“Wine is wonderful,” says Kim Lewis, owner of Ole’ Orleans Wines. It brings people together, gives them things to talk about, and can create memories.

Since 2018, she and the winery staff have been offering a wide variety of wines for all budgets. The winery saw unexpectedly high demand during the COVID pandemic, an opportunity that Kim Lewis seized upon and used to establish agreements with various retailers and distributors.

“The pandemic was good for us and our growth,” she said. “It allowed us to connect with our customers even more, and we were able to ship wine right to their door.”

Today, Ole’ Orleans Wines ships to more than 35 states and there are retail distribution deals with eight states. The company currently has 18 releases, including 12 for retail customers and six exclusively for wine club members.

“This has been a joy,” Kim Lewis said recently.

The New Orleans native has considered herself an entrepreneur for 12 years and says this has been one of her more successful ventures. She credits God for a lot of the amazing blessings in her life, but also said her strong will helps.

Kim Lewis said it’s important that her kids see how important it is that if you want to do something, you can do it. Plus, it’s always important to finish what you start.

Years ago, she was a special education teacher. But she always loved travel and she fell in love with wine, and then looked for ways to bring both of these passions together. Her result was the city’s first winery and one of the few wineries owned by African-Americans in the state.

Today, the tasting room is always packed and visitors love touring the facility learning about the winemaking process. The more than 200 wine club members appreciate the sense of community Ole’ Orleans Wine creates for them, such as birthday greetings and special wines for special occasions.

This year, Ole’ Orleans Wines will even offer more: it’s going to be adding spirits, so look for branded lines of gin, vodka and either a bourbon or whiskey – Kim Lewis is still deciding as she enjoys the journey.

The way things are going, she’d love for the products someday to be available all over the Southeast, even the entire South.

She looks forward to the future but is also conscious about the need to give back and always lend a hand. The winery works closely with a nearby homeless shelter and also funds a scholarship program to help area students afford various supplies for school.

When she’s not running the wine operation, she loves to travel, find a beach – any beach will do – and spend time with her quarter horse, Koko.

“I really enjoy the journey,” she said. “I love talking to people.”   To learn more,  follow them on Instagram @oleorleans and web:

Photo : Courtesy of Ole’ Orleans Wines