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Raise a glass to this trailblazer

Steve Byfield, creator of Canada’s only Black-owned wine label, pairs his award-winning bottles with global cuisine.  

Watch now – The Nyarai Cellars story 

While some vintners hold strict rules about food pairing, winemaker Steve Byfield takes a different approach, suggesting a number of his award-winning wines could pair well with Jamaican favourites like jerk chicken and beef patties. As Canada’s only Black wine owner, Steve is used to giving customers a different perspective on Niagara-region bottles. In fact, he shares that patrons have said, “I’ve never heard of our food being matched with wines in this way.” 

Launched in 2008, his label Nyarai Cellars is one of a small number of virtual operations, meaning he doesn’t own a vineyard or winemaking facility and instead sources grapes from various locations in the area to create high-quality, small batch barrels.   

Early on, customers assumed he was simply a part-time employee behind the bar, instead of the owner. “It’s kind of hard to get inspiration when you don’t see someone who looks like you.” The brand’s name is a nod to Steve’s roots and means “humility” in a South African dialect.  

Since then, he’s won both awards and accolades along with thanks from the next generation of wine makers grateful to see diversity in the industry. The brand also continues to win fans with every sip.