CEO Fawn Weaver found almost instant success with the creation of Uncle Nearest.

The female, African-American-owned whiskey company based in Shelbyville, Tennessee, is a tribute to Nearest Green, a formally enslaved man who was the original distiller of Jack Daniel’s. After groundbreaking success with Uncle Nearest, Weaver’s ambitions transcend Tennessee by entering the Cognac market with the purchase of Domaine Saint Martin, a 100-acre estate in the heart of the Cognac region’s Grande Champagne district. Situated on the Charente River, the acquisition makes Uncle the largest Grande Champagne vineyard owner in Cognac. Domaine Saint Martin features 50 acres of Grande Champagne vineyards and adjoins a cooperage, aging cellars, and a Cognac distillery.

Weaver tapped industry veterans Adrian Parker as President, Brielle Caruso as CMO, and Chauncey Hamlett from The Formulation Group, head of innovation. The mission, according to Weaver in the company press release, entails “exhaustive historical research as the foundation, collaborating with a globally renowned artist to amplify the story, assembling a top-tier team that is finely attuned to the discerning Cognac consumer’s desires, and then securing a well-known historic property as provenance.” With Uncle Nearest collaborator and actor Jeffrey Wright as spokesman, all boxes are checked for the unnamed cognac company to move forward. While there is not much information regarding the timeline, the company promises more information in 2024.

“The Uncle Nearest brand thrives on its profound story of love, honor, respect, and heritage. Our mission in Cognac echoes this essence.”

— Fawn Weaver, Uncle Nearest Founder and CEO

John McCarthy is a spirit, travel, and lifestyle journalist, managing editor, and author of The Modern Gentleman and Whiskey Rebels: The Dreamers, Visionaries & Badasses Who Are Revolutionizing American Whiskey. McCarthy is also editor of Barleycorn Drinks and Director of Judging of the John Barleycorn Awards.