NAPA, October 2, 2020 – Wine Unify, a nonprofit organization founded to champion and promote diversity within the wine business, is proud to announce 20 recipients of its first annual Welcome Awards, doubling the initial goal of providing 10 opportunities as part of its first initiative.
Each Welcome Award includes: a fully-funded Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 Certification course through the Napa Valley Wine Academy; glassware for tasting provided by Stölzle; additional funding for supplemental study wines from Wine.com; and collective mentorship with Wine Unify’s team of wine professionals. These awards are one piece of the organization’s core mission to welcome, elevate, and amplify the voices of underrepresented minorities in the wine business.
The significant number of passionate, determined applicants combined with generous founding donations from supporters allowed Wine Unify to provide more awards than expected in its first year.
“Our goal at Wine Unify is to change the access, change the optics, and reshape aspirations for women and men of color in the wine industry,” says co-founder DLynn Proctor.
Individuals who applied for the Welcome Awards but who were not recipients this year will be provided with mentorship sessions led by Wine Unify board member and mentor, Alicia Towns Franken. “The mentorship sessions are a way to continue building community. Our mission to drive inclusivity extends beyond just giving awards. We are here to help change this industry.”
The Welcome Initiative is just one piece within Wine Unify’s core mission to create equity within the wine industry. Just as critical is their Elevate Initiative, which includes awards for those already working within the wine industry who need support pursuing higher level WSET credentials, funding for wine, and one on one mentorship.
“We are just getting started,” co-founder Mary Margaret McCamic MW says. “We are thoughtfully balancing our resources and funding to provide long-term, robust support within the wine business and promote real, lasting change.”
Wine Unify plans to offer its Elevate Awards for wine professionals of color already working within the wine industry in both the winter of 2020 and into 2021. “I can’t wait for the day that one of our early recipients becomes a mentor for others within the Wine Unify community,” says co-founder Martin Reyes MW. “This is not simply a moment; it is a movement.”
The full list of recipients can be found on Wine Unify’s website, www.wineunify.org/welcome, along with details about the organization’s mission, initiatives, and details for the upcoming Elevate Awards.