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Wine Unify Wine Unify Logo, a non-profit organization founded to support and promote diversity in the wine industry, is proud to announce the 10 winners of the first annual Elevate Awards, doubling its original goal to offer 5 opportunities. In October, Wine Unify announced 20 winners, doubling its original goals. Since its launch in June 2020, Wine Unify has awarded a total of 30 prizes to BIPOC wine professionals and enthusiasts.

Each Elevate Award includes: a Level 2 certification course fully funded by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) of the Napa Valley Wine Academy; tasting glasses provided by Stölzle; additional funding for additional wine studies through Wine.com; individual and group mentoring by Wine Unify’s team of wine professionals; a subscription to Jancisrobinson.com; and access to webinars and other educational materials. These awards are one of the main objectives of the organisation to welcome, raise and strengthen the voice of under-represented minorities in the wine industry. The Elevate Awards are particularly aimed at those who, as wine professionals, are striving for progress in the sector.

A large number of passionate and qualified candidates, combined with generous donations from supporters, has enabled Wine Unify to win twice as many prizes as expected in its first year as a non-profit organization.

Throughout 2020, Wine Unify aims to build a supportive community with a special focus on mentoring, not only through its awards, but also through activities such as virtual mentoring sessions led by Wine Unify’s mentoring team. These mentoring sessions are led by Alicia Towns Franken and include leading representatives of the wine industry such as Tonya Pitts, Annette Alvarez-Peters, Gary Obligación, André Mac, Anne-Christina Cabrales and Julia Coney.

In addition to the awards, we offer the opportunity to create a community and represent champions, says co-founder DLynn Proctor. We show people the door to possibilities they may never have known existed.

This autumn, the mentorship focused on topics such as the start in the wine industry and the practical application of wine education. More regular meetings will be held in 2021, open to coloured people looking for informal mentoring opportunities. Mentoring is essential for the development of the community and is ultimately beneficial for both parties and increases opportunities for both the mentor and the community, says Alicia Towns Franken, who leads mentoring at Wine Unified and is a member of the Board of Directors.

Wine Unify plans to offer even more hospitality and Elevate Award opportunities for colour wine experts in 2021. In the spring, we will be awarding prizes to those who strive for WSET Level 3 and 4, says co-founder Martin Reyes MW and adds We are here to make significant long-term changes in the industry.

It was so exciting to see this fair grow, said co-founder Mary Margaret McCamick MW. We all benefit from the diversity. We all feel better. We must continue to insist on this in all aspects of the wine trade.

A complete list of beneficiaries can be found on Wine Unify’s website, www.wineunify.org/elevate, as well as detailed information on the mission and initiatives of the organization.

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