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Association of African American Vintners Celebrates 20 Years with Symposium, Fundraiser and Inaugural Wine Festival May 21-22, 2022

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Livermore, Calif. (April 22, 2022)—Celebrating two decades of advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the wine industry is the focus of a full weekend of events presented by the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), May 21-22, 2022. This unique Bay Area event will span three counties and highlight contributions made by the organization’s membership of wine producers, entrepreneurs and professionals. Wine lovers, students and industry members are invited to taste, network and learn with the founders of Black-owned wine brands of all sizes and from every corner of the United States.

“AAAV was founded in 2002 by Mac McDonald, Vance Sharp III and Dr. Earnest Bates—three Black winemakers who wanted to encourage people who looked like them to drink and make wine,” said Longevity Wines founder and winemaker Phil Long who became president of AAAV in 2020. “It was a very small group for many years, but the surge of support following George Floyd’s murder has helped AAAV grow to more than 200 members and award 36 scholarships just in time for our 20th anniversary.”

The weekend will begin with professional development sessions and a luncheon celebrating Black women in wine hosted by Bronco Wine Company in Napa. On Saturday evening, a fundraiser at DeLoach Vineyards in Santa Rosa will honor the founders of AAAV and members who exemplify the organization’s goals of supporting education, legacy and unity. On Sunday afternoon, more than 20 Black-owned wineries will pour their wines at the first-ever Black Vintners Wine Festival at the newly opened Kissel Uptown Oakland hotel.

AAAV’s 20th Anniversary Celebration Weekend is sponsored by Boisset Collection, Bronco Wine Company, Republic National Distributing Company, Total Wine & More, Meijer, H-E-B, Kroger and media sponsor Wine Enthusiast.

A discounted weekend pass ($475 until May 12), individual event tickets and travel options are available at www.aaavintners.org. Details on each event follow:

AAAV Wine Symposium hosted by Bronco Wine Company

  • 33 Harlow Court, Napa, CA 94558
  • May 21 ($125 per person)

Session 1, 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Explore ways to meet the financial challenges of owning a wine business and options for distributing wine. Moderated by AAAV member and Allen Wine Group senior accountant Isaiah Fitzgerald-Palacio.

Phenomenal Women in Wine Luncheon, 12-1:30 p.m.: Meet and celebrate a panel of powerful women who have championed diversity and succeeded in the wine industry. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch created by Chef Aaron LeRoi and paired with AAAV member wines. The lively discussion will be moderated by Wine Enthusiast’s assistant digital editor, J’nai Gaither, with opening remarks by Renata Franzia Price of Bronco Wine Company. Panelists include:

  • Dr. Monique Bell, consumer researcher and associate professor of marketing, California State University, Fresno
  • Dorothy J. Gaiter, senior editor of The Grape Collective and former Wall Street Journal wine columnist
  • Tahiirah Habibi, sommelier and creator of The Hue Society, co-founder Roots Fund
  • Theodora Lee, trial lawyer and owner/vintner, Theopolis Vineyards
  • Brenae Royal, Monte Rosso winery relations and vineyard operations manager, E. & J. Gallo Winery
  • Dr. Christine Wachira, first Kenyan-born American winemaker and founder/CEO, The Wachira Group

Session 2, 1:45-2:30 p.m.: Learn how to tell the story of a wine business through media and marketing from AAAV members who do it well. Moderated by journalist and wine educator Regine Rousseau of Shall We Wine.

20th Anniversary Celebration Fundraiser at DeLoach Vineyards

  • 1791 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
  • May 21, 5-7:30 p.m. ($250 per person, $450 per couple)

Join actor and wine aficionado Jay Jackson for a festive spring evening honoring the founders of AAAV and raising funds to support the future of the organization. Acclaimed wine journalist Dorothy J. Gaiter will introduce and present awards to member trailblazers in education, legacy and unity. Enjoy a casual gourmet meal paired with JCB Unity and LVE wines. Attire: vineyard chic/wine country casual.

Black Vintners Wine Festival at High 5ive lounge at Kissel Uptown Oakland

  • 437 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612
  • May 22, 12-4 p.m. ($95 per person)

Taste the wines of 20+ Black-owned brands from across America and meet the founders and winemakers behind them. Network with industry professionals and discover unique wines from participating producers including: P. Harrell Wines, Sapere Aude Sparkling, Ayaba Wines, Free Range Flower Winery, Love Cork Screw, Indigene Cellars, The Vice, Stover Oaks Winery, Jenny Dawn Cellars, Wachira Wines, J. Moss Winery, Longevity Wines, Mermosa Wines, LVE, Davidson Wine Co., Stoney Wines and McBride Sisters Collection.

About Boisset Collection

Boisset is a family-owned collection of historic and unique wineries and lifestyle destinations bound together by a common cause: authentic, terroir-driven wines in harmony with their history, their future, and the land and people essential to their existence. With more than twenty-six historical and prestigious still and sparkling wineries in the world’s preeminent terroirs, including Burgundy, Beaujolais, Jura, the Rhône Valley, the south of France, and California’s Russian River Valley, and the Napa Valley. Its California properties include: DeLoach Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards, Buena Vista Winery, JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset, Elizabeth Spencer Winery, the Oakville Grocery, and the Calistoga Depot. Its French properties feature: Domaine de la Vougeraie, Jean-Claude Boisset, Bouchard Aîné et Fils, J. Moreau et Fils, Louis Bouillot, Domaine Maire, Fortant, and Bonpas. Each house retains its unique history, identity, and style, and all are united in the pursuit of fine wines expressive of their terroir. Wine is at the center of Boisset’s mission and is complemented by spirits, beer, cider, gourmet foods, and luxury goods. To learn more about the Boisset Collection, please visit boissetcollection.com.

About Republic National Distributing Company

As a top beverage alcohol distributor in the nation, RNDC’s national reach helps suppliers by building strategic relationships with on- and off-premise customers to elevate their brands and reach their target consumers. RNDC currently operates in the District of Columbia and 37 states across the United States, with the expected addition of the New York market in 2022. To learn more, visit www.rndc-usa.com or contact Reace Smith, Vice President, Corporate Communications at [email protected]

About Total Wine & More

Total Wine & More is the nation’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, beer and spirits with 229 stores in 27 states. Total Wine & More has an extensive selection of over 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits, and 3,000 beers, all at exceptional prices. Additionally, Total Wine & More is committed to giving back to the local community. In 2021, Total Wine & More contributed over $8 million in monetary and in-kind donations to 13,000+ organizations helping those organizations raise in excess of $60 million to support their good works in the community. www.totalwine.com

About Bronco Wine Company

Founded in 1973 by brothers Fred T. and Joseph S. Franzia and their cousin John Franzia, Jr., Bronco Wine Company has grown to become a force in the US wine industry all while remaining family owned. It has committed itself to becoming the largest privately held US vineyard holder while simultaneously achieving vertical integration from the vineyard to the table. Bronco Wine Company’s focus remains growing, producing, and selling the finest quality wines of the highest value to its diverse customers worldwide.

About Wine Enthusiast

Founded in 1979 by Adam and Sybil Strum and composed of Wine Enthusiast Media and Wine Enthusiast Commerce, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the ultimate source of innovation and information around wine. With custom products reaching millions of consumers globally via direct mail, a thriving e-commerce site and a business-to-business division, Wine Enthusiast Catalog provides everything wine lovers need to enjoy wine to the fullest in their homes. Wine Enthusiast magazine is an award-winning print publication and online resource that showcases wine and food trends, enotravel, and over 25,000 ratings and reviews annually. Together, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the indisputable hub for everything wine. To be put simply, our company mission statement is: We Bring Wine to Life.

About the Association of African American Vintners

The mission of the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) is to increase diversity in the wine industry, build awareness of Black winemakers and provide guidance and financial assistance to students from underrepresented minorities pursuing careers in the wine industry. Visit aaavintners.org for more information and to purchase many AAAV member wines.

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