After their successful completion of the program, Suhayl was hired as the Director of Customer Engagement at Trois Noix Winery in Napa, and Amanda was hired as the Communications Coordinator for O’Donnell Lane, based in Sonoma.
June and Victor joined the program in 2021 and will graduate in 2022. Victor is keeping his career options open, while June has her eyes on a career in winemaking.
While Allie is our youngest recipient, she already knows that she wants to be a powerful voice in the movement to make the wine industry less homogeneous. Lucy has a passion for restaurants and knows that her year in the program will propel her to new heights in the industry.
Wine education is a core element of The Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color. An endowment was established at Boston University’s Certificate Program in Wine Studies to fully fund the two members of each cohort through four levels of wine education, including full semesters of classes and tasting sessions. It is TJ and Hadley’s belief that the Wine Studies program provides graduates with all the necessary coursework they need to begin a successful career in wine. Graduates receive a certification from the program upon completion.
As the program expands, TJ and Hadley Douglas hope to provide additional awards for students of color to other schools across the country, specifically to learn the fourth side of the wine industry - winemaking.
In addition to course work at Boston University, award recipients receive the opportunity to complete four paid industry internships during the time of their coursework. In addition to gaining retail experience at The Urban Grape, award recipients will also complete internships at MS Walker, a family-owned wine and spirits distributor founded in 1933, boasting one of the most comprehensive portfolios in the state; Row 34, the restaurant group founded by Jeremy Sewall and Shore Gregory that is known for its exceptional dedication to customer service, as well as a world-class beverage program; and Ross Road Custom Crush in Sonoma, a full-service winemaking facility where interns can learn all aspects of winemaking from harvesting to bottling. The internships run at the same time as the wine education, and all are paid.
A key component to any successful educational program is mentorship. Learning how to navigate the beverage industry, create opportunities for growth, and plan for long term success in a new career are all key components to this program’s success. TJ and Hadley Douglas will act as the primary mentors for the award recipients, with other industry leaders providing support as needed. Mentor meetings are scheduled for every two weeks throughout the program, and participants in the program are invited to a private Slack channel for any immediate needs throughout the program.
Externships are an important part of the program, but in Cohorts 1 and 2 have been difficult to coordinate due to COVID. Past externships have included a five day harvest experience at Opus One Winery, and will be offered to the interns whenever possible. Externships are unpaid.
The Douglas family began the fund with a $10,000 contribution on June 22, 2020, and active fundraising helped grow the endownment fund at BU to over $200,000. The Urban Grape invites its customers, community, and industry as a whole to join them in their efforts to grow the Award Fund via contributions. To be part of this movement, please donate to the Boston University award fund via this link. Additional contributions help the recipients with costs associated with the program, such as travel and lodging.
Applications for 202/2023 awards are now OPEN. Applications will remain open until March 15, 2022. After that time, finalists will be asked for a short interview. The two award recipients will be named in early April 2022. Classwork at BU begins on May 24, 202. Internships begin in late August of 2022 and run through October 31st of 2023. Applications for 2022are available online at the Boston University Met College.
Questions about the application process can be directed to Jessica Habalou at Boston University.
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