The LatinX Wine Summit is creating a space to acknowledge the contributions and celebrate the accomplishments of Hispanics in Wine.
Written by Roberto Rivera
Last year, during Hispanic Heritage Month, Hispanics in Wine and Uncorked & Cultured debuted The LatinX State of the Wine Industry Summit hosted by Gabriela Fernandez of KVON’s The Big Sip series. The fully-virtual event shared the impact of Hispanic and Latinx contributions throughout the wine industry and provided immeasurable resources for wine entrepreneurs, professionals, and enthusiasts. As a Latino wine professional myself, I often feel invisible in industry circles, but this Latinx-centered wine summit was the first time I’ve ever felt comfortable talking about wine with others without hiding my heritage. Instead, I was able to celebrate it!
For the second year, the 2022 LatinX Wine Summit is heading to Napa Valley with a focus on Somos Visibles: Unheard Voices en Vino as an educational vehicle to share the impact of the Hispanic and LatinX contributions to the wine industry and amplify leaders ensuring inclusion in the world’s oldest industry. Presented by Hispanics in Wine in collaboration with Uncorked and Cultured and The Big Sip, the one-day summit will take place on December 1, 2022, at RD Winery as a hybrid event, with an in-person and virtual experience.
To get you ready for this year’s summit, let’s take a look back at some powerful moments from last year’s event.
Voices of the Vineyards
“I think one of the less talked about topics that we don’t hear is the hard work our gente have to do every day to grow these fabulous grapes, to make these amazing wines,” said Irineo Hernandez Barron, an Associate Vineyard Manager of Vineyard Constellation brands.
Isn’t that the truth? The industry tends to focus on soil, vines, and winemaking as the main factors to make great wine but doesn’t recognize the hands that care for and nurture the terroir. Families affected by the high costs of living in wine country, long travel distances, and exposure to pesticides and harmful chemicals are all sacrifices that are conveniently overlooked as consumers sip delicious wine and the $70 billion industry thrives.
The Voices of the Vineyard panel highlighted the unspoken topic of the labor of love of dedicated vineyard stewards, where they come from, how this work affects them and their families, and some of the programs out there making a difference in their lives. I immigrated to the U.S. from Peru and saw my parents’ hands in those hands, their sweat, and sacrifices for their families, and this hit me hard.
Catch up on that full discussion:
Marketing and Media for Hispanic Consumers
“Representation and relatability matters; add flavor to your website,” said Amanda Joffe of ShittyWineMemes.
Differences in ethnicity and culture have been missing in wine marketing, and the lack of inclusion leaves money on the table and missed opportunities for long-term sustainability.
It’s no secret that the wine industry has some work to do in diversifying the industry, particularly when it comes to building bridges for the Latinx community. The Marketing and Media for Hispanic Consumers panel brought this topic front and center and provided solutions to close the gap. According to Nielsen’s data, by 2023, the buying power of the U.S. Latinx population is expected to top 1.9 trillion dollars. We are the future.
You can find that discussion here:
Disruptors Shaping the Future of Wine
Have you ever gotten the feeling, when you show up, you weren’t supposed to be there? “I still experience the shocked reaction on people’s faces when I show up at the table,” said Marquita Levy Somm, consultant & sales/distribution.
Far too often, wine professionals of color are challenged on their knowledge of wine and overlooked as “just the help.” From personal experience with customers, I’ve been asked IF I know about wine, and even debated on why I know more about wine than they do. We have to normalize that, Latinx wine educators, professionals, and entrepreneurs exist and are supported by the industry. How do we do this? By continuing to show up and sharing our knowledge with passion.
Also, the inclusion of our LGBTQ Latinx community is essential. As a tio of a non-binary person, I can relate to how difficult it can be for the LGBTQ community to be seen. Inclusion is so important, and as our world migrates to a more inclusive environment in all aspects, the Latinx wine community must stand behind and lift each other up.
Watch the full discussion:
Before the last couple of years, the resources and help for minorities were almost non-existent. Thankfully, today AHIVOY and The Roots Fund are helping our gente by creating educational scholarships, mentorships, and job placement opportunities. The future of wine is multicultural and colorful, which is why including Latinx values and traditions in the industry will enrich wine culture and narrow the lack of opportunities for our vino community.
Last year’s inaugural LatinX State of the Wine Summit empowered the strong voices and stories of Hispanics in wine. It was a powerful and emotional experience, that sparked the fire for attendees to continue their wine journey, build community, and be a resource for the industry’s efforts toward true equity and inclusion.
We can’t wait to bring those voices back for you with this year’s summit, which will be a hybrid event. Tickets are on sale now at our Eventbrite website. I hope to see you there!
About the Author
Roberto Rivera was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and discovered his passion for wine and the stories that were told during a wine tasting. Eager to learn more about wine, he began part-time at a local wine shop, and what started out as a part-time job restocking bottles, moving cases, and doing deliveries, became a full-time passion, with the support of his familia.
Having completed the WSET Level 3 Advanced Course and moving on to the Diploma program, Roberto’s dream is to become the first Peruvian-American Master of Wine and inspire more Latinx wine professionals to pursue the program.
Today he is one of the three tasters at one of the top wine shops in New Jersey, 56 Degree Wine.