Take the survey: Diversity in UK wine

People working across the UK’s wine industry are being encouraged to take part in a survey that will assess diversity, and discrimination, in the workplace.

So far, 265 people have answered questions about their own ethnic background, whether they have faced discrimination by their employer or their peers, and what should be done to improve diversity and inclusion in the wine sector.

The survey, which you can view here, was launched this week by Gus Gluck, co-founder Quality Wines in London, acclaimed wine writer Jancis Robinson and Magnavai Janjo, senior account manager at Roberson Wines.

Gluck said the survey is the first of many efforts slated for this year to gather “quantifiable socioecological data” on the wine sector.

“Loads of people are committing time and money to collecting data on the wine industry,” Gluck told the drinks business, “but they focus on sales.”

The idea to collaborate came about following a discussion with Janjo, who had been approached by a handful of companies looking for data on diversity.

“It is a people business and there have been glaring omissions from data collectors,” Gluck said.

The results, due to be released on Monday, will be free to use for all “so anyone who needs it has some concrete data to fall back on.”

Gluck wants as many people as possible to take part, no matter what part of the industry they work in.

“The trade’s not always been that active. It’s susceptible for people to not want to do anything that is seen to be political, but it just needs to be done. We want to be known as a good and friendly industry.”

The deadline to take part has been extended to 3 July. Click here to sign up.


Equality in wine

The fallout from the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a police officer has led to overdue conversations about equality around the world. More people are now drawing attention to the often ignored lack of diversity in wine.

Writing for Wine-Searcher, Kathleen Willcox points out that black winemakers in the US and South Africa make up less than 1% of their own wine sectors.

In the US, former Master Sommelier Richard Betts resigned from the CMSA due to the organisation’s “lack of empathy” for racial inequality.

This week, the court dropped a protocol that asks students to use of the “master” along with a sommelier’s surname. The recent conversations were perhaps propelled by an Instagram post created by Tahiirah Habibi, founder of the Hue Society, which aims to diversify wine culture. In her video, she spoke about being asked to address one of her tutors as “master” during a two-day exam. She passed the exam, but ultimately, decided to not to continue with CMSA.

These are just a few examples of the ongoing discussions taking place across the drinks industry. Julian Obubo, brand strategy director at UK PR firm Manifest, held a webinar last week on ‘How to be an Anti-Racist Company’.

“I think there are some conversations the drinks industry needs to have with itself and with consumers,” Obubo told db, “especially around how the language and legacy of empire is still uncritically used to market drinks like rum.”

Gluck hopes the UK wine trade survey will mark “a start to creating a space that everything can work from”, and help companies to be proactive in make their workplaces an inclusive environment for people in Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

A more comprehensive report on the current discussions on inclusivity in the alcohol industry will appear in the July issue of the drinks business.

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