Giving & Getting Help - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Giving & Getting Help

As the wine community works to support its BIPOC members, their efforts include funding scholarships for education and travel, and developing mentorship organizations and networking groups. Here is an ongoing list of those projects.


Becky Wasserman Scholarship

Importer Becky Wasserman is inviting three Black members of the wine trade living in the US to Burgundy in 2021. The trip will include winery visits and winemaker dinners at her home outside Beaune. She will extend the scholarship to all people of color in the coming years.

Laurent-Perrier Scholarship for Champagne Master Level Certification

Champagne Laurent-Perrier USA and Black Wine Professionals are partnering to provide five scholarships to the Wine Scholar Guild’s Champagne Master-Level certification. Julia Coney and Jessica Starry of Champagne Laurent-Perrier will serve as industry mentors throughout the year, offering Champagne Laurent-Perrier master class trainings and tastings that will buttress the Wine Scholar Guild curriculum.

Sponsored by Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants and administered by SommFoundation, this scholarship was created to assist Black Americans pursuing a career in the wine industry. Ten scholars will receive $1,000 each to pursue higher wine education and mentorship from Emily Wines, MS.

Court of Master Sommeliers BIPOC Scholarship

To increase diversity and inclusion among its members, the Court of Master Sommeliers (in collaboration with SommFoundation and Black Wine Professionals) is creating new initiatives to support BIPOC on their way to becoming a Master Sommelier. Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded based on demonstration of need and merit.

Fulton St. Fellowship

Created by the team at Leon & Son, a wine shop in Brooklyn, NY, the Fulton St. Fellowship will fund top-tier wine education in New York State and provide access to aspiring Black talent in the wine industry.

Major Taylor Fellowship

Domestique Wine in Washington, DC is offering a fellowship to provide a starting point for a talented individual to build their own retail or restaurant space. The chosen fellow will learn wine retail operation and stage at three award-winning DC restaurants: Komi, Bad Saint and 2AMYS. Design firm Streetsense will assist with design buildout and brand strategy for a restaurant space. The three-week fellowship includes a $3,000 stipend, plus housing costs.

Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color

TJ Douglas, owner of Boston’s Urban Grape wine shop, launched this award to commemorate his tenth year in business. He is establishing an endowed fund for students to enroll in Boston University’s Certificate Program in Wine Studies, and to offer experiences working in wine distribution and hospitality in partnership with M.S. Walker and Big Heart Hospitality.

The Vinous Mentorship for BIPOC Wine Professionals

This will be awarded annually to two wine professionals, who will be mentored by Vinous publisher Antonio Galloni and the Vinous BIPOC Advisory Board.


Black Food Folks

Colleen Vincent and Clay Williams (both of the James Beard Foundation) established this Instagram-based fellowship of Black professionals in food and drink to promote and support one another for mutual success.

Black Wine Professionals

Julia Coney created this group “to lift up the multifaceted Black professionals in the world of wine.” The website includes listings of Black wine professionals by industry sector and will be expanded to cover event listings, educational resources, job postings and a discussion forum.

BAME Wine Professionals

Mags Janjo and Jancis Robinson MW collaborated to produce this online network for diverse talent in the wine field both in the UK and the US. BAME stands for Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic and is the standard way to refer to non-white individuals in the UK.

Diversity in Wine and Spirits

Established by Lia Jones, Diversity in Wine and Spirits advocates for equality and equity in the international hospitality industry, working to implement global diversity and inclusion initiatives.

The Hue Society

Based in Atlanta, Hue Society founder Tahiirah Habibi seeks to facilitate education and economic access to wine through culturally relevant experiences.

Ideal Bartender Collective

Jahde Marley, Kigan Joseph, Dr. Grace D. Player, Kelvin Uffre and Zachary Gelnaw-Rubin came together to found IBC, a platform offering education, mentorship, networking and bartending tool kits for BIPOC.

Industry Sessions

Sommeliers Jirka Jireh and James Sligh formed this offshoot of Open Wine Forum to provide free virtual wine classes for BIPOC focused on underrepresented wine regions and natural wine.

Michael Jackson Foundation

Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery established this foundation to fund scholarships for BIPOC within the brewing and distilling industries or those who wish to join those industries.

Open Wine Forum

A collaboration between Miguel de Leon, Zwann Grays, Eric Clemons, Stephen Bitterolf, Jahde Marley, Jasmine Senaveratna, Jirka Jireh, Nicolle Borrero, Anitha Gandhi, Eric Fleming, Madeline Maldonado and John deBary, this group provides tuition-free education, mentorship, work experience, wine travel and career guidance.

The Roots Fund

Tahiirah Habibi, Ikimi Dubose and Carlton McCoy, MS founded this fund to provide resources and financial support to minorities in the wine industry.

Wine Unify

Established by DLynn Proctor, Martin Reyes MW, Alicia Towns Franken, Jessica Trujillo, Priyanka French and Mary Margaret McCamic, MW, this organization works to increase diversity in the wine industry by supporting education for BIPOC wine professionals and amplifying the voices of minority leaders in the wine business.

Do you know of an organization or opportunity that should be included on this list? Email us at [email protected].

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