Game Changers: Radical Xchange and Wonder Women of Wine


This year started off with an industry first (that I've seen) as well as an overall necessity!

With paradigm shifts happening and complicated discussions being had, it couldn't be a better time to talk about the problematics within food, bev, and hospitality while also acknowledging and celebrating it as an important socio-historical-financial space for many communities.

Radical Xchange, a collective that uses "food and beverage as a conveyor for art, music, history, and community," put on an incredible conference, Resistance Served, in early February that I wish I could've attended - damn these empty pockets!

Panelists and personal heroes like scholar Michael Twitty of The Cooking Gene and Afroculinaria, winemaker Krista Scruggs of ZAFA Wines, and Dr. Howard Conyers, a pit master AND mfk'n NASA scientist, among other accomplished industry professionals, discussed topics relating to how the black community at large has survived, reclaimed, and is still working to change the field (because there IS tons of work to be done)!

Read this great write-up about the conference on The Washington Post.

Takeaway quote from the article:

I’m not really interested in creating spaces that focus on the oppression of black people and not their innovation and resilience.

Ashtin Berry, co-founder of Radical Xchange

This was their first conference and I'm excited to see more of their critical work, needed work!

IG - Website

A white tablescape with 4 glasses of rose wine

"What does equality in the wine industry mean to YOU?"

This was a question posed by Wonder Women of Wine last week in their Instastories. Though I could've answered with a 1,000-word essay, I was only able to fit "accessibility and representation in every way" in that tiny little box.

WWOW just had their inaugural conference this past weekend, addressing gender equality within the wine industry.

They had another outstanding line-up of more of my personal heroes (I do have a lot of people I look up to in food and wine). Speakers and panelists included Marissa Ross, wine writer for Bon Appetit, Krista Scruggs of ZAFA wines (yes, again!), and the prolific keynote speaker, Karen McNeil, who wrote The Wine Bible, and has won every wine industry award you can imagine.

This was another conference I wish I could've attended but I looked on longingly from afar in Instagram world.

Takeaway quote via an interview with Rania Zayyat, founder:

Q. What change do you hope to see in regards to women in the wine industry in the next five years?

A. I'd like to see more women stepping into the role of mentor and being comfortable with it. I think we tend to undervalue our skill sets and that can translate into us not being able to coach or mentor a young professional that could be learning a lot from us.

Rania Zayyat, founder of Wonder Women of Wine

IG - Website

Look out for and follow both of these organizations that are having discussions with important implications for our industry!