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A Protest Wine

You think I’m going to stop singing that song? Your grandkids will be singing “Strange Fruit.” 

 —The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021)

One of the most haunting images of all time, "The Lynching of Thomas Ships and Abram Smith," was captured by Lawrence Beitler in 1930.  In 1937, that photograph inspired Abel Meeropol, a Jewish school teacher and union activist, to compose a poem that later became the most influential protest song of the twentieth century, "Strange Fruit." 


Abel Meeropol articulated, "I wrote Strange Fruit because I hate lynching, and I hate injustice, and I hate people who perpetuate it." The Strange Fruit Collection shares Meeropol's abhorrence of racism and structural inequities that plague American society.


The haunting imagery evoked from the poignant, powerful, and shocking lyrics of the most influential protest song of the twentieth century is not yet a reflection of the past. Strange fruit still exists just in a different form.  Race-related killings and lynch-like murders still betide the Land of the Free.


Almost eight decades ago Abel Meeropol and Billie Holiday declared war against racism and injustice. The graphic, unapologetic, and stark "Strange Fruit" must play in the soul of each American until that war is won. The Strange Fruit Collection intends to stir the consciousness of the American public and spark challenging conversations among the American people. 


There is power in protest and stagnation in silence.



There is power in protest and stagnation in silence.

The Strange Fruit Collection vows to carry on the legacy of the song, "Strange Fruit" and to fight in the complex battle toward racial equality by using the wine industry as a platform for political and social protest.

Red Wine


How We Got Here

The inception of The Strange Fruit Collection was on July 3, 2017. While scrolling on Instagram at a National Education Association teaching convention, we came across a rosé called, "White Girl Rosé."  We were taken aback by such a name. As we looked up information about the rosé, we came across an article on VinePair and decided that if a group of white men can create a brand that airs the ¨grievances¨ of ¨white girl problems¨ such as ¨being too tired to go to the Hamptons, having a body, and thinking about [their] hair,¨ we could create a wine that airs the real grievances of our problems: systemic racism and police brutality. We just didn´t know what to call our brand or our wines.


In March, 2018, Stephon Clark of Sacramento was shot 20 times while standing in his grandmother's backyard. Police officers believed he had a gun. He was only holding a cellphone. The district attorney declined to file criminal charges. A few months later, Botham Jean was murdered by an off duty cop, Amber Guyger, while he was seated on his sofa in his home eating ice cream. Guyger said that she thought she had entered her apartment and that Jean was an intruder. Though the maximum sentence available was 99 years and prosecutors asked that she be sentenced to 28 years, Guyer was found guilty of murder and sentenced to only 10 years in prison. After watching Jean's story on the news, tears of disgust, fear, rage, and sadness tiptoed out of our eyes.  As we wondered if WE mattered, if Black Lives really Mattered. At that moment  we decided on the names #BlackLivesMatter Moscato and #SayHerName Sweet Red Blend for our wines. And, in honor of the protest song/poem ¨Strange Fruit,¨  we decided to name our brand Strange Fruit Wines. In April 2018, nine months after deciding to create a wine brand for us, we incorporated The Strange Fruit Collection.  


The calamities before then and since then are far too familiar and reoccurring.  


We are public school educators by day who have always focused not only on our curriculum and pedagogy but also on social and racial justice. Education, advocacy, and activism are who we are and what we do--naturally. Ever since we came up with the idea of using wine as a platform for protest, we worked tirelessly in order to launch our product. The development of the wines took longer than expected, and we had to overcome many obstacles; nevertheless, we’re proud of how far we’ve come, yet remain committed to excellence and expansion knowing we have so far to go. We just wanted to create something that MATTERS, so we did.

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