This blog was written by Beverly Crandon, certified sommelier and founding member of Vinequity – a champion for diversity in the wine industry.

October is designated as the month to recognize Global Diversity and Inclusion Awareness. From what I can gather about the celebratory month’s source is that it came from a movement championed by two organizations, in the early 2000s. Through their voices, we saw the first Global Diversity and Inclusion Awareness month in 2004. 

Most give credence for the celebratory month to something that happened 56 years before – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. It took the terror of WWII, or I would like to think the culmination of human atrocity for centuries, to finally bring the world together to declare its belief in human rights. 

Having a globally approved declaration is nice. Dedicating a month to celebrate diversity is swell, but what would happen if there were more attention and focus on global diversity? 

Why diversity?

An industry advances and stays forever topical if it is willing to, and can, innovate. Due to many societal factors such as politics, financial states, and physical environment, our society changes. What worked yesterday may not be applicable today. For this and other reasons, innovation is necessary. 

Let’s take a look at the definition of innovation: the introduction of new things or methods. What are the chances of innovation, development, and progress if the same voices come to the table each time to address the issues?

Diversity promotes bringing people of different lived experiences together. In this environment, you not only achieve diversity in culture, and language but also in thinking, and that is how innovation is fueled and fostered. 

I also propose that diversity challenges us to grow and learn. By associating with those with different experiences, we gain insight into more than has ever been exposed to us. This point to personal growth is another way to fight pre-judging (prejudice) and racism. These things are usually born out of a bias of one and are not fact. Diversity and the bringing of several cultures together gives us a chance to build our own experiences with different individuals of different races, lessening our likeness to pre-judge or declare an entire race of people as one thing.

Look around you. From the data shared by Statistics Canada, we are diverse on paper. If we are in settings where that diversity is not seen, we have to ask ourselves questions about access and unconscious bias.

In an article I read recently, they positioned diversity as that feeling when you walk into a room and are greeted warmly by friends, versus entering a room of strangers who seem to know each other but no one knows you. You have no conversation to slide into and feel as though you do not belong. 

Diversity in 2022

I would argue that it was in May of 2020 (the death of George Floyd) when a spotlight on diversity, access, and inclusion became a beast that could not be ignored. Vinequity and dozens of other culturally inclusive groups and committees were formed. All with a goal to keep diversity and inclusion top of mind and not just a topic discussed in October.

We’re on the right track. Hard conversations that force us to look at our way of thinking and operations occur daily. I am seeing changes in the wine industry as we follow the educational progress of persons of colour participating in the Vinequity Scholarship Program. I am hopeful these minds will eventually be sitting around the table, aiding wine industry innovations. 

It is the work that keeps diversity, awareness, and inclusion top of mind daily that matters. In truth, I spoke to a few teachers before writing about Global Diversity and Awareness month. If anyone could tell me what this month means to them, it would be the teachers, especially the grade school teachers. School curriculums always call for humanitarianism and respect to be taught. All the teachers I spoke to promoted diversity, awareness, and inclusion in their classrooms regularly through various activities, but neither of them was aware that October was Global Diversity and Awareness Month. Interesting.

Diversity has to be more than a month of discussion. It must be something we live each day. Remember that room? Let’s build for a day that whoever walks into that proverbial room can look around and feel that they belong. 

About Vinequity

Vinequity is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organisation founded by seven female wine professionals of colour. The organisation has three main objectives: (1) to host a public online directory of Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) in the Canadian wine industry; (2) to raise scholarship funds and award them to BIPOC applicants wishing to further their wine industry careers in Canada; and (3) to provide advocacy, resources and support to marginalised people who have experienced barriers to advancing within Canada’s wine community.

Pelee Island Winery and Vinequity This October

During the month of October, our tasting bar is accepting donations for Vinequity. In addition, if you shop with us online, you have the option of adding a donation to your order.

And to top it all off, we’re hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting in support of Vinequity next Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 at 7pm EST.

Diversity, Inclusion and Awareness is something we’re always keeping top of mind here at Pelee Island Winery and we’re proud to partner with Vinequity to bring awareness to the cause.