Paula Harrell grew up in the Bay Area, one of five children. Born to an immigrant mother and a Tulsa, Oklahoma-born father, she learned the importance of hard work early on.rom her toddler to teen years Harrell was a performer — at one time performing with a famous group called Tony Orlando and Dawn. She even did some print modeling.While as an undergrad at UCLA, Harrell experienced wine for the first time during a study abroad program in Spain. “I kind of fell in love with wine culture before I fell in love with wine,” she said. That experience would ultimately lead her to becoming one of the first African American female winemakers and launching her own label, P. Harrell Wines. But there’s no vineyard. Harrell purchases grapes then uses a custom crushing facility to produce the product. It took years to get all the pieces in place.