The Disruptors: When It Comes To Wine, Ingrid Knows Best


The Disruptors is a series done each Women’s History Month that highlights Black women shaking up industries and spaces we’re commonly not found in, and opening doors for other Black women and girls in the process.

Ingrid Best knows wine and spirits. A Bay Area native who practically grew up in Napa’s backyard, she played an influential role in developing some of the world’s most iconic brands while working with wine and spirits industry giants like Combs Enterprises, Moët Hennessy, Bacardi, and Diageo. She’s also the only marketing executive to manage joint venture spirits partnerships for the likes of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. And she’s developed a formidable palate along the way.

That’s part of the reason Best decided to step out on her own and launch her namesake label, IBest Wines, in 2023. As a powerhouse marketing executive who’s navigated the wine and spirits industry for more than 20 years, if there was anyone with the expertise to make a mark in the world of wine, it’s her. However, IBest Wines provides more than just a glass of something new and delicious for vino lovers to drink—Best’s wines represent a shift in a historically and predominantly white male-dominated industry.

Less than one percent of wineries in the U.S. are Black-owned or have a Black winemaker at the helm of operations. In her work as a CEO and wine négociant of her brand, Best proves that this is a space Black women can participate in and excel at.

The Disruptors: When It Comes To Wine, Ingrid Knows Best
IBest Wines

“I’m building my own brand and legacy, and it’s much more personal work,” says Best. “This is my namesake, and I’m building it for myself, my family, my team, and to show other Black and Brown people that we too can disrupt the industry and create more shelf space for brands owned by us.”

So far, IBest Wines has released a luscious, bold red blend made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petit Syrah, and Malbec and a lively and elegant white blend comprised of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Sauvignon Blanc. The wines are made in Stellenbosh, South Africa’s premier wine region. “South Africa is the epicenter of culture,” Best says of her choice to create a brand with wine sourced from the country. “The unique blend of people, wine, art, fashion, music, and design create a culture unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve traveled quite extensively. The energy when you land in Cape Town or Johannesburg is palpable.”

Much of the reason behind Best’s decision to use South African wine for her brand aligns with her longtime championing of people of color, particularly women, in high-level positions. Best is all for the underrepresented.

Throughout her career as a marketing executive, she’s advocated for more representation and has leveraged her experience and influence to elevate others. In a past role, she hired a team of all Black marketers, an effort Best says was based primarily on merit, prioritizing candidates who most represented the consumer and connected to the culture of the product she was working on. “I have always been passionate about connecting with and supporting Black and Brown women,” says Best.

The Disruptors: When It Comes To Wine, Ingrid Knows Best
IBest Wines

She’s following a similar path with IBest Wines, having hired a team of all Black women. And though she self-funded her brand for the first two years of its development, she now has a roster of investors who are also all Black women. “Black women are capable of moving mountains,” says Best. “We’ve been carrying so much for so long, and we always find a way. That’s a transferable skill in business. We also know when one of us is feeling off and provide support in those moments. That’s not always the case in many businesses and industries.”

She adds, “We create safe spaces for us to learn, grow, and to have ownership.”

While selling a wine that people of all backgrounds enjoy is the primary goal, Best hopes her work in the industry can be an example of what people of color can achieve if given the opportunity. Of course, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done to foster genuine inclusivity and diversity across industries beyond just wine and spirits. Still, she believes this can be accomplished if there is an increase in executives and folks in positions of power doing more to uplift others.

“I would like to see more people reach out and pull people up with them and to provide mentorship. I would like to see more training. Learning on the job is invaluable, and we need to create space for people to learn and make mistakes. That’s how you foster a new generation of leaders,” says Best.

With wines available in parts of the U.S.— including New York, California, and Washington D.C.— and South Africa, expansion is on the way. IBest Wines will launch next in Georgia with a series of events and activations in Atlanta centered on Women’s History Month.

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