My latest in Meininger’s Wine Business International:
A new breed of winemaker wants to do more than make good wine. They want to change the world.
by L.M. Archer
There’s a new concept taking root in the wine industry: activist wines. Unlike traditional special bottlings produced for wine industry charity auctions and special events, activist wines serve a specific social purpose. They do good. But do they make good business sense?
Perhaps the preeminent ambassador for activist wines is Peter Weltman of Borderless Wine. A classically trained sommelier, Weltman founded Borderless Wine in 2017 after attending an ROI Community Summit in the Middle East. There, Weltman witnessed peaceful, cross-border wine production between a winery in Israel and vineyard in Palestine, despite historic hostilities. “That was a very big stamp, that wine is doing something important, and always kind of had been, but had never actually been contextualised that way,”Weltman says.
Activist wines are currently more a movement than a business, and Weltman uses a three-pronged approach to attract attention: savvy media skills, educational seminars and strategic partnerships with importers such as Jason Bajalia of Terra Sancta Trading Company and Frank Dietrich of Blue Danube Wine.
Weltman also aims to offer a network of indigenous wines from overlooked, often war-torn wine regions through the Borderless Wine Alliance, an adjunct of Borderless Wine. Current imports include La Casa Vieja from Baja, Mexico, and the forthcoming Dar Richi, a wine made by Syrian/Muslim refugee Abdullah Richi, currently the winemaker at Lebanese winery Couvent Rouge.
Weltman refers to this cross-cultural coalition building as soft diplomacy. “If there’s one magical thing that is still part of the discovery I can’t fully explain,” he says, “it’s that wine can bring all of these people truly together.” LINK HERE FOR MORE.
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