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Black Business Month: Association of African American Vintners Names Vice President, Launches Matching Grant with Breakthru Beverage

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Livermore, Calif. (August 1, 2023)—The first organization dedicated to making wine inclusive, the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), today announced Love Cork Screw founder and negociant Chrishon Lampley will serve as vice president. Lampley brings her trademark enthusiasm and 11 years of experience in the wine industry to the role. Also in celebration of National Black Business Month, AAAV is partnering with leading alcohol wholesaler Breakthru Beverage Group on a matching grant: Breakthru will match every donation to AAAV’s Wine Entrepreneur Grant program made in August, up to a total of $10,000.

“Chrishon’s obvious love for the wine industry and her drive to make her own and other Black-led brands succeed in it are very contagious. Her energy makes our organization better,” said Phil Long, president of AAAV and founder and winemaker at Longevity Wines. “Chrishon will be an asset to our leadership team and we look forward to working together, especially on fundraising and building partnerships that will help AAAV members thrive. 

Previously a small organization founded in 2002 to support Black-owned wine brands, AAAV has grown more than 500% and used donations to award nearly 100 wine education scholarships since George Floyd’s murder in 2020. In April 2023, AAAV named five recipients of its inaugural Wine Entrepreneur Grant. Each wine brand founder received $5,000 to positively impact their operations, marketing or innovation efforts and help grow their business.

Breakthru Beverage Group is stepping up to help AAAV expand its support of Black wine entrepreneurs in 2024. During Black Business Month in August, Breakthru will match all donations to AAAV’s Wine Entrepreneur Grant program, up to a total of $10,000.

“Breakthru is proud to support AAAV in their amazing efforts to diversify the wine space,” said Adam Pizer, VP, Business Development, Wine at Breakthru Beverage. “We always aim to represent the people we serve, and that representation must be present at every level in our industry. The Wine Entrepreneur Grant program is a fantastic step toward making this dream possible, and we hope to work with many of the winning brands as supplier partners in the future.”

“Distribution is one of the biggest obstacles for Black vintners. It’s imperative we work with wine distributors of all sizes to find solutions that help get Black wine brands on the shelf,” said AAAV Executive Director Angela McCrae. “We are extremely grateful for the contribution from Breakthru Beverage to the AAAV Wine Entrepreneur Grant. A small grant can help a newer brand push their business forward.”

Anyone interested in joining AAAV to help make wine inclusive can take advantage of a membership incentive program supported by Wine Enthusiast. The content and commerce company believes in making wine approachable for all and welcoming everyone to the wine lifestyle. Now in its third year, AAAV’s partnership with Wine Enthusiast subsidizes membership fees by 50% for new members who would like to join—everyone is welcome. For details, visit the membership section of aaavintners.org.

About Chrishon Lampley

When a freak flood destroyed her Chicago art and wine bar, entrepreneur and negociant Chrishon Lampley didn’t let the setback keep her down. Instead, she turned to her passion project – Love Cork Screw – a lifestyle brand focused on wine, entertaining, and relationships. With a mission to not only reinvent the wine industry but also to create a more inclusive and sustainable experience for all, Love Cork Screw has since sold more than 1 million bottles. Chrishon’s latest venture – The Lampley – is a home essentials brand and online marketplace with a team of artists who desire to celebrate and promote a platform for the underrepresented BIPOC demographic. Learn more at lovecorkscrew.com

About Breakthru Beverage

Breakthru Beverage Group is one of the leading alcohol wholesalers in the United States and the largest broker in Canada representing a full total beverage alcohol portfolio of spirits, wine and beer. Breakthru is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and supports a wide range of notable organizations as well as local charitable initiatives across its North American footprint. Across all markets, Breakthru aligns a nimble and insightful approach to sales, marketing and operations. Family ownership is active in the business and committed to being stewards of heritage and champions of innovation. For more information, visit www.BreakthruBev.com.

About Wine Enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast Companies is the ultimate source of innovation and information around wine. Founded in 1979 by Adam and Sybil Strum, the company is composed of Wine Enthusiast Commerce and Wine Enthusiast Media. Embodying the commerce side, Wine Enthusiast catalog provides custom wine-lifestyle products, reaching millions of consumers globally via direct mail, an e-commerce site, and a business-to-business division. Representing the media side, Wine Enthusiast magazine is an award-winning print publication and online resource that showcases wine news, food trends, and more than 25,000 ratings and reviews annually. Together, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the indisputable hub for everything wine. We bring wine to life.

About the Association of African American Vintners

The mission of the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, 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, to donate and to purchase many AAAV member wines. Follow AAAV on Instagram and Facebook.

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