This past weekend it happened! Blenheim Vineyards’ OENOverse wine club teamed up with the Verasion Project and local wineries to hold the first ever Two Up, Wine Down Festival. The event built on OENOverse’s mission of amplifying BIPOC voices in the wine industry whether they be wine professionals, enthusiasts, writers, or allies of those who are trying to make it in the industry as anything other than white.
Held at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC) in Charlottesville, VA, the event attracted wine lovers from all backgrounds from across the state. In some ways above all it reiterated what Black Women Who Wine already knows – that Black women have a thirst for more events that center them as serious wine lovers and part of Virginia wine and that they are consumers of this product (and would be even greater consumers of it if it was made more accessible).
In many ways this weekend was extremey gratifying for me. Black Women Who Wine participants and members showed up in full force, had a good time, and purchased wine. I, as the founder of the group, was there pouring. I hope I did my ladies justice.
There were so many important voices in the crowd that converged on the JSAAHC lawn, many of whom probably went unrecognized by local media and Virgina wine industry professionals because they are Black voices not often heard in this part of the state.
The other thing to point out, that I always point out, is the sheer buying power I experience at these events. From tickets to bottles, Virginia wine’s popularity is growing with this group of consumers as they venture beyond grocery store shelves and for others, as they see local wineries seeing and making space for them. It’s a great thing and the hope is that it continues with more wine makers and wineries coming along.
It was a special weekend for everyone who organized the event and those of us particpating, but I hope everyone who attended also felt how magical this moment was. Cheers to more moments like this.
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