The world of wine has long been celebrated for its rich diversity of flavors and aromas. When it comes to the faces behind the bottles, however, the industry has been slower to embrace the same level of diversity. To be sure, beyond the captivating flavors and enchanting aromas lies a noticeable void of representation. As I explain below, that gap can impact the industry – and society – in significant ways.
No question, there’s a pressing need for inclusivity in the wine industry. To that end, I offer some practical steps to bridge the gap, inspired by my own journey as the visionary behind Fly Wines.
My entrance into the wine industry was not a conventional one. Originating from the tech world, I faced the daunting challenge of pivoting into an unknown industry. The transition wasn’t seamless, and every step was a plunge into the unfamiliar. Yet, armed with determination, I took it one step at a time. My inspiration to start Fly Wines stemmed from a deep desire to carve out a new approach in an industry lacking minority representation. This wasn’t just a business venture; it was a call to transform the wine culture, making it more vibrant, inclusive, and reflective of the global community.
Lack of diversity impacts the industry
The first pour in understanding the issue is acknowledging the noticeable lack of diversity in the wine industry. From vineyards to boardrooms, the voices and perspectives shaping the industry have been predominantly homogenous. This gap not only limits the richness of ideas but also hinders the industry from truly reflecting the global tapestry of wine enthusiasts.
Diversity is not just a buzzword; it’s a cornerstone for innovation and resilience. In the world of wine, diverse perspectives bring forth a spectrum of tastes and styles that appeal to a broader audience. Additionally, a more inclusive industry fosters creativity, pushing boundaries to discover new terroirs, varietals, and winemaking techniques.
Consumers today seek more than just a drink; they crave an experience. A diverse industry ensures a more comprehensive understanding of consumer needs and preferences. It allows for the creation of wines that resonate with a wider audience, transforming wine appreciation into a journey of exploration and connection.
How to foster inclusivity
Acknowledging the existing challenges is crucial for meaningful change. The wine industry, deeply rooted in tradition, might resist any change. However, these challenges present opportunities for growth. Embracing diversity is not just a moral imperative; it’s a strategic move to stay relevant in a changing market.
From my experience, the best approach to promoting inclusivity includes the following steps:
Education and Training: Invest in educational programs that empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to enter and thrive in the industry.
Promoting Diversity in Leadership: Ensure diverse representation at decision-making levels. This includes winemakers, vineyard managers, and executives.
Supporting Minority-Owned Wineries & Change Leaders: Foster collaboration and partnerships with minority-owned wineries, creating platforms for their wines to reach a broader audience.
Community Engagement: Build connections with local communities to demystify the world of wine. This can include hosting inclusive events, wine tastings, and educational programs.
Cheers to change
In the vast landscape of the wine world, where every bottle unfolds a unique story, one narrative has been slow to evolve – the tale of diversity within the industry. In raising a glass to the future of the wine industry, it’s time to break down the barriers that limit its potential. By embracing diversity, we not only enrich the world of wine but also craft an industry that speaks to the hearts of every enthusiast. It’s not just a change; it’s a transformation towards a more vibrant and inclusive wine culture. Cheers to the journey ahead!
Stephanie Franklin is the CEO and founder of Fly Wines, a minority-owned wine company bringing the world’s finest wines from independent wineries to the U.S. With a passion for discovering exceptional wines and supporting underrepresented winemakers, Stephanie has been featured in NASDAQ, The New School, When Women Inspire, Business Journal for Women, Voyage LA, Grit Daily, Medium, and more.
Fly Wines is proud to contribute to the cultural and economic fabric of the wine industry. By fostering relationships with independent wineries, we aim to empower and uplift voices that may have traditionally been underrepresented. Our commitment to inclusivity and authenticity drives every aspect of our operations.