DEBI Toolkit

Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion Task Force Toolkit

A resource center created by the WVWA’s Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion (DEBI) Task Force. Suggestions/submissions? Email us!


HR Resources

@blackwineprofessionals instagram account; follow and tag in job posts

@wineunify instagram account; follow and tag in job posts

Association of African American Vintners 

Black Food Folks follow and reach out on instagram @blackfoodfolks

Diversity in Wine and Spirits

The Hue Society 

Urban Connoisseurs 

Local NAACP chapters also provide resources for organizations and non-profits to use; Oregon branches listed here

Equity at the Table (EATT) Primarily restaurant-focused, but there is a segment for vintners and wine professionals as well


Anti-Racism Training Resources and Courses 

Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Social Change: Everyone Has a Role to Play

My Role in the Social Change Ecosystem


Black-Owned Wineries

In Oregon:

Abbey Creek Vineyards

Maison Noir Wines



Wine Professionals of Color to Follow on Instagram

@juliaconey and @blackwineprofessionals 















67 Black-Owned Wineries on Instagram


Organizations Working on Racial Justice

For reference: Black Lives Matter–vetted “how to help” carrd: (also maintains this list of black-led orgs)

Portland African-American Leadership Forum

Strong, recent suggestions of where to donate in this piece from The Cut


Messaging Suggestions

Keep in mind…

  • Racism is not new and systemic inequalities have always existed in the United States (especially in Oregon)
  • People of color have been trying to draw attention to these problems for a very long time
  • The bar (not being racist) is very low; simply declaring that you are not racist is not a PR tactic
  • Don’t post anything on which you can’t follow through: ask yourself if what you are saying is actionable, and if you were asked about it six months from now, what you would have to show for it?


Potential PR talking points for WVWA

  • WVWA stands against all forms of racism, sexism, exclusion, and bigotry. 
  • We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we recognize that we have much work to do. 
  • We will be actively working on a roadmap to contribute more conversation, action and practices around diversity, equity and inclusion in the Willamette Valley and in the wine industry as a whole.


Reading on Racism and Racial Justice


The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: Racialized Social Democracy and the “White” Problem in American Studies

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

How to be an Anti-Racist

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness


What is an Anti-Racist Reading List For? (good accompaniment to White Fragility)

Your Wine Glass Ceiling is My Wine Glass Box: An Open Letter to Karen MacNeil and the Wine Industry

Being Black in the White World of Wine



Resources from Anti-Racist Discussion Group (Interested? Learn more!)

History of White Supremacy and Racism in the United States and Oregon

Racial Identity

Understanding Privilege and White Fragility

Racism in the Wine Industry and Next Steps

Business Diversity Pledge

The Willamette Valley Wine Business
Diversity Pledge

The Willamette Valley Wine Business Diversity Pledge

By signing the Willamette Valley Wine Business Diversity Pledge, I am an owner or principal at my Willamette Valley wine business committing to lead a specific set of actions for my business which will:

  1. Create a more diverse workforce and management team by finding diverse qualified candidates for hiring opportunities, which may include background research to:
    • Reach underrepresented communities by publicizing our vineyard, cellar, hospitality, management, office job and internship opportunities to underrepresented populations found beyond wine job boards.
    • Engage in providing support and mentorship to wine professionals of color.
    • Review our job position descriptions and postings for implicit bias and cultural barriers to entry.
    • Explore diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion (DEBI) education for our teams and empower employees to manage boundaries with customers and partners.
    • Foster workplaces that enable challenging conversations about DEBI.
  1. Move beyond the current white, male, and able-bodied wine region media landscape. This may include steps such as:

    • Presenting images, stories, and programs that welcome all wine enthusiasts to our tasting rooms, events, cellars, vineyards, and offices.
    • Including stories and imagery in our media and advertising that challenge the status quo image of the “typical” wine drinker.
    • Ensuring prospective customers see themselves represented in our stories, articles, cover photos, and marketing.
  1. Seek out and consider suppliers owned or operated by underrepresented communities.
    • When making key supplier decisions (e.g., grapes, bottling, sales and marketing), we will investigate and consider businesses owned or operated by underrepresented communities.
    • We will share diverse supplier information with The Willamette Valley Wine Business Diversity Pledge participants.
  1. We will share our experiences with other Willamette Valley wine businesses.

We recognize that the commitments above won’t undo a long history of bias, discrimination and inequity in Oregon and the US, nor will it solve our challenges overnight, but we believe change can start with us as individuals leading our Willamette Valley wine businesses to create incremental progress toward building a more inclusive wine industry.  We hope this list of participating Willamette Valley wine businesses will grow over time, and we invite other Willamette Valley wine businesses to join us.

We believe the wine industry will reach its full potential when it represents everyone who drinks wine. By committing to The Willamette Valley Wine Business Diversity Pledge and advocating for diversity and inclusion within our workplaces, industries, and broader business community, we create a wine landscape that includes and empowers everyone.

We commit to sharing our progress with a representative from an external advisory council (to be formalized in Q320 and communicated to participating wine businesses) to evaluate our progress towards weaving a culture and operating environment of diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusion into our Willamette Valley wine businesses.  We will track our own progress, share regular updates with the representative, and hold ourselves accountable to the goals we have set in The Willamette Valley Winery Business Diversity Pledge.

We will support other Willamette Valley wine businesses in their pursuit of inclusion: by building on our culture of collaboration, we will enhance existing programs and commitments to better serve the greater wine community.


(Company Representative, Business Name)




8 Alluring Oregon Pinot Noirs Rated 90+ Points

Wine Spectator – June 22, 2020

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is on a hot streak, with consecutive outstanding vintages going back to 2012. This week’s selection of Pinot Noirs are all rated 90 points and higher on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale. Most are 2018s, which are just starting to hit shelves. Read full article.

Statement on Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion

Statement on Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion

June 5, 2020 – The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) would like to make our position on racial equality absolutely clear to our customers, our community members, and the wider wine industry. After reflecting on the past week of protest and pain and the implications for wine industry professionals of color, we offer the following context and a promise.

Here’s the context: In 2019 the WVWA formed a Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion task force with the stated goal to advocate for diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity opportunities for our members and trade and consumer audiences of our programs. At our 2020 Annual Meeting in February, that task force set out a timeline for specific steps to identify and address the needs of our most vulnerable community members.

Now for the promise. This week, that same task force agreed on a more immediate goal: to develop a comprehensive Equity Toolkit for wineries and a pledge that includes actionable and accountable steps signatory wineries will agree to take toward inclusivity and equity in the workplace and beyond. We know we are still learning, and want to be held accountable to continue educating ourselves, so that we may be better equipped to nurture a sense of true belonging among underrepresented groups of wine tradespeople. Our ultimate goal is a wine industry that empowers each of its members and reflects all those who drink wine. We look forward to presenting this commitment plan in the coming weeks.

For now, we want to acknowledge that the wine industry has not served our Black professionals, aspiring professionals and customers well. We formally declare ourselves supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, knowing that is only a first step, and we are prepared to make the necessary changes to reflect that support.

Wine Origins Alliance Webinar: So You Think You Know Willamette Valley Wine?

Wine Origins Alliance Virtual Tasting:
So You Think You Know Willamette Valley Wine?

Wednesday, June 17, 6:00 p.m. PST



Sure, you know Oregon’s Willamette Valley has established itself as one of the world’s most important Pinot noir regions. But what’s next for this exciting place, and what is inspiring winemakers now?

A powerhouse trio—pioneer winegrower and Ribbon Ridge Winery co-owner Harry Peterson-Nedry, second-generation Elk Cove Vineyards winemaker Adam Campbell, and Johan Vineyards winemaker Morgan Beck—will each share their thoughts, while presenting wines that represent a side of the Valley they want you to know. The Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s Julia Burke (dipWSET) will moderate.

This event is a part of the Wine Origins Alliance Wine on Earth Taste-a-Thon. Learn more. 




Legacy Winery Ponzi Vineyards Announces New AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Legacy Winery Ponzi Vineyards Announces New AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley


June 2, 2020 – Sherwood, OR – Nearly four years since its submission by Ponzi Vineyards and Dion Vineyard in 2016, the TTB has announced the approval of the Laurelwood District AVA, the latest American Viticultural Area within Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Beyond geographical boundaries this designation defines its area by its distinct soil type, Laurelwood.

“It’s been a decade-long project so we couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s a natural next step towards further defining the Willamette Valley,” remarked second generation winemaker and winery owner Luisa Ponzi who collaborated with her sister Anna Maria and the Johnson family on the research and eventual application.

The Laurelwood District’s boundary is defined by the predominance of a unique soil series recognized as Laurelwood. This loess (windblown) soil consists of freshwater sedimentary topsoil over a fractured basalt subsoil. It encompasses over 33,000 acres of the North and East facing slope of the Chehalem Mountains, including the highest elevation in the Willamette Valley at 1633 ft.

“Our hope is that this AVA will better define this part of the Willamette Valley that is unique due to its geology and therefore, its wines.” Anna Maria Ponzi, President and owner of Ponzi Vineyards explained. “As consumers are eager to know more about the products they purchase, this designation enables us to tell the story of this place and why and how our wines are different.”

Since the early 70’s, the Ponzi family has farmed 140 acres of certified sustainable vineyards all planted on Laurelwood soil. “We have an intimate relationship with this land. We’re confident in how to express this soil in the resulting wines.” Luisa Ponzi said, noting Pinot noirs show blue and black fruit, spice and rustic tannins, while Chardonnays present white floral aromas, brilliant acidity and salinity.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Ponzi Vineyards has developed a reputation for being Oregon trailblazers and innovators. The list of accomplishments includes pioneering one of the first vineyards in 1970, establishing Oregon’s first craft brewery in 1984, developing one of wine country’s first regional wine bars and restaurants, a state of the art, gravity-flow winery and the valley’s first seated tasting experience for visitors. Winemaking innovations include the production of Italian varietals in the 1990’s and most recently a viticultural technique called Clonal Massale, among others.

The sister-owned winery is located in Sherwood, just 20 miles from Portland. Ponzi Vineyards is nationally represented by Vintus Wines of New York.


For more information please contact: Sierra Rosenberg, Communications Manager /


Tualatin Hills AVA Granted Official Status

Tualatin Hills AVA Granted Official Status


WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGON (June 3, 2020) – Tualatin Hills is the newest Oregon American Viticultural Area (AVA) established by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The designation highlights a unique grape-growing region characterized by its northern most location within the Willamette Valley, due west of Portland and just east from the Oregon Coast Range.

Home to the very first commercial vineyard in Oregon, the region has long been an active agriculture area. Defined by the watershed of the Tualatin River, the new AVA houses the largest concentration of Laurelwood soils in Oregon, a windblown volcanic soil mixed with basalt, known as Loess, deposited by the Missoula Floods 12,000 years ago. Laurelwood soils tend to lead to Pinot Noir with elegant structure and texture, with distinctive cherry, blackberry and spice, considered to reflect a more European style.

At an elevation range between 200 and 1,000 feet, the area benefits from the rainshadow of the Coast Range with a slightly lower rainfall, cooler springs and warmer falls. It is sheltered to the west by some of the highest peaks of the coastal mountains and shielded to the south by the large mass of the Chehalem Mountains.

Beginning in 2015, the AVA petition was led by Alfredo Apolloni of Apolloni Vinyeards, Rudy Marchesi of Montinore Estate and Mike Kuenz of David Hill Vineyard and Winery.

“Our northernmost 15-mile slice of the Willamette Valley is a special place in the Tualatin Hills defined by its soil and climate.” remarked Alfredo Apolloni, Owner and Winemaker of Apolloni Vineyards. “The new AVA designation will help highlight the unique and distinctive wines produced from our area and its soils, as we further define the exceptional places growing and producing wine in the Willamette Valley and in Oregon.”

The area spans approximately 144,000 acres with Chehalem Mountains AVA to the East and Yamhill-Carlton AVA to the South. Among many, it includes Apolloni Vineyards, David Hill Winery, Elk Cove, Montinore Estate, Tualatin Estate Vineyard, and many others.

“This area has been our home for a long time,” commented Rudy Marchesi, Partner at Montinore Estate. “The unique combination of the Missoula Floods Loess soil and the protection of the coastal range create distinctive conditions that are reflected in each bottle we produce. We’re thrilled to have the designation to help people taste the characteristics of this special corner of the Valley.”


Media Contacts: Alfredo Apolloni 248.506.3415

Rudy Marchesi 503.348.0400


Recipe: Strawberry Panzanella Salad (Cooper Mountain Vineyards)

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Cooper Mountain Vineyards  |  “Strawberry Panzanella Salad”

Step- by -step recipe for a fresh summer salad made by Chef Jeff Larson and our Cooper Mountain Vineyards Gamay Noir. These two go together like food and wine. 

Watch the video to learn how to make this dish!