Press & Clips
In 2018, Julia Coney, a wine and travel writer based in Washington, D.C., led an initiative to help women of color secure scholarships to attend the inaugural women’s forum Bâtonnage in Napa Valley, California. Through her efforts, five scholarships were granted to women of color; there were 320 attendees altogether.
What more does the wine community need to know about African American consumers?
This was the question racing through my mind as I sat and spoke with Julia Coney in Washington DC a few weeks ago. Coney, a lifestyle writer and consultant with a focus on wine, is a colleague and also a friend who good-humoredly tolerated my earnest questions that still rung, even to my own ears, of naiveté and being out-of-touch with an entire segment of the wine consuming public.
“Excuse me, you look like you work here.” “Are you sure you’re in the right room?” “I’m sorry, I thought you were the help.” “How do you afford to travel like you do?”
I grew up in a house where words meant things. And not just the words themselves; “it’s not what you say, but how you say it,” echoed daily. I used to mock my parents for saying it until I became an adult and realized the adage’s simple truth. The questions and statements below are just a few things that have been said to me while I attended wine tastings.
In recent years, the wine writing landscape has witnessed the arrival of several exciting new voices, among them Marissa A. Ross, Randy Smith, Elaine Brown, Alisha Sommer and Jess Lander, to name a few. Julia Coney, whose former beauty blog, All About the Pretty, reached a national audience (The Washington Post, Lucky, Essence and Ebony), adds an informed-yet-casual perspective on wine for the consumer to explore.
As I write this, the Washington, D.C.-based Coney is in Paris, sitting as a judge on the Concours Mondial des Feminalise panel, an all-woman wine tasting and judging competition.
Wine Judge. Féminalise World Wine Competition in Paris, France. Jury members are selected among the female members of the wine network on the basis of their faculty to taste wine: producers, oenologists, technicians, wine-traders, wine-brokers, and wine representatives.
The Tasting Panel
The first thing you learn in wine education is how much you don’t know about wine. The second thing you learn is the value of scent and the ability to smell.
In his book, Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent, famous Hermès perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena says, “Perfume is a story in odors, sometimes a poetry of memory.” The term “odor” is similar in the world of wine. Every wine has a distinct odor, but the scent imbeds itself in our memory.
Equity At The Table (EATT) is very much inspired by the aphorism that it’s better to “build a longer table, not a higher fence.” EATT is a practical and proactive response to the blatant gender and racial discrimination that plagues the food industry. EATT is an easy-to-navigate database for food industry professionals featuring only women/gender non-conforming individuals and focusing primarily on POC and the LGBTQ community.
Women in Hospitality United. to build community by creating safer spaces to gather; to foster leadership and champion the equitable advancement of all people through connection, mentorship, and resource sharing; to empower our members by providing tools, training, advocacy, and support; and to develop solutions and provide policies that set new standards for equity, accountability, and transparency in the industry.
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