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Assemblage Symposium Returns In-Person to Highlight Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Wine Industry


Diverse wine luminaries from over ten U.S. cities will take the stage in Oregon May 3-4, 2022

Willamette Valley, OR (April 8, 2022) – Assemblage, an Oregon-based 501c3 nonprofit organization working to address disparities in the global wine industry, is pleased to announce the in-person return of its annual event, the Assemblage Symposium, happening May 3-4, 2022 at Abbey Road Farm in Carlton, Oregon.

Assemblage was founded in 2019 to address disparities–in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, age, and education–in the global world of wine. Conceived by queer Oregon wine professional Rachel Adams, who contributed to some of the Willamette Valley’s top winery teams in the last ten years, Assemblage offered its first annual Symposium in January of 2020 just prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event drew over 300 attendees and 25 speakers from across the United States for two days of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and breakout sessions aimed particularly at the advancement and empowerment of diverse women in wine.

Assemblage Symposium 2020. Credit: Carolyn Wells-Kramer

As COVID-19 spread across the world, sharply affecting marginalized communities, and racial justice took center stage in the summer of 2020, Assemblage expanded its mission to reflect the urgent need for justice for all marginalized people working in wine. “Assemblage started as a way to mobilize and advance women in wine,” said Founder and Executive Director Rachel Adams. “We’ve taken an intersectional approach to this work since our founding, but the last two years have further unearthed the need for urgent, widescale investments in a just and equitable future for all. In wine, that means passing the mic to those often omitted from or spoken over in our cellars, vineyards, tasting rooms, restaurants, and educational settings.”

After COVID-19 forced the postponement of the Assemblage Symposium in 2021, the organization is thrilled to welcome the wine industry and its partners to return in May for the revitalization of the in-person gathering.

Centering the experiences and contributions of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and otherwise diverse wine industry luminaries, the Symposium is expected to draw nearly 400 winery owners, hospitality professionals, sommeliers, winemakers, vineyard managers and stewards, journalists, wine educators, wine marketers, and beyond.

The two-day event will highlight speakers from over ten cities around the world including New York City, Los Angeles, Napa, Austin, Denver, Seattle, and Portland.

Assemblage Symposium highlights will feature:

“Deconolize Your Palate” – a seminar on the unlimited wine pairing possibilities with global cuisines led by sommelier, writer, and activist Miguel de Léon (Pinch Chinese – NYC) and Alice Achayo (The Wine Linguist – Boston, MA)

“Pandemic Lessons on Productivity and Self-care” – a panel discussion between wine industry entrepreneurs Maryam Ahmed (Culinary Institute of America, Maryam + Company – Napa, CA), Rania Zayyat (Lift Collective – Austin, TX), and Maia Parish (The Wine Suite – Denver, CO)

“A Future for Farming that Unpacks the Past” – a panel discussion featuring BIPOC regenerative farmers and land advocates Dr. Melissa Bird (The Mermaid’s Garden, Corvallis, OR), Silvia Cuesta (Friends of Family Farmers, Portland, OR)

“Addressing Workplace Abuse: the Restorative Justice Approach” – a keynote address by positive organizational psychologist Dr. Kim Perkins (Los Angeles, CA)

“Yes, You Can Make Wine Too!” – an energizing seminar for aspiring winemakers by first-time winemaker, sommelier, and travel expert Chevonne Ball

“Nike N7 and Building Relationships with Indigenous Communities” – a keynote address by Sam McCracken, member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes, Nike N7 General Manager, and the World Economic Forum’s Shwab Foundation “Intrapraneur of the Year 2022”

“Knowledge is Power: AHIVOY Graduates Speak” – a panel discussion moderated by AHIVOY Co-Founder Sofía Torres-McKay highlighting recent graduates of the program. AHIVOY offers wine education and English as a second language (ESL) programming to Oregon’s vineyard stewards

In addition to the exceptionally complex program, the Assemblage Symposium is also known for its stylistic flair and refreshingly nontraditional event features. 2022’s event will see the return of the beloved “introverts lounge,” a quiet and inclusive space for attendees to recharge, and the “parents lounge,” a private space for attendees who are breastfeeding or who have children.

New this year:

The “BIPOC Lounge,” a safe and BIPOC-only space for making further connections and building community

The “Diversify Wine Classic,” a walk-around tasting following the first day of programming on Tuesday, May 3rd and highlighting BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled-led, and women-led wineries

Global cuisine focus for all Symposium meals, sourced from local BIPOC chefs and vendors

Private speakers-and-media-only dinner on Monday, May 2nd at the brand new event space from northwest culinary experiences powerhouse Tournant

General Admission tickets to the Assemblage Symposium are on sale now. For more information, please visit www.assemblagesymposium.com.

Assemblage is currently accepting media inquiries for journalist event attendance, private dinner attendance, and overall media coverage. If you would like to participate in this year’s event, please email [email protected]

About Assemblage:

Assemblage is an Oregon-based nonprofit organization working to address disparities in the global wine industry tied to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and education. Through our annual Symposium in Oregon, we amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and otherwise diverse wine professionals in the service of an equitable future for the wine industry that nourishes and serves all.

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