In the Wine Industry, and Beyond
by L.M. Archer
It’s been nearly a year since I reposted an interview I did with Julia Coney, wine journalist, speaker and consultant, about diversity in the wine industry. You can read the full interview here.
Let’s be clear. I’m white. I don’t pretend to understand the struggles of a Black wine professional.
However, I felt compelled to interview Julia after I’d attended a wine writer’s conference about four years ago. At every event, seminar and tasting, I noticed a grand total of three or four people of color amidst a sea of white people.
Again, I am white. But I’m also an outlier. Outliers notice patterns others do not. Something seemed wrong.
I’m also a writer. Words are my tools. I didn’t choose writing; writing chose me. The universe gave me this gift, a gift that carries grave responsibility. A writer is only as good as they are willing to hear, to see, to feel. Because words have meaning. Words have power. Words can heal. Words can inspire. Words can educate.
I wanted to write about Julia Coney because she’s a woman of character, conviction and charisma. She’s also unflinchingly honest. A lot has happened since that interview. Julia Coney is now the founder of @blackwineprofessionals. You can watch Julia’s recent IGTV discussions on being Black in the Wine Industry on Instagram @juliaconey.
I took this photo of Château de Vézelay during my media visit to Bourgogne in March 2020. The trip precluded COVID-19 lockdown and the recent #BlackLivesMaster manifestations. At the time, I had no idea how much this image mirrors our current state of affairs. Is this a door half-opened in welcome, and hope? Or half-closed in defense, and despair? I know my answer. What’s yours? #ToLife.
Copyrighted L.M. Archer. All Rights Reserved.