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Association of African American Vintners Returns to Napa for Symposium and Wine Festival March 9-10, 2024


Livermore, Calif. (February 8, 2024)—The wine industry’s oldest trade organization focused on making wine inclusive, the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV), will host its biennial Symposium and Wine Festival March 9-10, 2024 at CIA at Copia in Napa, Calif. Wine lovers, industry members and students are invited to taste and network with AAAV’s membership of wine producers and professionals that has grown more than 500 percent since 2020. Opportunities for professional development and networking on Saturday, March 9 include two industry panel discussions, a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Donae Burston of La Fête Wine Company and an awards reception. On Sunday, March 10, the public will join for the Grapes of Inclusion wine festival to taste wines and meet makers from Black-owned brands across America (see detailed schedule below).
La Fête Wine Company

“The AAAV Symposium and Wine Festival is returning to the beautiful Copia campus where our founders held wine tasting events in the early 2000s,” said Longevity Wines founder and winemaker Phil Long who became president of AAAV in 2020. “Our organization is much larger now, but there is still a lot of work to do to make wine inclusive. By gathering in person to learn and celebrate, we hope to refocus attention on the need for diversity in the wine industry and inspire others to join us and contribute to our mission.”

Event tickets, including a weekend pass, are available at www.aaavintners.org. Details on each event follow:

Lifting The Bar: Expanding Your Wine Business

  • CIA at Copia, 500 1st Street, Napa, CA 94559
  • March 9, 10 am – 5 pm
  • $350 per person

Welcome and Networking (10-10:30 am)

Morning Panel (10:45-11:45 am)
Sommelier Unveiled: Beyond the Glass
We all know and respect the fancy title, but what does a sommelier really do? Learn about all aspects of the role, including required education, possible career paths and even how a sommelier could help boost your business. Moderated by Wine Unify Executive Director Alicia Towns Franken, the expert panel will feature Master Sommelier Vincent Morrow and George Walker III of Wade Cellars.

Keynote Luncheon (12-1:30 pm)

Enjoy a sumptuous lunch created by CIA chefs and paired with AAAV member wines. Keynote speaker Donae Burston, founder of La Fête Wine Company, will share his views on progress, barriers and impactful next steps to help make wine inclusive.

Afternoon Panel (1:45-2:45 pm)

Alternative Pathways to Market
There are many ways to get your wine into the glass of a consumer—distribution is only one option. Explore the various paths to market (and related careers) with a panel of experts moderated by entrepreneur Swan Dotson of Togun Wines.

Awards Reception (3:30-5 pm)

Join actor and wine aficionado Jay Jackson for a festive reception featuring member wines and bites that highlight African flavors and cultural cuisines. AAAV will honor recipients of the following awards:

  • Trailblazing & Leadership Excellence
  • Innovation in Wine Production
  • Community Impact

Grapes of Inclusion: AAAV’s Black-Owned Wine Festival

  • CIA at Copia, 500 1st Street, Napa, CA 94559
  • March 10, 12 – 4 pm
  • $200 per person

Taste the wines of 20+ Black-owned brands from across America and meet the founders and winemakers behind them. Nosh on bites prepared by CIA chefs. Network with industry professionals and discover unique wines from participating producers, including: Ampere Wines, Bass Note Botanical Wine Infusions, Bodkin Wines, Hedon State, Love Cork Screw, LoveLee Wine, Longevity Wines, J Moss Winery, Mad Marvlus, McBride Sisters Wine Company, Mom Juice, Sapere Wines, Sipping Sense, Stover Oaks Winery, The Vice, and Theopolis Vineyards.

About the Association of African American Vintners

Founded in 2002, the Association of African American Vintners stands as the go-to resource for advancing equity in the wine industry. Our mission is to provide comprehensive education, advocacy, and community support not only for Black vintners but also for wine brands and industry professionals. Serving as a guiding beacon, we advocate for inclusivity and breaking down barriers for all. With the mantra “We Make Wine Inclusive,” we welcome individuals across the wine community to seek the information required for industry advancement. Our commitment is to be a central hub where knowledge, support, and unity converge to propel everyone towards success. Visit aaavintners.org for more information and to purchase many AAAV member wines.



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