The three top-scoring scholarship recipients received WSET level-three scholarships and a three-day Napa Valley immersive experience with NBA star Josh Hart
Napa, CA, August 8, 2022 – Wine Access, the premier online destination for expertly curated wines, awarded its top prize to candidates in the company’s Diversity in Wine Scholarship program in July. The winners received a full WSET level-three scholarship and a three-day, all-expenses-paid educational tour of Napa Valley.
The Diversity in Wine Scholarship program was founded in 2020 to promote diversity and inclusivity in the wine industry by offering educational opportunities for aspiring BIPOC wine students. As a company of wine experts with varied backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences, Wine Access knows diversity matters and strives to provide more opportunities for minorities to find a place in the wine industry. In partnership with NBA Player and wine enthusiast Josh Hart and Napa Valley Wine Academy, the program began by awarding 100 WSET level-one scholarships to current and aspiring BIPOC wine professionals. The top-scoring candidates were then eligible for continued scholarships for level-two and level-three certifications.
The winners traveled with Hart to Napa Valley in late July, where they visited vineyards and wineries, meeting with experts across disciplines ranging from viticulture to hospitality. Each day’s events focused on connecting the scholarship recipients with leading industry experts and potential mentors. First, the participants got together with the Wine Access team, including Master of Wine Vanessa Conlin, Master Sommelier Sur Lucero, and sake expert Eduardo Dingler. The full itinerary included a greatest-hits-style tour of Napa Valley, including meetings and tastings at Crocker & Starr, Eleven Eleven Wines, Spottswoode, Raymond, and JCB, among others. In addition, participants visited with winemaker Mayaan Koschitsky, who guided them through a vertical tasting of his Pas de Cheval wines; a terroir and microclimates intensive workshop with Napa Valley Vintners’ Connor Best; and a discussion about hospitality with Master of Wine Clare Tooley.
“The value in this experience comes not just from the educational value of certification, but the critical connections this trip enables for our future wine pros,” said Joe Fisch, CEO of Wine Access. “Trips like this facilitate the critical relationships that fuel our industry. From the feedback we’ve received, this was time well spent for everyone who participated. Wine is a great connecting force in the world, and we feel so grateful to offer this opportunity for shared experiences and connections to such a diverse group of candidates. We can’t wait to see them grow and represent the wine industry.”
On July 26, Josh Hart participated in a blending session with Maayan Koschitzk and Vanessa Conlin to craft a brand-new wine together, proceeds from which will go towards further funding the next round of the scholarship program.
About Wine Access
Founded in 1996, Wine Access is the leading online direct-to-consumer wine platform, offering the world’s most coveted wines. As one of the earliest adopters of e-commerce and DTC offerings in the digital wine space, Wine Access curates high-quality wines from nearly every wine region around the globe, providing unique opportunities for our customers to enjoy wine in ways that extend beyond the bottle. Wine Access’ Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, and team of industry experts taste over 20,000 wines a year, offering only those that exceed the expectations defined by their prices. Through Wine Access’ network of family-owned, legendary winemakers, and coveted marquees, customers gain access to an inspiring, curated collection of unique and often unattainable wines. To build a deeper understanding of and connection to each bottle, every shipment includes original tasting notes, flavor profiles, pairing recommendations, and compelling, original stories that capture the authentic personality, passion, and philosophy of the producers. Wine Access also offers Wine Club memberships that allow customers to experience rare and highly coveted wines from major wine-growing regions around the globe four times a year. In 2021, Wine Access was named the official wine provider for the MICHELIN Guide. To find out more, visit https://www.wineaccess.com/.
About Napa Valley Wine Academy
Partners in wine education, Christian Oggenfuss, Catherine Bugue, and Jurg Oggenfuss have a combined 70+ years of experience in the wine business and came together in 2012 to found Napa Valley Wine Academy. Their goal then was as crystal clear as it is today: to create a professional learning environment where the student comes first. Excellence in education includes the entire experience, from pre-class correspondence to engaging classes with top instructors. They have always been agents of change and this new endeavor was no different. To find out more, visit https://napavalleywineacademy.