Meet Drinkclusion Donor: Buyers + Cellars
Vinequity would like to introduce you to some of the Drinkclusion donors that help make scholarships for 'beverage alcohol' BIPOC and other underrepresented persons possible. Let's start by introducing you to Buyers + Cellars, Wine Purveyors.
What would you like the Vinequity community to know about your products and services?
Buyers + Cellars is a boutique wine agency focused on bringing exciting, esoteric wines to Ontario. We work with small producers who have a strong connection to the land and respect for the environment. The B+C Tasting Room opened in 2020 in downtown Ottawa. This elegant space — located in Somerset Village and part of Ottawa’s vibrant 2SLGBTQ+ community — is an ideal location for business meetings, events and wine classes and provides an opportunity for consumers to taste and learn about wines from around the world.
What do diversity, equity and inclusion mean at your organization?
Buyers+Cellars is committed to improving equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within our own organization and within the broader beverage alcohol industry in Ontario. We have made a few small strides to this end, including working with wineries that are owned by or have wines made by underrepresented peoples (for example, Indigenous Wine World, Uvairenda Srl, Altocedro and Jordan River Wines); leading the fundraising efforts and participating in the Mentorship Partnership program of the Drinks Ontario Drinkclusion initiative; and working to improve our hiring practices to enhance diversity and representation within our company. Since 2020, B+C has been the Wine Sponsor for The Merit Bursary Award, which provides incentives to pursue higher education to high-needs and at-risk senior high school students in the GTA. Racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse students are often labelled as low achievers and racialized groups of Black and Latin American students lag behind all other races in attending post-secondary school.
There is still much work to be done, both individually and collectively. To this end, in early 2022 we established a B+C Diversity Taskforce whose mandate is to help ensure our operations and company culture are consistent with our larger EDI goals. This group of employees is assisting in the creation of a Code of Conduct and Employee Handbook, the development of a Dispute Resolution process and the establishment of hiring and portfolio development guidelines. In the past 6 months, we have significantly enhanced the diversity and representation within our own workforce.
We commit to remain mindful of historic and systemic EDI issues, and to continue to strive to be better,
Who are some people of colour inside and outside of the beverage industry that inspire you?
We are inspired by many BIPOC members of the wine world including:
Robert and Bernice Louie of Indigenous World Winery, who merge modern culture with Indigenous history in B.C.’s only 100% Indigenous-owned winery.
Nstsiki Bayela - as South Africa’s first Black winemaker and director of Aslina Wines, Ntsiki challenged sexist and racist barriers.
Robin and Andréa MacBride, who built McBride Sisters Wine Company around inclusivity and sustainability into the largest Black- owned, women-owned winery in the U.S.
Julia Coney, a wine writer, activist and founder of Black Wine Professionals.
What organization/company do you think is a role model in implementing DEI initiatives?
It is encouraging to see a growing list of organizations prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion policies and practices, setting inspiring examples for others. One such organization is People’s Pint Brewing Company in Toronto, which aims “to provide a platform for historically marginalized voices and lift them up in any way that we can.” People’s Pint has worked closely with members of the BIPOC and LGBTQ2+ communities over the years, collaborating on custom brews and donating a portion of the profits from these sales to various charities including: Black is Beautiful (Black Healthy Alliance / Do Better Be Better); Glad Day Bookstore (benefitting trans workers impacted by COVID-19); and Indigenous People’s Day / National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (100% of profits from sales on those days were donated to the Residential School Survivors Fund).