In this interview, we explore the remarkable journey of Shakia, the driving force behind “Cyrenity Sips Winery.” Shakia shares the origin of the winery’s name, Cyrenity, and how it encapsulates her mission for a family-owned legacy built on inclusivity, warmth, and exceptional wine experiences. As the first African-American women-owned limited winery in Pennsylvania, she unveils the challenges she overcame, primarily bureaucratic, to bring her vision to life. Discover how her personal connection to wine, inspired by family gatherings and global travels, influences her winemaking and the winery’s inviting ambiance. Join us as we delve into the heart and soul of Cyrenity Sips Winery, where family plays a vital role, and where the future holds exciting new wine varieties and expanded horizons.
Christina: What is your SwagHer? What makes Shakia, Shakia?
Shakia: What makes Shakia, Shakia is my focus on creating distinctive and enjoyable experiences, a passion I’ve had long before I opened the winery. I love traveling and spending time with family and friends. I find immense joy in life, learning and sharing these experiences, ultimately leading me to the world of wine. My love for wine and the desire to share that enthusiasm with others inspired me to embark on this winemaking journey. I honed my winemaking skills and learned the intricacies of operating a winery while working at a Virginia Beach winery.
Christina: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the name “Cyrenity Sips Winery” and how it reflects your mission and vision for the winery?
Shakia: The name Cyrenity is a portmanteau of my daughter’s name, Cyan, and the word Serenity. With this in mind, I envisioned the winery as a family-owned and operated venture passed down from generation to generation. The winery’s atmosphere embodies inclusivity, warmth, vibrancy, and fun. We are committed to promoting diversity and delivering exceptional wine experiences to all.
Christina: As the first African-American women-owned limited winery in Pennsylvania, I am sure you have faced some pretty unique challenges. What challenges did you face in establishing Cyrenity Sips Winery, and how did you overcome them?
Shakia: The wine world extended an incredibly warm and supportive welcome to my vision. The challenges I encountered were primarily bureaucratic in nature, including extended wait times from local, state, and federal agencies due to the pandemic, multiple inspections, and delays in essential repairs. Luckily, I remained persistent to ensure said agencies prioritized the winery.
Christina: You mentioned that wine has always been an integral part of your family gatherings and international travels. How has this personal connection to wine influenced the way you make wine and your winery’s overall atmosphere?
Shakia: My personal connection to wine has had a profound influence on my winemaking approach and the overall atmosphere of the winery. All of our wines are named after family, friends, and puns, which adds a personal touch. With this in mind, I craft each wine to match the personality of the individual it’s named after. For example, our Chardonnay, named after my late grandmother Eleanor, is a rich, buttery, and oaky Chardonnay, a loving ode to her preference. Moreover, our winery’s atmosphere exudes an open and vibrant ambiance, akin to a warm family gathering.
Christina: It’s wonderful that your daughter and your husband, play important roles in the winery. How does it feel to work alongside them every day?
Shakia: Working with family is an exceptional experience. We are all involved in the winemaking process and customer interactions. Yet, we’ve mastered the ability to maintain a clear separation between our professional and personal dynamics once we’re at home.
Christina: What’s next for Cyrenity Sips Winery in 2024?
Shakia: Cyrenity Sips Winery is now setting its sights on expanding its product line to include new and exciting wine varieties, further enhancing the unique experience for its customers. Additionally, we are actively exploring partnerships to broaden our distribution and introduce their exceptional wines to a wider audience.
Connect with Shakia below:
Facebook: Cyrenity Sips Winery
Read more by Christina here.