The idea for the new OWN drama, which follows a Black family wine business, came eight years ago to creator and executive producer Janine Sherman Barrois during a trip to Rideau Vineyard in Santa Barbara. It was the first time she’d seen a winery run by Black people and it made a lasting impression.
When the patriarch of the House of Kings winery leaves his family behind, his three children must fight to maintain control of their burgeoning vineyard. The series stars Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Reginald King, Ebonee Noel as middle child August, Rance Nix as eldest child Dana, and Ashlee Brian as the youngest, Christian, who manages the company’s bottling facility. The cast also includes Karen LeBlanc, Devika Parikh, and Yaani King Mondschein as the family’s staff.
The show premiered Jan. 11 on OWN TV and Hulu. Along with NBC’s Grand Crew and ABC’s Promised Land, the series joins a growing trend of scripted TV shows that highlight wines made by Black entrepreneurs.
Like its predecessors, the show is a juicy stew of secrets, money, and family squabbles. But it also delves into hot-button issues in the wine industry, including how to market wines to Millennials, and tackles the often-overlooked topic of racism in the industry.
The Kings of Napa is a welcome addition to the network’s lineup and a solid entry in the race for the next hit scripted show. It’s a little cheesier than HBO’s Succession, but with a great cast and prime positioning on the Oprah Winfrey Network, it has potential to be a ratings winner.
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