We have founded our company on the following values, complete with action items and accountability measures. We hope LEGEND will not only be responsible for importing some excellent Australian wine into the United States, we also hope this little company will help perpetuate the values of equity, inclusion, sustainability, and – perhaps most importantly – joy.
Education is the foundation of our industry, yet it is a resource to which many do not have access. We pledge the following to better the educational structures in our industry:
- Our doors are always open. You can reach out to Jon (email@example.com) or Jane (firstname.lastname@example.org) anytime and we will assist your educational endeavors in anyway that we can. If you want a tasting, a quiz, a stack of flash cards, a study guide, a proctor, or just a listening ear: we will be there.
- We will further access for all professionals to taste wine. Access to tasting wine is a huge barrier in furthering one’s wine education. We plan to hold tastings regularly in cities across the US, pouring LEGEND’s wines and important wines from around the world. These tastings will not be designed for the established wine professional, but rather for people who are up-and-coming in the industry, and may not be able to afford to taste these wines themselves.
- We will enlist (and pay) BIPOC to educate alongside us.
- LEGEND will continually publish free content on its website providing education on Australian wine, current events, and issues of importance to our industry. In addition to general education, we will focus on the human and environmental implications of wine and link to resources that our communities can use to better educate themselves on the effects of alcohol and alcohol abuse, alcoholism, structural racism and inequities, aggressions toward BIPOC, white privilege, sexual harassment, homophobic and transphobic conduct, implicit bias,.
- We will always keep our ears open to be the ones educated. We recognize our biases and limitations when it comes to wine knowledge and societal inequities, and we will seek diverse voices to educate ourselves and our community.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, inclusion, and equity are powerful words that can often feel like lip service, or result in tokenism at best. That’s why we want to make some concrete promises on what we plan to do.
- We will create diverse spaces. We want to expand the participation in our industry beyond where it has been centered – in the rooms of white men. We pledge that for any tasting, event, class, or dinner we hold, the majority of the attendees will be people of color, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We want to shift the narrative and the representation of what our industry looks like to what it really is: filled with diverse voices that have been silenced and suppressed for far too long.
- We will prioritize inclusion and belonging. We will seek to create welcoming spaces by valuing all voices within our community. We will speak up and hold others accountable if they are not doing likewise. Racial slurs, sexual harassment, demeaning jokes, and any sort of hate talk will not be tolerated. We will design programming – in conversation with our communities – to appeal to diverse perspectives and interests.
- We will center equity in our outcomes. We will seek to amplify BIPOC, LBGTQ+, and female voices on our platforms and we will prioritize working with diverse peoples and leaders in our business relations. We will advocate for individual and systemic change in order to build a wine world in which everyone can participate equally and can all reach their full potential.
While LEGEND is currently a scrappy team of two, there are many partners with whom we will work: from those in long-term relationships like distributors, logistics partners, and website builders, to short-term collaborators like spaces for trade events and airlines for trips. Here’s how we plan to choose them:
- We will not partner with companies whose overarching values don’t align with our own. Does your company or CEO support politicians who promote racism or propagate inequity? You won’t be our distributor. We will not let our hard work support hatred, bigotry, and murder in this country or abroad.
- We will seek to partner with businesses owned by BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
- We will only import wines from wineries whose values align with our own. The Australian government requires every person in Australia to be paid a living wage and receive health care, so you can drink any of our wines with the knowledge that they weren’t made at the expense of an employee’s livelihood or wellbeing. On top of that, all the wineries we work with are independently owned and committed to environmental sustainability and equity in their companies and communities.
- We will seek out for our portfolio Australian wineries owned and managed by BIPOC, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- We will sell to and support restaurants and retailers who prioritize hiring BIPOC in their venues, with a special focus on ownership and positions of leadership.
- We will NOT support restaurants, retailers, or buyers who spew hatred, protect clientele that are abusive toward staff, foster sexual harassment, or perpetrate inequity.
Bias and Conduct
Australia is an enlightened place in many ways (high minimum wage, universal healthcare), but its track-record with race relations has room for improvement. The producers in our portfolio hold values that align with our own, but everyone (including ourselves) has implicit bias and gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed.
- We plan to initiate education and hold ourselves and our producers accountable to do the work to minimize bias. We want any person – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identification, size, age, neurodivergence, or disability – to be able to walk into their tasting rooms or restaurants and feel comfortable, safe, and welcome.
- We recognize that our idea of correctness in wine is just one lens, and we must leave room for diverse voices to define how to taste and view wine.
- We will discuss alcohol abuse. Moments of sexual harassment, offense, and inappropriateness can occur when too much alcohol is consumed. Having a good time can never lead to someone else’s discomfort or abuse.
The wine industry does not have a good track record with the environment. Much wine is made through conventional agriculture that strips the land of its nutrients and its sustainability, and wine is transported and consumed in a way that has a vast negative footprint. We want to make it better, not worse.
- We are only representing producers who engage in sustainable agriculture, many of whom subscribe to organics or biodynamics.
- We are researching ways to use more responsible packaging and transportation methods, that reduce the amount of energy and wastage in the wine industry.
- We recognize the toll that shipping wine from the other side of the world can take on our environment. We will calculate our annual metric tonnage of carbon emissions so that we’re able to offset these emissions with the planting of trees and donations to emission-reduction projects.
- We will prioritize working with partners who share our environmental values.
As a business and as individuals, we want to make contributions to the greater good in our communities, and in our world. We see barriers of entry and systemic issues in the wine industry that have led to inequity in participation and a centering of whiteness as the only source of expertise. We want to be part of substantive changes to these structures.
- We will be active personally, with our votes, our dollars, and our actions. We have already and will continue to support opportunities to drive change by voting, protesting, and donating to nonprofit and political organizations that we believe in, inside and outside of the wine industry.
- We will help create new systems in the wine industry. We are in the process of helping to develop new educational outlets that will be free for all, support independently-owned businesses, and make diverse voices prime. These outlets will also reexamine our Eurocentric and elitist ways of critiquing wine to allow for a more egalitarian approach that puts the power in the consumer’s hands, rather than an elite wine class.
- We will work to counteract the view that the wine industry is elitist. Along with our commitment (mentioned above) to actually make the wine industry less elitist, we also need to counteract the view that it is, in the eyes of our professionals and our consumers This can be approached through various initiatives: everything from changing what is considered acceptable dress for competitions and exams, to embracing less fussy service tools, to deprioritizing experiences only available to an elite few. Stay tuned for a complete list of action-items here. For us, this also ties into our next and final point…
- We will make responsible wine consumption affordable and easy. We are planning initiatives with our Australian producers to create economic wine solutions for consumers wanting to enter into the wine industry in a responsible way. We want to find creative ways to allow for organic and sustainable viticulture at an affordable price, packaging that allows for less, more mindful consumption, and access for all to responsibly-made, high-quality, delicious wine.