We founded our school with the guiding principle that quality wine education should be available to all regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity & expression, or physical ability.
The recent appalling injustices coupled with Black wine professionals’ personal accounts of racism within the wine industry, make it clear that complacency and general statements of support do not end systemic racism, but rather perpetuate it. For this, we are truly, deeply sorry that we have not done our part and that it took these recent events to prioritize this much-needed work. However, apologies do not create change, so since our last statement two weeks ago our staff and leadership have been spending time listening, learning, discussing, and brainstorming on our role as individuals and as educators in breaking down barriers and fighting injustice.
We are committing to take action immediately and in perpetuity.
This is how we are taking action NOW:
- Hiring the services of an expert in implicit bias training & creating diversity initiatives for businesses.
- Awarding individual scholarships to BIPOC for wine education totaling $10,000 to promote diversity in wine education.
- Match employee contributions to organizations that promote social justice.
- Actively engage with BIPOC industry professionals to amplify their voices and provide the space for them to share their expertise in our classrooms, social media, newsletters, podcasts, and workshops.
- Source and incorporate wines made by Black winemakers and Black-owned wineries into our curriculum as the representative, quality examples of a region’s wines for our WSET & other certification courses.
There is more that can be done and in the coming months, as we work on the above action items, we will continue to share new ideas and implement more programs and policies.
We ask our colleagues, business partners, and certification bodies to join us in this work. Let us band together to fight for change within our industry and within wine education.
To the Black community: we hear you, we see you, we are taking action and will continue to listen, learn, and commit to doing more. Our efforts will be ongoing – our work will be intersectional – our voices will be loud in ending racism.
Black Lives Matter!