Black-owned brand highlighting South African wines launches in Atlanta

Ingrid Best founded IBest Wines to shine a light on South African Wines.
(Courtesy of Grace Bukunmi)

Credit: Grace Bukunmi

Credit: Grace Bukunmi

Ingrid Best founded IBest Wines to shine a light on South African Wines. (Courtesy of Grace Bukunmi)

A trip to South Africa made Ingrid Best’s dream of launching a wine brand into a plan.

Best, whose IBest Wines line recently became available in Georgia, is an avid wine and art collector, with more than 20 years of marketing and sales experience, working for some of the largest names in the spirits business.

She is based in the Bay Area of California, where she grew up. She had assumed that if she ever launched a brand combining her love of wine, art and culture, it would highlight Napa. But then a friend invited her on the trip to South Africa.

“I was sitting in a restaurant, opening the menu, and I see all this wine, and it was all from South Africa — beautiful varietals and blends,” she said. “It was an ‘aha’ moment of serendipity.”

Although she had been in the spirits industry for years, she didn’t know much about South African wine, so she roamed the region, wanting to learn more.

The culture of South Africa immediately enchanted Best, and she wanted to shed light on the country as a top wine producer. South Africa has a lower market share and often less visible shelf space than such wine areas as Napa, Italy or France.

IBest's wines are blended in partnership with Stellenbosch Vineyards in South Africa. Courtesy of IBest Wines

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

She and the other Black women who make up her team spent time in South Africa, meeting with prospective partner wineries, and eventually settled on Stellenbosch Vineyards.

“They were keen to allow me to work closely with one of their winemakers, Bernard Claassen,” Best said. “I wasn’t looking for wine that was already bottled or ready to be bottled. I was looking for wine that had been in barrels that I could blend.”

IBest features a red blend ($38) and a white blend ($33).

“We wanted aficionados to respect and enjoy the wine,” Best said, “but we want to welcome the person who maybe hasn’t gone that far on the journey of drinking and discovering wine.”

The red is easy to drink, blending cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, petit syrah and malbec, with notes of cherry and black currant, as well as the aroma of jasmine.

The white blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc has notes of peach, lemon grass and honeysuckle on the nose. But what Best really digs is the slight effervescence. “There’s this freshness kind of tingling on your palate that is so beautiful,” she said. “It’s that minerality from the soil of South Africa.”

The brand finally launched on ReserveBar in October 2023, selling out in a mere six hours. Best, who self-funded the project initially, noted that “although women are leading the charge as it relates to new businesses that are proven to be attractive for acquisition, we have a much more difficult time raising capital than our male counterparts.”

Sarah Pierre (left) of 3 Parks Wine Shop and Ingrid Best of IBest Wines are seen at a recent dinner held at Yebo Beach Haus in Atlanta to celebrate the arrival of IBest in Georgia. Courtesy of Rae-Vaughn Lucas

Credit: Rae-Vaughn Lucas

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Credit: Rae-Vaughn Lucas

“I want to be an example for the dreamers out there,” Best said. She offers all members of her team equity in the brand. “One of the joys of life is to be a mentor and it is hugely important that this group of women are owners and founding members.”

Mayor Andre Dickens welcomed the brand in a letter read at the Atlanta launch dinner, and Best is excited about the wine being distributed in Georgia, where she spent time while working in the music industry.

“Georgia is one of those places that really understands culture and female entrepreneurs,” she said. “There’s such a diverse community here, too, and it’s a mecca for Black and brown businesses.”

IBest’s wines ( are available in the metro Atlanta area at 3 Parks Wine Shop and Thompson Hotel.

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