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California Winemaker Terah Bajjalieh Celebrates Arab-American Heritage Month at Private U.S. Department of State Reception

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Washington, D.C., April 22, 2024—On April 18, Terah Bajjalieh, founder of California-based Terah Wine Co., poured her wines at a private reception hosted by the U.S. Department of State in honor of Arab American Heritage Month at Blair House, the President’s guest house. The exclusive invitation to participate underscores Bajjalieh’s outstanding contributions as a rising star in the wine industry—an independent winemaker committed to sustainable winemaking practices and to diversity, equity, and inclusion—and aligns with this year’s theme for Arab American Heritage Month: “Celebrating Arab American Resilience and Diversity.”

Terah Bajjalieh is one of few Arab Americans producing wine in the U.S. and one of even fewer Palestinian wine producers. Born and raised in California, Bajjalieh has built an impressive career in viticulture and winemaking. Her journey began with a passion for food and travel, which led her to study at the International Culinary Institute in California before delving into the world of wine. In her early career, Bajjalieh gained extensive hospitality experience working as a sommelier in wine bars and a Michelin-starred restaurant, and as a wine educator and consultant in the Bay Area before moving into production.

With numerous degrees and accolades—Bachelor of Science in Finance from San Jose State University, a Master’s degree in Enology and Viticulture from SupAgro in Montpellier, France, the WSET Level 3 Award in Wine & Spirits, and Level 2 Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers—and 13 harvests in renowned wine regions in five countries under her belt, in 2020, Bajjalieh realized her dream by launching Terah Wine Co. This boutique wine label reflects Bajjalieh’s commitment to producing high quality wines from a diverse range of grape varieties, some of which have long been overlooked in California, including Barbera, Vermentino, Sangiovese, Aligoté, Verdejo, and Syrah. Dedicated to sustainable farming and light-handed winemaking, Bajjalieh sources from vineyards practicing organic, regenerative farming, and biodynamics.

During the month of April, Arab American Heritage Month recognizes the achievements and numerous contributions of Arab Americans through proclamations and special events hosted by cultural institutions, school districts, municipalities, state legislatures, public servants, and non-profit organizations. The reception at Blair House provided a platform for Bajjalieh to celebrate her achievements as a trailblazer in the wine industry and to commemorate the rich cultural heritage of Arab Americans to members of the U.S. Department of State, including Suzy George, chief of staff, and James P. Sinopoli, senior executive chef, as well as diplomats and local embassy ambassadors.

“As a woman of color and a member of the LGBTQ community, it has been heartening to see growing recognition of and support for independent winemakers from underrepresented groups,” says Bajjalieh. “I am honored to have showcased my wines at last week’s Arab American Heritage celebration at the Blair House, and I hope it might inspire more people that have long been spoken over to step forward, innovate, and strive for excellence.”

For more information on Terah Bajjalieh and Terah Wine Co., visit terahwineco.com and follow her on Instagram at @terahwinecompany.

About Terah Wine Co.

Terah Wine Co. was built on the belief that high quality wines can only be achieved with good farming, and this ethos continues to be the focus of the grape sourcing program behind every wine produced. To this end, winemaker and founder Terah Bajjalieh is committed to working with independent growers who care about the environment, the land, and the people they work with. Terah prioritizes organic and biodynamic vineyards, seeking unique microclimates and sites that are capable of showcasing outstanding expressions of place through expressive, structured, and balanced wines.

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