify the voices of people of color by connecting wine brands and winemakers. The program celebrates and features wineries created by people of color like the McBride Sisters in California and sommelier André Mack’s Maison Noir Wines in Oregon.

The education program hosts general wine education courses and virtual and in-person wine tastings. These classes offer individuals the opportunity to learn the wine basics, practice the tasting process, discover new varieties and possibly, a new passion. Flyght Black is known for creating immersive wine tasting and pairing events, like the upcoming Wine and Culture Festival this fall.

“At the second annual Flyght Black Wine and Culture Festival, guests can enjoy hours of wine tastings, featuring a curated selection from national and regional Black wineries, craft distilleries and craft breweries,” Wilkins says. “There will be local Black-owned food trucks along with live music, artists and other vendors. A percentage of proceeds from the event will be donated to a local Black-led nonprofit organization.”

An official festival date for October has yet to be announced. In the meantime, visit the Flyght Black website to sign up for emails and be notified when tickets become available in July. Keep an eye out for important information and upcoming events by following Flyght Black on Facebook and Instagram.

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