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Unheard Voices in Wine, a Two-Part Series Hosted by SommCon and Diversity in Wine and Spirits, Launches June 26, 2020 via Zoom


Panel of Prominent Black Wine Professionals Discuss Diversity in the Wine Industry in New Virtual Series

San Diego, CA (June 23, 2020) –SommCon®, a leading conference for wine, beer, and spirit professionals and serious enthusiasts, co-hosts the Unheard Voices in Wine webinar series with Diversity in Wine and Spirits (DWS). The two-part series amplifies melanated voices through necessary conversations that address the lack of representation of black individuals in the wine industry, issues relating to black industry professionals, and how allies can help create a more diverse and inclusive environment moving forward.

The panel is fully comprised of black wine professionals who provide meaningful and tangible solutions in an effort to shift the wine industry’s current paradigm. With more to come, confirmed panelists for part one are as follows:

  • MODERATOR: Lia Jones, Executive Director, Diversity in Wine and Spirits
  • CO-MODERATOR: Philippe André, US Ambassador, Champagne Charles Heidsieck
  • DLynn Proctor, Director, Fantesca Estate
  • Brenae Royal, Vineyard Manager, Monte Rosso/Gallo
  • Rick Arline, Wine Director, Auburn Los Angeles
  • Deniece Bourne, Business Development Manager, WSET

“DWS has been conducting research in the wine industry for the past 2 years,” says Lia Jones, Executive Director of Diversity in Wine and Spirits. “We have found that there have been panels featuring all-black wine professionals however this will be the first of its kind for a major wine conference. This is history in the making and we are excited to be part of a change that is long overdue.”

During part one of Unheard Voices in Wine, panelists acknowledge specific companies within the industry who exemplify diversity and emphasize tools and strategies that can be learned from them. Additional topics being discussed during the first webinar include hiring practices post COVID-19 relating to marginalized professionals, how educational organizations such as WSET are addressing diversity issues, and the importance of having diversity demonstrated on boards and leadership teams.

Part one of Unheard Voices in Wine is to be held via Zoom on Friday June 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. PDT. Stay tuned for details of the second webinar in the Unheard Voices in Wine series.

Visit HERE to register for the two-part webinar series.  

The webinar will be available for continued viewing in the SommCon resource center and profiled in an upcoming issue of The Tasting Panel Magazine. For additional resources and articles on the Unheard Voices in Wine series, visit SommConUSA.com/blog.

ABOUT SOMMCONSommCon® is a leading conference and exposition for sommelier-level education and training of wine professionals and serious enthusiasts. Held bi-annually in D.C. and San Diego, the conference brings together industry professionals of all levels to discuss, develop, and lead the conversation on the business of wine.  SommCon’s® education is built by Sommeliers for trade professionals and serious enthusiasts who have a passion for wine and spirits and an unyielding quest for knowledge. Attendees learn and taste their way through keynote sessions and educational classes.  SommCon® is produced by Fast Forward, an event management agency specializing in productions for the wine, beer, spirits and hospitality industries, fastforwardevents.com.

ABOUT DIVERSITY IN WINE & SPIRITS: Diversity in Wine and Spirits was founded in 2018 by Lia Jones to create a more inclusive international hospitality industry. It is the first food and beverage focused non profit organization that supports all spectrums of diversity by providing career guidance, scholarships, educational seminars and other resources. DWS also consults with companies and organizations offering solutions to diversity and inclusion related matters. Some of the services provided include developing and facilitating Diversity Councils, creating structured diversity plans and optimizing existing D&I initiatives.

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