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Napa Valley Vintners makes $1m commitment to diversity

Napa Valley Vintners has pledged over US$1 million for new scholarship and mentoring programmes that will increase the diversity, inclusiveness and growth opportunities in the wine industry.

“Napa Valley Vintners represents one of the world’s premier wine regions and strives to be a leader in all aspects of the industry,” said Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the nonprofit trade group on announcing the financial commitment.

“We recognise our nation is at a critical moment to finally end centuries of racism and to dramatically increase diversity, inclusivity and opportunity, including in the wine industry.

“NVV believes our community and industry should be open and welcoming to people of colour, whether working here, visiting the valley or enjoying our wines anywhere,” she added.

A vineyard in Napa Valley

To do that, the organisation is creating a new scholarship programme with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) for people of colour to pursue college degrees in subjects including grape growing, winemaking, marketing, business and related wine industry careers.

The million-dollar program will spend $200,000 annually on scholarships over the next five years, which will be open to black, indigenous, Latinx and other candidates of colour.

Napa Valley Vintners also plans to continue fund raising among its members to build the scholarship fund beyond this initial commitment.

A separate grant of more than $100,000 is also being made for mentoring programmes being created in cooperation with two industry organisations, Wine Unify and Bâtonnage, both of which are committed to achieving equal representation, equal opportunities and equal leadership positions within the wine industry.

The new programs build on NVV’s ongoing commitment to mentoring programs in Napa County with organisations such as Boys & Girls Club, Aim High and On the Move.

It has provided nearly $2 million in funding to nine non-profit organisations whose missions are to close the achievement gap and to help at-risk youth succeed in life. These programnes together reached 40,000 children in Napa County.

Additionally, in June the vintners held a virtual town hall meeting for its members to interact with community leaders of colour.

Following that session, a task force of diverse vintners and community leaders was formed to examine what else the organisation could accomplish, resulting in a set of actions that included focusing on education and mentorship.

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