On my last journey in France with my partner (a Black American wine professional), the Golden Eagles followed us the entire way, blessing every vineyard with every step we took from Champagne to Provence, illuminating our intention to integrate our authentic selves and bring meaning to our discoveries so that we can share in ways that invite others to participate their authentic selves.
Having grown up with traditional Lakota values, and having spent a life in wine, I know deep inside myself that Indigenous values are well aligned with wine. Many people in Indigenous and Black communities have wounds from alcohol being weaponized against our families and communities. many of us find ourselves conflicted about being drawn to wine because of the suffering alcohol has caused our people and cultures. But the truth of wine is about a collaboration between people and nature - people, communities, and families -sharing their fate with the great mystery of our world through the transformative power of fermentation - this is healthy and good for any people who create a wholistic culture for themselves around the table where wine is poured.
When we heal ourselves and our communities, we claim our right relationship to the intoxicating aspect of wine, and we are able to participate in the majesty of this millennia-old partnership between people and place to produce a product that brings pleasure and prosperity to those who partake.
People, place, passion.
Wine is for everybody, and our global wine industry is better when diverse cultural perspectives participate. Simply including marginalized people in spaces with rigid cultural perspectives around wine isn't enough or even significantly productive - opening a space for diverse voices to contribute to the molding of our global wine culture is what is required. We need to invite differently, teach differently, write differently, market differently. imbibe differently, and celebrate differently TOGETHER. Then the richness of spirit and prosperity will flow.