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Industry Leaders Establish the Roots Fund Incorporated to Create Opportunities for Underrepresented Minorities

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Fund to Tackle Lack of Diversity in Wine Industry

Napa Valley, CA (July 28, 2020) — Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr., Hue Society Founder Tahiirah Habibi, and Hospitality Consultant Ikimi Dubose are excited to announce the launch of The Roots Fund. The fund was established to address the lack of diversity in the wine community, specifically amongst Black and Indigenous populations. The organization will provide resources and financial support through educational scholarship, wine education, mentorship, and job placement.

“Education and job placement are key to providing opportunities and empowering underrepresented minorities in the wine industry. The Roots Fund is committed to providing a pathway to those seeking a career in the wine industry – whether you want to be a sommelier or a winemaker. We want to help provide opportunities in all aspects of wine,” says The Roots Co-founder and Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, Jr.

The Roots Fund will work in tandem with the Hue Society, which is led by Tahiirah Habibi. Hue Society is on the forefront of advocacy for breaking down barriers for wine and culture in the Black community.

“For the organization to thrive, we will need wine professionals willing to educate and mentor passionate learners to help them be great candidates for wine industry roles. Mentorship is so important for underrepresented minorities, because it provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success in school and beyond. The Hue Society is honored to support the mission of The Roots Fund,” says Hue Society Founder Tahiirah Habibi.

The fund launches with 20 scholarships to be utilized in college education, enology programs, wine schools, and graduate internships. The mentorship program will include sommeliers, wine shop owners, vineyard managers, and others in the industry to provide students access to a wide array of elite wine professionals. In addition, the fund will place 25 students at vineyards across the country. 

“The pathway forward is rooted in providing financial support for education, and we look forward to working with wine programs across the country to change the narrative,” says Hospitality Consultant and The Roots Co-Founder Ikimi Dubose.

The Roots Fund is pleased to announce the following companies that have pledged to support its vision. Partners include: Bergström Wines, Brown Estate Vineyards, Coastal Vineyard Care Associates, Continuum, Dalle Valle, Domaine De La Cote, Domaine Dujac, Duckhorn, Heitz Cellar, Inglenook, Ink Grade Estate, Jonata, Kosta Browne, Littorai Wines, Matt Taylor Wines, McBride Sisters Collection, Pax Wine Cellar, Pisoni Vineyards, RAEN Winery,  Signorello, Villa Creek, 3 Parks Wine Shop, Graft Wine Shop, Maison Noir Wines, Verve Wine Shop, Parcelle Wine Shop and La Fête du Rosé. The Roots Fund deeply appreciates the early support of these notable wineries and retailers.

About The Roots Fund

The Roots Fund was built to create financial support, mentorship, and job placement opportunities for people of color in the wine industry. The focus of the organization is to provide mentorship to the Black & Indigenous communities interested in pursuing a career in the wine while creating inclusivity for underrepresented minorities. For more information and to learn how you can help, visit www.therootsfund.org.

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