Throughout his 20 plus year career, Urban Grape co-founded TJ Douglas was often the only, or one of few, people of color at his job, at industry conferences, and even in his own wine store. As the 10 year anniversary of The Urban Grape approached, TJ and his wife and business partner, Hadley, knew that they wanted to create a program that would increase opportunities for professionals of color to advance in the wine industry. As TJ succinctly stated, “I don’t want to be the only one in the room anymore.”
The Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color was founded on June 22, 2020, using contributions from our customers in response to the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd.
If you give us a year, we’ll give you access to the entire wine industry. Our program is not a quick fix. It takes 12 months of dedication and flexibility, but by the end you’ll be part of a multi-billion dollar industry. Here are the details:
Education: All interns are expected to complete, with passing grades, four levels of classes in Boston University’s Wine Studies Certification program. These classes meet once per week, not including study sessions, and are held on the Boston University campus.
Work Experience:During the course of this program, our interns complete four 3-month long paid internships at The Urban Grape, MS Walker, Row 34, and Jackson Family Wines. During this year you will gain valuable hands-on experience in retail sales and management, restaurant hospitality and events, sales and distribution, wine production, and marketing - to name just a few!
Mentorship:Throughout your year in the program you will receive hands-on mentorship with both TJ and Hadley Douglas, as well as upper level management at each of your internships. This mentorship creates the foundation off of which industry connections and job networking opportunities can be made. Please note: Three internships take place in the Greater Boston area, and one internship takes place in Sonoma, California.
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.
Yes! Coursework at BU begins at the end of May. Internships begin right after Labor Day. You will need to have a place to live in Boston, as well as transportation, from the end of May to the middle of August of the next year. Currently we do not have a relocation or accommodation stipend for the Boston internships.
Thanks to our partnership with Jackson Family Wines, we are able to offer you airfare to California, as well as housing and a transportation stipend. As part of this program you will be expected to live in California for the harvest season.
Recipients will be expected to complete four levels of certificate wine studies at Boston University. Classes meet once per week and require wine tasting as part of the class. Completion of homework and outside assignments is expected. All recipients of the award are expected to maintain a passing grade.
The internships will pay approximately $18 per hour and recipients will be expected to work between 32-40 hours per week.
When available, externships opportunities will be scheduled for the cohorts. Past externships have included harvest experiences at Opus One Winery in Napa, CA and a travel experience to Burgundy and the Loire Valley with Becky Wasserman & Co. Externships are unpaid, and if they are overseas will require a valid passport.
Our hope is that you will come out of this program with not just a job, but a well-paying career. A lot of that will depend on you. You will need to complete your coursework with a passing grade, put your all into your internships, and dedicate yourself to your mentoring meetings so that we can wholeheartedly recommend you for open positions in the industry. The more you put into the program, the more you’ll get out of it!