According to the United States Census Bureau, only 2.2 percent of Oregon’s residents are Black. With such small representation, it is even more important for Black people to have spaces of community and safety.

Bertony Faustin has one of the spaces as Oregon’s first Black winemaker.

Finding His Way

Based on a Forbes report, Faustin established his craft by turning his father-in-law’s hobby into a viable business. Abbey Creek is now a fully functioning business in the North Plains area.

“People would walk in the door and always be surprised that I was the owner, or I was the winemaker,” Faustin told Forbes.

He didn’t let the biases of people get to him. Instead, he fully leveraged that he was the first and championed his authenticity in the space.

“I decided, you know what? I’m not going to try to fit in. I’ll just go ahead and take this and make it my own,” he explained to Forbes.

More Than Wine

As the first Black winemaker in the state, Faustin sees his entrepreneurial endeavor as more than an extensive list of reds and whites. He wants to empower people in business. Faustin considers his work as “the first” opportunity to build a platform that teaches aspiring entrepreneurs about the power of ownership and how that can be coupled with individual happiness and societal good.

“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,” Faustin told Forbes. “I do everything that I want to do, and I make a great living doing that.”

A Human Centered Approach

Being the first isn’t always easy, but someone has to do it. And Faustin is doing it his way.

In 2020, Faustin opened a Portland location of Abbey Creek. The tasting rooms have a DJ that plays Hip-Hop music while the winery staff curates unexpected pairings for selected wines.

In both states, he asserts that humanity is the brand.

“Because I got here through tragedy … the normal rules didn’t apply to me,” Faustin said 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.”