By Shirley Hawkins
INGLEWOOD — Sisters LeAnn Jones, a lawyer, and Leslie Jones, an event planner, enjoy drinking wine.
“We found ourselves always traveling to wine bars that we loved that were located in Culver City, downtown Los Angeles or Santa Monica,” LeAnn said. “We used to go to these bars all the time.”
The sisters, who grew up in Inglewood, always wondered why there was no wine bar in the city.
“We discovered that Inglewood had never had a wine bar before,” Leslie said. “After we found out that there had never been a wine bar in Inglewood, my sister LeAnn came up with the idea to start one.
“We were tired of traveling from Inglewood to frequent wine bars and we decided to establish a wine bar right here in the city where we lived.”
The sisters secured a building at 1010 La Brea Avenue in Inglewood. They named their business 1010 Wine and Events and began to work on their dream.
“We obtained a business license in July 2019 and we hit the ground running right away,” LeAnn said.
But COVID-19, along with problems that continued to plague the building, caused the project to be halted. Realizing they had to improvise, the two sisters found themselves holding virtual wine tastings on Zoom during the pandemic.
“Construction of the building was restarted in December of 2020 and we opened the wine bar in August of 2021,” LeAnn said.
“We wanted 1010 Wine Bar and Events to be upscale but we wanted it to feel like home,” Leslie said. “We decorated it with a lot of earth tones like brown and gray and then accented the decor with orange and gold.”
Since the grand opening, 1010 Wine Bar and Events has been filled with customers five nights a week and the sisters have been overwhelmed with the response.
“We have yet to advertise, but we have gotten a lot of community support through word of mouth,” Leslie said. “People are telling their friends and family about 1010 Wine Bar and Events.”
“We try to do something different every night,” LeAnn added. “We have jazz nights and happy hours, and on Fridays we have a DJ to play music. On Saturdays, we have meet the winemaker events where customers can participate in free wine tastings.
“We want our customers to enjoy drinking the wine but also be educated about where the wine came from,” she said.
The sisters also offer a menu of tasty dishes and recently added Sunday brunch to their events that has become a favorite destination for their customers.
One of the sisters’ goals was to feature African-American winemakers. The two sisters conducted research and contacted a number of Black wineries across the country.
“We now have 90 to 100 beer, wine and champagne selections that we carry that are Black-owned,” said LeAnn.
One of the vintners that the sisters reached out to when starting their fledgling business were Robin and Andrea McBride, two sisters who run the Oakland-based The McBride Sisters Wine Company, the largest Black-owned wine company in the country.
“They immediately made themselves available to us and they became our mentors,” Leslie said. “We carry their Black Girl Magic wine and they have been generous with their advice. They are definitely our sisters in wine.”
Celebrities have also flocked to 1010 Wine and Events, including Erica Campbell, Stevie Wonder, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Debbie Allen and Pauletta Washington.
“We’ve held events for Amazon, Nike, Jordan, Apple and Hennessey. People have continued to reach out to us,” Leslie said.
“We did the recent unveiling of the cover of Essence magazine that featured Jessica Betts and Niecy Nash,” LeAnn added. “News of the bar has been spreading through word of mouth. People have been telling their clients about us which is making 1010 Wine Bar and Events known.”
The sisters are also doing their part to support several philanthropy efforts.
“We are advocating for three causes that 1010 Wine Bar and Events is supporting,” the sisters said. “One cause is education. Our mother was an educator. We are trying to make higher education more accessible to people in our community. Our grandfather always stressed higher education to us.
“The second cause is social justice. LeAnn worked with people that were on death row who were innocent. She is very involved in equality when it comes to the justice system,” Leslie said.
LeAnn said that she was actually able to set free one death row inmate who was serving life behind bars. Although the wine bar now takes up most of her time, she said, “I am still working with attorneys in the legal field.”
The third cause is colon cancer.
“Our mother passed away from colon cancer at the age of 53,” Leslie said. “We do a lot of awareness to help spread the word. We’ve partnered with the Colon Cancer Alliance and we’ve done a lot of events when it comes to screening for colon cancer. A portion of our earnings goes to colon cancer research.
“I think that wine is special because of how it brings people together,” LeAnn said. “You are able to open the bottle and have conversations, and it is tied into other cultures as well. It complements art, music and food and people bond over the wine. It’s not only a drink, it’s a culture that allows people to come together.”
1010 Wine and Events is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Sundays they are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for brunch. It is located at 1010 N. La Brea Ave, Inglewood, phone: (424) 331-9400.
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.