Livermore, Calif. (November 29, 2022)—Funding growth is a hurdle for most wine entrepreneurs but can be particularly challenging for people of color. A new program from the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) is designed to help by annually awarding $5,000 grants to Black-owned, AAAV-member businesses to positively impact their operations, marketing or innovation efforts. AAAV will award five grants in the first quarter of 2023. Fundraising to support the program is underway now, kicked off by a $5,000 grant from H-E-B. To donate, visit https://givebutter.com/
“H-E-B is happy to support this important endeavor. We realize that to make small and diverse suppliers better at their craft to help us better serve our customers, it requires funding, education and research,” says James E. Harris, H-E-B’s Sr. Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity. “H-E-B was founded on the unwavering belief that each and every person counts. Through our Be the Change initiative, H-E-B pledges to do our part to advance equity and inclusion across our great state of Texas.”
The application process for the first AAAV Wine Entrepreneur Grants will open in January 2023 with details posted on aaavintners.org. Applicants must be current AAAV members at the grower, vintner or negociant level.
“AAAV celebrated two decades of advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the wine industry in 2022. Until now, we’ve been primarily focused on scholarships and paving the path for people of color to enter the wine industry,” said Longevity Wines founder and winemaker Phil Long who became president of AAAV in 2020. “We are starting our third decade with a new commitment to provide tangible help to our members in breaking down barriers and building successful businesses. Our new wine entrepreneur grant program is just the first step.”
AAAV Executive Director Angela McCrae added, “access to capital and land is essential for true equity and inclusion in the United States. Only 2% of agricultural land ownership is by Black, Indigenous or people of color in this country, so we still have a long way to go. With the help of our supporters and wine industry leaders committed to a sustainable and inclusive future, AAAV will provide access to capital for growing wine businesses. We are supporting self-determination and entrepreneurship.”
The Small Business Credit Survey: 2021 Report on Firms Owned by People of Color, conducted by the U.S. Federal Reserve System, found that across all owner groups by ethnicity, Black-owned firms that applied for traditional forms of financing were least likely to receive all the financing they sought.
About the Association of African American Vintners
The mission of the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) is to increase diversity in the wine industry, build awareness of Black winemakers and provide guidance and financial assistance to students from underrepresented minorities pursuing careers in the wine industry. Visit aaavintners.org for more information, to donate and to purchase many AAAV member wines.