For Bertony Faustin, Oregon’s first Black winemaker, his business is bigger than wine. It is a testament to his life while fostering humanity, community building, and positive change.
Abbey Creek Vineyard was born out of discovering the Brooklyn native’s own way of turning winemaking into a fully functioning business. In 2008, Faustin became the first recorded Black winemaker in Oregon, impressively with no background or family legacy in the industry. His father’s death in 2007 was the catalyst he needed to change in his life.
“Because I got here through tragedy…the normal rules didn’t apply to me,” Faustin said, the son of Haitian-immigrant parents, according to Forbes. “I didn’t have to fall in line. I created this for me. I modeled my business after my life and how I treat people.”
He continued: “I modeled my business (on) who I am, the type of people I want to be around and how I want to change the world,” he said. “I do everything that I want to do, and I make a great living doing that.”
Since its first release in 2008, Abbey Creek, also called The Crick, has produced small batches of chardonnay, pinot gris, and pinot noir, according to Travel Portland. The latest pinot is called #Roundawaygurl, which is described as a “love-me or leave-me-alone style of wine that you can dress up or dress down depending on the type of mood or atmosphere.”
“People would walk in the door and always be surprised that I was the owner, or I was the winemaker,” said Faustin. So he leaned into where the wine industry will allow him to go.
A changemaker at heart, Faustin specifically created three batches to raise funds for charitable causes—“Diva” and “Sleettown” (both 2015 pinot noirs) and “Afrodite” (a 2016 rose de pinot).
With intention, wine lovers won’t find the bottles in retail shops or bars. In fact, Faustin would prefer his wines shipped to consumers or be sold at one of his Portland’s tasting rooms.
“I don’t want anybody in control of when I make my wine, when I sell it and when it has to be ready…If I get to sell every bottle of my wine, I get to share the story I want, as opposed to letting somebody else do that for me,” he said.
In 2020, Faustin opened a second Portland location of Abbey Creek which boasts tasting rooms, a laid back atmosphere and a DJ that spins hip-hop music. From the Corner Store (merch area) to the communal seating, Abbey Creek intends to feed your soul with love, magic, and moments.
Faustin ha plans to open a third location in Washington State, as well as outposts in Georgia and other East Coast states.