James Moss created his first wine alongside his wife for their wedding. Today, the couple have built a family-owned business that is among the “less than 1% of the 11,500 wineries across the U.S. are Black-owned,” according to Napa Valley Register.

Call it a match made in business as the couple connected during a time when Moss’s now-wife Janet worked at Domaine Carneros while obtaining her winemaking degree. They had an instant connection that would lead them to move in together and eventually say their “I Do’s” with their wine to celebrate.

“I asked her, ‘Hey, let’s just make some wine in the garage,’” Moss told Napa Valley Register. “And it came out great. It was Merlot. And so we served it at our wedding, and it was a big hit. So I said, ‘Let’s make some commercial wine.’”

The wine venture marked a pivot for James, who initially wanted to pursue a sales and marketing career when he moved to California from Texas. James’ career transition would be further affirmed after he learned about winemaking through Mark Jessup, the owner of J Gregory Cellars.

By 2001, James and Janet would officially enter business together, launching J. Moss Winery in Napa Valley, CA. They tapped Gustavo Brambila, part-owner and winemaker for Gustavo Wines, to assist them on their entrepreneurial and winemaking journey. With his help, the duo produced five barrels of Cabernet using Brambila’s facility.

“Making wine is the easy part. I tell everybody that selling it is the hard part,” Moss explained to the outlet.

Now, J. Moss Winery boasts wines including Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. The company sells online products and has secured partnerships with restaurants and steakhouses. 

James also extended J. Moss Winery’s reach to Dallas, TX, by leveraging his network.

“It started scaling a little bit at a time while we were making wine at Gus’s place,” Moss said to Napa Valley Register. “It just kept organically growing by knowing people and meeting more people. It snowballed a little bit. And in 2010, we built J. Moss out in a building in Napa.”

“There are great businesses out there, and there’s great wineries out there. You don’t have to wait until February,” Moss mentioned to the outlet. “If you’re looking for a great Cabernet and you want to venture out, you know, go check out a Black-owned winery or go check out a winery of color. But just support people because you want to.”