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Nov. 12, 2021

Great Wines, Unforgettable Experiences: Women Entrepreneurs Building their Own Spaces in Wine featuring Ashley Rawlinson and Shayla Varnado

Great Wines, Unforgettable Experiences: Women Entrepreneurs Building their Own Spaces in Wine featuring Ashley Rawlinson and Shayla Varnado

In a predominately white industry, black wine lovers have often found it difficult to find inclusion in the business. While there are some popular black-owned wines, they only account for 1% of all existing companies. After discovering their own passions...


In a predominately white industry, black wine lovers have often found it difficult to find inclusion in the business. While there are some popular black-owned wines, they only account for 1% of all existing companies. After discovering their own passions for wine, Ashley Rawlinson, Founder of HERitage Wines, and Shayla Varnado, Founder of Black Girls Wine & Society, became inspired to break these societal barriers by designing businesses that are rooted in black culture, femininity, and wine education.  

Growing up as black women, neither Ashley nor Shayla had experience drinking wine. It wasn’t until they were introduced to it later in life that they realized how powerful the experience can be. Not only is wine diverse in flavor, but the women have also shared some of their favorite memories over a bottle of wine with their girlfriends. In order to show your support, Ashley and Shayla tell listeners to request black-owned wines from your local stores. Regardless of societal standards, it is important that people of color feel included in the wine industry. 

Tune into this week’s episode of Southern Soul Live Stream to learn more about the community aspect of wine, the importance of supporting black-owned businesses, and how entrepreneurs like Ashley and Shayla are creating a new industry that is inclusive to all. 

 

Quotes

• “People go where they're welcome. If I don't see anyone reflective of me in your staff or in your audience then what reason do I have to then patronize the business? Because it doesn't look as if I am welcome or people who look like me even frequent this space.” (07:08-07:24 | Shayla)

• “In the grand scheme of things is not a lot when you have thousands of winemakers out there, but there's over a hundred Black-owned wine brands in the industry.” (10:11-10:22 Shayla)

• “Wine is not something culturally in the African American community that we are educated on or exposed to as young children.” (13:30-13:39 | Shayla)

• “Black-owned wines are not different. They may have had a harder struggle or a longer journey to get where they are, but their wines are amazing and just as good.” (26:15-26:25 | Ashley) 

• “As consumers, we need to go ask for Black-owned wines, and not just on Black History Month.” (26:33-26:37 | Ashley) 

• “I make sure that I send my guests home with a black owned wine they can try themselves. That’s a way I can expose them to something different.” (28:22-28:30 | Ashley)

• “As your palate matures, you will start to grow an appreciation for drier and various styles of wine. It just takes time.” (35:55-36:05 | Shayla)

• “Wine is the perfect icebreaker and the perfect connector regardless of who it is or where they’re from.” (40:29-40:34 | Shayla)

Links

Connect with Ashley Rawlinson & Shayla Varnado:

https://www.blackgirlswine.com/ 

https://www.heritagewinesllc.com/ 

 

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