The people in the wine industry are what makes winery recruitment so rewarding. To love recruiting is to love interacting with people of all experience levels and backgrounds. Sitting on a phone call with a new candidate, I love to hear how that person got interested in a career in wine and the different paths they took to get to where they are today.
To be a successful recruiter, I need to always be talking to new people and building relationships across the globe. And as an agent for wineries to find the right people for the job, I had better be as inclusive and equitable as possible.
Black people have been underrepresented in the wine industry, and as a recruiter I always want to bring more people into the industry. After the killing of George Floyd and the increased attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, there was a very honest call for more diversity in the wine industry. Thank goodness!
Two years ago, almost to the day, I became a professional member of the Association of African American Vintners. I had known some of the founding members over the years and wanted to get more involved. My first commitment to the organization was to help with educational and scholarship opportunities. The only way to increase diversity in any industry is to have people know it is a career possibility, then to give them the ability to get the right education and experience, and finally promote people into job opportunities. I was quickly on the Scholarship Committee, working with other AAAV members to give scholarships to Sonoma State University students.
While providing educational assistance to people is helpful, letting people know about career positions within the wine industry is also key. WineTalent has made sure new recruitments are posted on AAAV’s Facebook and networked with great AAAV professionals that expressed interest in jobs I’m working on.
Earlier this spring AAAV put out a call for volunteers for the 20th Anniversary Symposium’s Planning Committee. I put my hat in the ring, and quickly started working with other AAAV members on various elements for the May 20-22nd weekend of events. Founding AAAV member Lou Garcia put me on the Content and Programming Committee. Working with two other awesome volunteers we developed the content for the weekend. This included the Membership Meeting, the Symposium panel’s topics and participants, the Phenomenal Women in Wine luncheon, and the Celebration Fundraiser. Every Wednesday at 8:00 am we got on our Zoom planning meeting and boy did we hit the ball out of the park with awesome meetings, panelists, moderators and events. Every Thursday at 8:00 am we Zoomed with the entire planning committee to go over ticket pricing, promotional activities, logistics and volunteer needs. Coming into the group I only knew a couple of the committee members, but by the weekend of our Symposium I had made a lot of new friends.
I have been a panelist at similar events. I have attended plenty of events like this one. It was very satisfying to be on the planning side of this event, and with everyone pulling together we had a very successful event. I appreciate everyone who welcomed me into the group and had a super time at the AAAV 20th Anniversary Celebration Weekend. I made new friends, learned a lot, and got to meet some of my superheroes in the wine industry. More on that later!
Please visit the AAAV website here: https://www.aaavintners.org/ and to watch the Symposium via Wine Enthusiasts webinar, please visit https://www.winemag.com/2022/06/17/association-of-african-american-vintners-celebrates-20-years-of-education-legacy-and-unity/