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Cultivating a Sweet Seed in Unionville: Virginia’s first Black Woman Owned Winery

"I love it when you call me Big Poppa!" - Biggie

Beautiful Black woman smiling
Mrs. Seidah Armstrong, owner of Sweet Vines Farm Winery

Neatly tucked away in the woods of Orange County, Virginia, you can find the sweet voice of

Mrs. Seidah Armstrong educating visitors about the varying personalities of her wines during a tasting, and singing the theme-song for each of them - because what's a wine, without a theme song?

Planted with the hope, promise, and legacy of her great and great-grandmothers who used to make wines from Muscadine grapes, Mrs. Armstrong was moved by the spirit of her ancestors to turn her own vision for making wines, into reality! Like many Black business owners, she had to overcome the challenge of securing the land to harvest her seed. After securing one-hundred and twenty acres in Orange County, the former educator and her family laid their roots, and returned to the work of our ancestors - cultivating seeds. She began with harvesting, transplanting grapes to her land, and growing strawberries and blueberries.

Land is extremely important to her business, the culture, Black legacy and Black futures. As seen on social media, there's a powerful surge of our people working together to buy land and create legacies for generations to come. Along with this, there's also the growing interest in our people, to learn and cultivate a seed and establish family farms!

The poem, "Ancestors Garden" beautifully displayed at Sweet Vines Farm Winery

"Farming if it wasn't important to people before this pandemic, they realize its importance now, and I'm excited to get back to it, because it's in our DNA!" - Mrs. Seidah Armstrong

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Being on the farm, growing from the earth, and producing from the earth isn't simply a business, it's her "heart-song! Metaphorically, the past 40 years has evolved her work from making a difference in classrooms nation-wide as a school principal and Education consultant, to a business owner shattering glass ceilings in Virginia!

"Wine making is Science!" It truly is STEM in action. There's a lot of science involved to make wine palatable. One must find the right combination of "yeast, sugar, and love" to make sweet wines! Listen, she's a phenomenal business woman, but the truth is "once an educator, always and educator!" Seidah's natural teaching qualities radiate through her work, whether she is educating you about her wines during a tasting, or thoroughly explaining her process to create impeccable wines.

Sweet Vines Farm Winery is focused on hosting several events in the immediate future, being an amazing wedding venue, completing projects on the farm - such as the pool and pool house, and growing the winery. In the next five years, we can look forward to seeing a full harvest to include a bed and breakfast on the site!


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