Carissa Stephens

Co-Founder, Owner, COO, Pur Noire Wines

Carissa Stephens is a native Houston, seasoned entrepreneur, loving mother and wife. Her educational background is business management and she is a graduate of Sam Houston State University. She is also a product of UH Bauer College of Business where she completed the accountancy program and shortly thereafter worked for a Fortune 100 global energy firm in Houston. Until… a trip to Italy in 2016 ignited her passion for wine and she pursued wine as her full time career. 

Carissa is a WSET II Global Certified Sommelier, and Co-Founder/ Owner of Pur Noire Urban Wineries. Her company, Pur Noire, made history as the City of Houston’s first Black-owned winery when it opened the doors to its first tasting room in the heart of Houston in November of 2021. Despite the challenges brought on by being a start-up company that launched at the very start of the global pandemic, the company was able to persevere and has achieved exponential growth due largely in-part to Carissa’s leadership, tenacity and unwavering pursuit of her vision for the company. 

Based on the work Carissa and her husband are doing in the wine industry, they have garnered national attention becoming a widely recognized label while representing the LESS than 1% of global wine producers who are African American. In 2022, the brand received the Innovator of the Year Award from HUE Society’s Roses and Rosé Awards in Atlanta. The portfolio has garnered dozens of awards from various International Wine Competitions and currently produces more than 13 different premium and award-winning wines sourced from California. 

Pur Noire and Erion wines (the brand’s second label) are available at a growing number of fine dining establishments, hotels and even Houston Hobby Airport. Carissa and her company have recently been featured on Good Morning America, in ESSENCE Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, Houston Chronicle and many more. Pur Noire ships direct to customers across the country and is set to open its second tasting room in Dallas this year.