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Wine2Wine: Diveristy and inclusion key to bringing new voices to the industry

Wine2Wine Business Forum, the two-day trade show organised by Vinitaly organiser Veronafiere, has argued that diversity and inclusion are key to bringing new voices and decisions to the wine industry post-pandemic as it held its first online event.

Speakers included: Liz Thach MW, Tinashe Nyamdoko, Yang Lu MS, and Rania Zayyat

During the forum’s first digital outing last week (23 and 24 November), the organisers championed diversity and inclusion by inviting a diverse group around 140 speakers including more than 50 women to look at a broad range of issues affecting the post-covid wine world.

Some of the topic explored included female leadership and how women can support each other to enact change across the industry at all levels. American wire writers Julia Coney, who has written about racism in the wine industry, and Elaine Chukan Brown’s session on ‘Wine and Allyship: Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are Good for the Wine Business’ concluded that businesses have to construct a strategy for long term change. Looking for business partnerships that “expand the conversation, expand the market, and who the market is connecting to” demonstrates that diversity, inclusion, and the support of women in the industry is fundamental not simply as an ethical requirement, but as an astute commercial position, Chukan Brown said.

Other sessions explored markets that represent real opportunities but may have been overlooked in the past, such as top Zimbabwean sommelier turned winemaker Tinashe Nyamdoko and Zonin1821’s area manager for Africa Temitope Akintola’s session on ‘Hacking the wine culture in Africa,’ or the Italian Trade Agency (ITA)’s  sponsored ‘The Wine Market In India’ session. Other sessions explored changes in the US and Chinese markets, looking at the importance of social media in China, or building a sophisticated wine culture through hip hop.

With the industry forced to adopt digital solutions, some sessions concentrated on how the industry needs to adapt to working in a more digital environment and learn from the experiences this year which has been dominated by the COVID crisis. Stephanie Gallo, chief marketing officer of Gallo Wines for example noted that “a key silver lining of Covid is that data show 4 million new consumers have entered the market”.

Wine2Wine said the industry must adapt to meet the needs of these new consumers, to innovate, and capitalise on new opportunities, and noted that the advances in the forum’s delivery this year, which can be viewed on demand until 30 November, allowed it to reach a global audience “like never before”.

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