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New Panelists, Black-Owned Wine Brands Added to AAAV Symposium and Wine Festival March 9-10, 2024


Association of African American Vintners’ Biennial Event Returns to Napa

Livermore, Calif. (February 29, 2024)—Wine lovers and industry professionals are invited to taste and network with Black wine entrepreneurs from across America at the Association of African American Vintners’ (AAAV) Symposium and Wine Festival March 9-10, 2024 at CIA at Copia in Napa, Calif. Featuring some of the brightest minds and most popular brands in the wine industry, the two-day event offers a luncheon keynote by Donae Burston of La Fête Wine Company, insightful panel discussions, an awards reception emceed by actor Jay Jackson and the Grapes of Inclusion wine festival featuring more than 20 Black-owned wine brands.

Ink Grade Hospitality Manager Balkis Johnson is a new addition to Saturday’s panel discussion “Sommelier Unveiled.” She will join Master Sommelier Vincent Morrow of PRESS Napa Valley and Wade Cellars’ George Walker III in demystifying the role and the
ways sommeliers impact the wine industry. Their conversation will be moderated by Wine Unify Executive Director Alicia Towns Franken.

Following Donae Burston’s candid luncheon keynote about the efficacy of supplier diversity programs, more industry leaders will gather for a panel discussion of “Alternative Pathways to Market.” James Harris, CDP, Sr. Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity at H-E-B, Vinoshipper President Steven Harrison and Murice Anderson, Founder & CEO of AMG Branding, will dig into the many ways entrepreneurs can sell their wines. Their conversation will be moderated by Swan Dotson of Togun Wines.

New to the lineup of Black-owned wine brands pouring for the public at Sunday’s Grapes of Inclusion wine festival are Dwayne Wade’s Wade Cellars, P. Harrell Wines and Tympany
Vineyards. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste wines from more than 20 brands and make their own pairings with gourmet bites expertly prepared by Culinary Institute of
America chefs.

AAAV’s 2024 Wine Symposium Weekend is sponsored by Total Wine Spirits Beer & More, Bronco Wine Company, CIA at Copia, H-E-B and Wine Enthusiast. Event tickets are available at www.aaavintners.org. Detailed schedule follows:

Lifting The Bar: Expanding Your Wine Business
March 9, 2024, 10am – 5pm
CIA at Copia, 500 1st Street, Napa, CA 94559
$350 per person

Panel: 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. Panelists: Balkis Johnson, Hospitality Manager, Ink Grade; Master Sommelier Vincent Morrow; George Walker III of Wade Cellars.

Keynote Luncheon
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.

Panel: 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. Panelists: Murice Anderson, Founder & CEO, AMG Branding; James Harris, CDP, Sr. Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, H-E-B; Steven Harrison, President, Vinoshipper.

Awards Ceremony & Reception
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
March 10, 2024, 12 – 4pm
CIA at Copia, 500 1st Street, Napa, CA 94559
$200 per person

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

About Total Wine Spirits Beer & More
Total Wine Spirits Beer & More has an extensive selection of over 8,000 wines, 4,500 spirits, and 2,500 beers, all at exceptional prices. Additionally, Total Wine Spirits Beer & More is committed to giving back to the local community. In 2023, Total Wine Spirits Beer & More contributed over $13.5 million in monetary and in-kind donations to 16,000+ organizations helping those organizations raise in excess of $85 million to support their
good works in the community. www.totalwine.com.

About Bronco Wine Co.
Founded in 1973, Bronco Wine Co. has become a force in the US wine industry. As a family-owned company, its focus on crafting quality wines for every table is evident through hard work, innovation, and willingness to embrace change. These fundamental virtues are the backbone of the company’s success and have laid a solid foundation for generations to come. broncowine.com

About CIA at Copia
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia is an epicurean destination in downtown Napa, where guests can immerse themselves in the past, present, and future of food.
Located in the Oxbow District, CIA at Copia offers an array of enticing culinary experiences delivered by CIA chefs and experts, including hands-on cooking and beverage classes; lively public events and art exhibits; a signature garden-to-table restaurant; Lunch Box, a casual weekday eatery; Wine Bar, a self-service tasting experience; a culinary and lifestyle-themed marketplace; and The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum. CIA at Copia is also a unique setting for weddings and private events. All proceeds from CIA at Copia benefit CIA student scholarships.

About H-E-B
H-E-B, with sales of $43 billion, operates more than 430 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrates its 118th anniversary
this year. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience and lowest prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs over 154,000 Partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities. For more information, visit heb.com and the H-E-B Newsroom.

About Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast Companies is a Certified B Corporation and 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, the Wine Enthusiast Shop provides premium 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. By the end of 2023, WineEnthusiast.com reached 4.5 million monthly pageviews and is the industry leader with the most traffic of any wine media website. Wine Enthusiast events include the annual premier Wine Star Awards gala. Together, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the indisputable hub for everything wine. We bring wine to life.

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.