7 Organizations Promoting Diversity Within the Wine Industry

This week was National White Wine Day. Which is not to be confused with National Wine Day, which falls on May 25th. Yes, there truly is a day for everything… but I digress.

In honor of the momentous occasion, we’re opening up a bottle of Viognier and highlighting organizations that are promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the wine space.

Though the industry is traditionally dominated by white men, Vine Pair’s research shows that wineries with female lead winemakers “outshine” those having male lead winemakers. Companies with diverse leadership perform better than companies that don’t, and at this year’s Bar & Restaurant Expo (formerly Nightclub & Bar Show), TaChelle Lawson of FIG Firm presented a conference session on the diversity dollar, and how strong DEI initiatives are good for your bottom line.

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Why? Because your audience is diverse. The majority of wine is being purchased and consumed by women, and almost 40% of the American population identifies as non-white, so there’s a lot of purchasing power available for those willing to embrace new communities. As Sophia Longhi writes, “the wine industry simply doesn’t reflect the wine market and it is under-representing more than half of its consumers.”

Ultimately, more representation is better for everyone: suppliers, buyers and consumers.

Whether you’re a person of color (POC) looking to learn more about wine and viticulture, or you’re a company looking for great organizations to support, read on to find out about these seven communities working to normalize diversity within the wine industry. All of the organizations below are dedicated to POC and margninalized communities, but if you know of any AAPI-focused wine initiatives and organziations, let us know!

Association of African American Vintners (AAAV)


Founded in 2002, this non-profit seeks to raise the profiles of African American vintners, foster a community among growers, wineries and industry groups, increase awareness of diversity in the industry and facilitate access to wine-related information and education. They have several membership tiers available, from a Vintner/Grower Membership all the way to a Student Membership. Recently, the AAAV helped form the Black Winemakers Scholarship Fund (in partnership with Urban Connoisseurs and the United Negro College Fund) to support African Americans entering the wine industry.


Diversity in Wine & Spirits

Diversity in Wine & Spirits develops global diversity and inclusion initiatives that pave the way for anyone to succeed within the industry. In addition to their leadership and professional development resources, they also offer consulting services and provide scholarships and grants to assist marginalized and underrepresented professionals advance their education within hospitality.


Wine Unify

Wine Unify is dedicated to bringing education to ethnic and racial minorities within the wine industry, through three main initiatives. The Welcome Initiative embraces new members through sponsorship, mentorship and outreach opportunities, including a sponsored level 1 Award in Wine through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Their Elevate Initiative uplifts established members of the community through education funding and mentorship. And finally, the Amplify Initiative celebrates successful members of their community, who make up their mentors, supporters and leaders.


Wine Empowered


Wine Empowered is a non-profit that provides tuition-free wine classes to women and minorities in the hospitality industry. Their goal is to help nurture the future leaders of the industry through their classes, mentoring services and robust network of sommeliers and other hospitality professionals. The 16-week program welcomes female and POC students to explore the world of wine, without spending thousands of dollars in tuition. Their classes cover the fundamental aspects of wine education using GuildSomm resources, and each student receives a one-year membership to GuildSomm.


RELATED: 4 Ways Bars & Restaurants Can Support the AAPI Community 

The Roots Fund

The Roots Fund is dedicated to empowering and enriching communities of color through wine. They rely on donations to provide resources, financial support, educational scholarships, mentorships, and even job placements for POC within the industry. The organization is committed to supporting their students for life, even securing commitments from dozens of venues, from wineries to distributors, to hiring Roots Fund students. As they say, “the future of wine is colorful”.


Black Wine Professionals

Founded by industry veteran Julia Coney, Black Wine Professionals is a resource and support system for the Black community within wine. Everyone from journalists to ‘grape whisperers’ and retail owners is welcome to join their community, which is becoming the go-to resource of brands and companies to find Black wine talent. As they explain on their site, “Black Wine Professionals have been overlooked and absent from conversations, tastings, product marketing and much more. That changes now because we’re here and we aren’t going anywhere.”


Hue Society

Hue Society is a hub for Black wine professionals to seek support, learn and find resources. Founded by sommelier Tahiirah Babibi (who’s also the co-founder of Roots Fund Initiative), Hue Society goes beyond education. They facilitate connections and experiences, and celebrate Black excellence through their incredible, immersive events. They work closely with the Roots Fund Initiative.


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