The second annual Latinx Wine Industry Summit was held on December 1, 2022 at RD Winery in Napa. The event was held both in-person and virtually. This year’s theme, “Somos Visibles: Unheard Voices en Vino” in celebration and recognition of the unheard stories, work, and journeys of the Hispanic and LatinX wine community.
The event was presented by Hispanics in Wine in collaboration with Uncorked and Cultured and The Big Sip. The inclusive and immersive event included deeper insights and conversation into the agricultural and economic resilience of the backbone of America’s wine industry while uncovering the perseverance and legacy building navigating the impact of Covid.
Gabriela Fernandez, supervisor of Trade and Events Marketing for The Duckhorn Portfolio, led 3 panels discussions:
Gabriela Fernandez was born and raised in Napa Valley. Gabriella is the daughter of a migrant worker and understands the different layers of the wine industry. She is also the curator of the special talk show “The Big Sip” where she highlights and amplifies black and brown trailblazers breaking barriers in food, wine, and arts.
Some of the vendors present was Cristina Gonzales owner of Gonzales Wine Company shared how she believes in highlighting the talents of Vineyard Stewards who make the wine industry possible, and creating an inclusive community around wine that parts with Eurocentric tradition. Armando Tam author of Comidazo It’s a vibe Cookbook, sharing the importance of highlighting and sharing the authentic story behind every small business. Nancy Ulloa owner of Ulloa Wines sharing her story and how she built her supportive community through social media.
Ikimi Dubose with The Roots Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on securing a pathway for the BIPOC community in wine built to create financial support for education, mentorship, and job placement opportunities, explained how The Roots Fund is “doing the work” to create inclusivity for communities of color in the wine industry. Since its foundation in 2020, the organization has raised over a half million dollars and created more than 100 scholarships that will bring years of change and equity into the wine industry.
Ikimi highlighted the importance of supporting the wine industry workforce through their entire journey in the industry and building opportunities for continued growth within a company.
The event followed with Keynote Speaker April Yap-Hennig. April is Latina with family roots from Peru. April discussed her life growing up in the Dominican Republic, moving often, and how people always assumed she wasn’t Latina because of her appearance and being fair-skinned. It’s important to note that the Latinx community does not all look the same. April is a seasoned food & wine marketing & communications professional with over 17 years of experience in international B2B & direct to consumer environments in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, & the US. April’s history in the beverage, sustainability, & tech industries informs her strategic brand leadership at Dobbes, where developing & enhancing brand perception, equity, & integrity is a top focus and priority.
The event ended with a tasting finale celebration that included many Latinx Owned Wines. Attendees had the opportunity to network, mingle and hear the stories behind the brand first hand. Some of the wine tastings included Don Chalo Cellars, Co- founded in 2018, Don Chalo Cellars is the culmination of generations with a passion for Winemaking and viticulture. Dating back as early as the 1970’s Don Chalo made the brave decision to embark on a journey to the United States, driven by a necessity to support his family. Little did he know, one by one, each of his children would grow to develop zest for the land and appreciate the beauty that would blossom from their fruitful labor. Decades later, this new generation of winemakers are paying homage to their father by curating a familial style of especially handcrafted wines. From the care of the vine to the bottled product, Don Chalo Cellar's wines exude a true expression of the love that is born from our finest moments.
Darwin Acosta, Founder of Co-Fermented, is dedicated to creating awareness and facilitating representation for the LGBTQIA+ community within the wine industry. Co-Fermented Mission: As a community that has experienced historical barriers of acceptance, identity, and representation, Co-Fermented seeks to create inclusive and safe spaces, as well as challenge the status quo that limits our self-being and expression through the use of educational tools, representation, and community building.
Co-Fermented is committed to using wine as a conduit for narratives within gender and sexual diversity while elevating LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals and embrace the queer experience.
We interviewed Chris Rivera, owner of Seis Soles, and he had this to say.
“My parents immigrated from central México where the Aztecs believed the world had been created and destroyed in four cycles, giving way to life under the fifth sun. Seis Soles, the sixth sun, represents the growth of our generation's culture and values. Every person, regardless of their skin color, belief system or geographic location, lives under the 6th Sun. Seis Soles respects tradition but strives to promote the new.
A new understanding of how we all are in this together, promoting a healthy planet and a new way to think about wine. Drawing from my experience I have created four wines that express my winemaking sensibilities. Important to me is the transparency of flavors, and the way wine fits into our lives. For this reason, my wines are very expressive, they’re both lively and balanced and offer a wide range of appeal. Seis Soles Wines are made to be enjoyed with a meal and as an accompaniment to life."
We would like to sincerely thank the Latinx Wine Summit for inviting us, it was truly a rewarding experience and look forward to next years event, for more information about the organization and a full list of all participating wineries click here.