We need to change the story of wine, says photographer Amber Brown. A lot of people think it’s elitist, which annoys me because it’s an agricultural product in the first place.

Brown’s concerns resonate with wine consumers of the millennial generation and Generation Z, who tend to be inclusive and aligned with those who are. As the wine community struggles with racial and gender inequality, the climate crisis and other issues, many in the industry are asking how it can improve its social sustainability.

The term sustainability has become synonymous with the environment, but it also has a social component. Social resilience refers to the constant mental and physical impact the industry has on everyone involved, from start-ups to CEOs or consumers.

To determine whether the world of debt as we know it is socially sustainable, we have to ask some tough questions. What can we do to create a better future for wine? Will current policies and practices benefit the wine community in the years ahead?

If we can take the time to learn how to correctly pronounce grape varieties and villages, we can learn how to correctly address our colleagues and customers with the nouns and pronouns they have chosen. -Elian Tap

The simple fact is that attracting people from all walks of life promotes diversity, and that in turn will help those working in the wine industry, says Jonathon Ramos-Garcia, a bartender in Las Vegas. It is very important to me that more groups like WOC, BIPOC and LGBTQ are included in the wine industry.

Daily actions, such as. B. inclusive language, these diverse communities can be addressed and supported.


If we take the time to learn how to correctly pronounce grape varieties and villages, we can learn how to correctly address our colleagues and customers with their chosen names and pronouns, says Elian Tap, a retail sommelier in Southern California. Like Ramos-Garcia, she believes the wine industry needs greater representation from civil society in all areas, from retail stores to tasting rooms to boards of directors.

Sustainability has become synonymous with the environment, but it also has a social component / Photo courtesy of Wine Sixteen 600

It is also important to listen carefully to the concerns of the parties involved.

In my more than 30 years in the wine industry, it hasn’t grown as much as it should, says Vicki Tomiser, vice president of customer service at Teneral Cellars. Unfortunately, it took a pandemic and the horrific events and losses that led to the BLM movement, as well as the Master Sommelier Court scandal, to shake up the industry.

Jill Osur, founder and owner of T-General Cellars, strives to become the change she and Tomiser want to see.

We have an advisory board with members from BIPOC and LGBTQIA+, as well as a younger diversity delegation made up of a diverse and inclusive group of millennials and Gen Z, says Osur. Both teams were challenged to hold management accountable for achieving our equality and inclusion goals in recruitment, retention and in practice.

These programs require the support of both employers and employees. Valerie Viramontes, a Seattle wine saleswoman, believes the most lasting change will come from education, mentorship and job opportunities in all aspects of the industry.

To that end, organizations such as Wine Unified, The Roots Fund and Batonnage Forum Mentorship offer scholarships, mentoring and training opportunities to BIPOC communities.

And diversity and inclusion are good for business. A 2019 McKinsey & Company study found that companies in the first quartile, with an ethnically and culturally diverse workforce, are 36% more profitable than companies in the fourth quartile, at the lower end of the scale.

At the same time, companies with more than 30% female executives are more likely to do better than companies with between 10 and 30 executives, and companies with fewer or no female executives are more likely to do better than companies with fewer executives, the report found.

The main reason to grow organically is that the lives of the people who work in the vineyard and the people who live downstream matter, says Sam Conturry / Photo courtesy of Winery Sixteen 600.

When companies create and implement inclusive practices, environmental and social sustainability can intersect.

Is organic farming better for the environment? Sure, says Sam Coturri, co-owner and operator of Winery Sixteen 600 in Sonoma, Calif. We do organic farming because it makes a nicer wine? No doubt about it. But the main reason for organic farming is that the lives of the people working in the vineyards and those living downstream are important.

My family and our entire industry owe our success to our largely immigrant workforce, he says. As a wine brand, we have a responsibility not only to tell their story and give them recognition, but also to share their success – through real pay, meaningful benefits, career development, equal opportunity and more.

This genuine commitment to social sustainability resonates with young wine consumers like Tap, who may buy wine for decades in the future.

For me, the ideal wine brand is authentic with its approach to sustainability, ethical work practices and bottled juice, Tap says. Wine marks should be included. Do as you say, sow as you reap. What grows together belongs to the whole, which can also mean relationships, not just food and drink.

A genuine commitment to social sustainability resonates with young wine consumers who may buy wine for decades in the future.

Coturri pointed out the effect of his inclusive ideology on the business of Winery Sixteen 600.

We have found that by focusing our brand on farmers, vineyards and inclusion, we are simultaneously attracting a younger and more diverse audience, he says.

Another tangible way to attract more consumers is a new take on technology.

The industry has long focused on tasting, which is important, make no mistake, says Shana Bull, a marketing professor and freelance writer. If you’re spending thousands of dollars on landscaping, but someone is doing social media and digital marketing part time, you’re definitely missing something.

I’d like to see more diverse and really credible advertising, says Tonya Pitts/Photo by Hardy Wilson.

Businesses can reach new audiences by inviting community members to host virtual tastings together or by partnering with industry associations to offer cultural and educational courses. Targeted advertising, such as. B. Google’s marketing, along with sponsored content to collaborate with peers, allows the industry to expand its market presence.

Digital marketing allows wineries to reach new audiences, Bull says. You can use it to connect with a more diverse market.

The visual representation of marketing is also important.

I’d like to see more diverse advertising that looks really credible, says Tonya Pitts, director of wine at One Market Restaurant and founder of Tonya Pitts Wine Consulting. People should look like a population that is diverse.

Often, especially in restaurants, the mentality is that you live for the next service. Now, with this big break, we all need to take a big step back and look at where we really stand. Escape is a big part of hospitality and wine, but we can’t avoid it.

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