The COVID-19 pandemic took many things away from us such as loved ones, job opportunities, graduations, and entertainment. However, at North Carolina A&T, alumnus Denzel Fleming used the COVID lockdown to birth a unique business.
Due to Fleming losing his job during the peak of COVID in 2020, he looked for a new way to succeed during that troubling time. Fleming noticed wine sales were spiking and decided to create his own line of wines. However, although the alcohol business is booming, it can be tricky. Fleming’s business venture took around 9 months to complete.
Through this lengthy process, he finally launched his debut wine collection in September of 2021 called Something to Hold You, a Muscadine table wine. Fleming stated he chose this type of wine because “it’s flavorful, bold, smooth, crisp, strong like myself."
Fleming had to make many important decisions during production such as conducting wine tastings, choosing the right price points, deciding bottle design artwork, and selecting the right winery to distribute the product. His distributor of choice was the Dublin Winery, located about 15 minutes away from his hometown of Kinston, NC. Additionally, instead of purchasing the bottle labeling through the winery, he created his own artwork forthe bottle. Amidst that artwork is a QR code which links to a website where you can find a few of Fleming's other passions — music, artwork, and photography. The website also includes a playlist full of R&B and Neo-Soul favorites to create soothing vibes consumers can enjoy while indulging in a glass of wine.
Currently, Something to Hold You is sold at Next Stop Wine Shop on 1700 Stanley Rd. in Greensboro, NC. In the near future, Fleming hopes to expand his line to be more accessible to old and new consumers. Next year, he plans on releasing a dry, red wine as well as making his wine available for delivery for customers to enjoy from their homes.
Kaylah Kelty is a Senior at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from Charlotte, NC. Currently, she is pursuing her B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations. She focuses her craft in PR on the entertainment and travel sector.