EXCLUSIVE: Ayesha Curry & Sydel Curry-Lee Talk Relaunching Their Wine Brand After Its Acquisition: “This Is A Toast To Powerful Women”

Courtesy of Domaine Curry

When sisters-in-law Ayesha Curry and Sydel Curry-Lee joined forces to launch their wine brand Domaine Curry in 2018, they struggled to get industry gatekeepers to take them seriously. Less than five years later, the brand has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by the fifth largest wine company in the U.S.

Cheers to that.

In June 2023, it was announced  that Constellations Brands had purchased Domaine Curry from Coup De Foudre Napa Valley, a company it initially partnered with that helped them establish an impressive record of building a diverse, loyal, and younger consumer base.

This is noteworthy, considering 9o% of the U.S. wine brands come from California, yet just 10% of the state’s wineries are owned by women. The numbers are more meager when Black women are taken into consideration. This isn’t lost on Domaine Curry’s co-founders.

EXCLUSIVE: Ayesha Curry & Sydel Curry-Lee Talk Relaunching Their Wine Brand After Its Acquisition: “This Is A Toast To Powerful Women”

“The truth of the matter is that the wine industry is predominantly white male-driven,” Curry-Lee tells ESSENCE. “It was pretty daunting going in. But we quickly realized we’re smart, we’re strong, we’ve got it, we know what we like, we know what tastes great, we know what works. And I think when you push through that and drown out the noise, the rest is history.”

The acquisition, which was led by Constellation Brands’ portfolio company Prisoner Wine Company is ushering a relaunch of the brand, complete with a new brand aesthetic and refined credo. It’s guiding mantra, Femme 31, comes from Proverbs 31 of the Bible—and points to sisterhood, empowerment, legacy, and self-determination.

In the verse, it tells the story of a virtuous, hard-working woman that builds legacy for herself and her family. Sound familiar?

[10] Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. [11] The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. [12] She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. [13] She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

This passage inspired Domaine Curry’s ethos—which is now emblazoned on the labeling of its 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon and Founders Blend—in the form of a burning lamp that also doubles as two women’s faces. The rebrand was almost surgical in nature, leaving no touchstone unturned.

“We worked on this for a very long time—this is really an ode to the powerful women in our lives,” Curry-Lee tells ESSENCE. “We also wanted to do this because our family is well-known for the men, we aimed to have something that was a legacy-maker for the women that we could pass down to our daughters, our nieces.”

One of the pivotal figures in the new partnership, Bukky Ekundayo, VP and General Manager of The Prisoner Wine Company shares that the move was natural.

“I think ultimately it came down how authentic Sydel, Ayesha and the entire family are—they’re really clear about their values,” Ekundayo tells ESSENCE. “And that drives the partnerships that they take on, the businesses that they start, the way they present themselves. And the Prisoner Wine Company, in our own way, strive to be very values-based in who we are and how we show up and stand up within the industry.”

Despite both being high-profile public figures, Curry and Curry-Lee want to make it clear that Domaine Curry is not just a celebrity-backed brand.

“We’re still learning,” Curry tells ESSENCE candidly. “One thing is for sure, we know what we like to drink, but we’re still learning. We go through these blending sessions and they are so informative because we walk out with a new lust for the wine industry, and we know we’re meant to be there. However, we’ve dedicated to constantly educating ourselves,” Curry says, sharing she’s currently taking classes at a Napa Valley based wine school. “We’re also people that ask questions when we don’t know something. We’re not going to play it off like we do.”

The brand’s partnership with the Prisoner Wine Company comes at a time when Black women are at the forefront of wine consumership, and have increasingly (albeit slowly) grown in the area of ownership.

“The lovely Prisoner team did a deep dive on wine demographics, and found that Black women actually lead the charge when it comes to buying premium wines,” Curry points out. “And people don’t know that. I think it’s something so spectacular—it’s so special. We’re celebrating our moments, we’re pouring the wine, having the dinners, and I think it’s beautiful. And so our hope is to really just continue on that path and then bring forth this new generation of young women that to be unapologetic about reveling in life’s wins. Deciding that it’s okay to celebrate. As a team, we’ve previously spoken about how, for whatever reason, we as women, and specifically as Black women, carry guilt for celebrating and feel like it has to be all work and no play all the time. And we just don’t feel like that should be the case anymore. Our hope is to encourage women to be like, no, you can do it all.

Domaine Curry’s wine offerings can be purchased here.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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