Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein holds many titles: actress, writer and director to name a few, but being a winemaker was always part of her destiny. Originally, brewing fruit wines on her UCLA college campus started as a hobby. That grew into her launching Eunice Chiweshe Goldstein Winery in 2018 in Astoria, Oregon, and a tasting room opened a year later. Her portfolio of upwards of 30 wines allows her to connect to her roots and ancestors while being a conduit of change for the future. Beyondish talked with her about the beginnings of her company, why she chose Oregon, and what it’s like being the founder of the state’s first Black winery.
You started making wines back during your college days. How did that come about?
I’ve been making stuff in my kitchen since 2014. When I was little in Zimbabwe, my grandfather used to brew beer. I had watched him and knew from there that this was something that I wanted to explore.
And so the pivot to opening a winery in Astoria, Oregon?
Having seen other UCLA alums like Francis Ford Coppola [he expanded his business to include winemaking], I thought this went hand in hand: wine and movies. Right off the bat I was intrigued by that. I was like, let me explore between California and Oregon. Oregon has a green, lush environment. I love trees and I love nature.
Did you know back then that you would want to make it a career, or was it just something you did for fun?
I did it for fun, but that’s how passions blossom. From there I knew I wanted to own a winery. It just happened organically without even thinking about it. It’s almost like painting a piece of art. Somehow all the elements in a painting come together without you overthinking it.
Tell us about your step-by-step process for opening your business?
In 2017 I established that this was a winery. It was named after my grandmother. In 2018, I [got my different] licenses. I remember talking to someone who said, “You’re the first African-American female winery owner and winemaker in Oregon.” It was both exhilarating and shocking at the same time. Our country needs to grow so much to have everybody at the table. This was the first step in my eyes to open that door for others.
What was the community response to you being Oregon’s first black female winery owner and winemaker?
People are receptive and they’ve got wide open arms. The industry has been supportive in that way. On the other hand, there are aspects where you realize that not that long ago our ancestors were in shackles and not allowed in [particular] settings. I can’t take that for granted. We are their second chance, their opportunity to make a difference. My mom has this quote; she’s a brilliant woman in textile science and fashion. She said, “If you stand on my shoulders, or if I stand on your shoulders, we see further.” Those who have come before me know their path. That’s where my courage and inspiration come from.
Can you talk about your charity collaborations?
I’ve collaborated with the NAACP, Airway Science for Kids, Inc., the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Organization, the Brian Grant Foundation and many more. We have a bottle called Pinot for Parkinson’s, I Can’t Breathe, and Pandemic Relief Rose. I try to do as much as possible for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
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