The wine industry has continuously grown, and it is projected to amass $444.93 billion by 2027, according to Fortune Business Insights. Meaning, there is plenty of room for growth in an industry that is enjoyed throughout the world. However, it is known for not acknowledging all of its consumers. Let’s take the Hispanic/Latino consumers of the wine industry, for instance.
Let’s face it: most times, wine is not associated with the Latino community. They are uncorked, untouched, and, bluntly put, ignored, even if Latino wine consumers exist in large numbers. But, this negligence has only left a void only this community can fill, which can sweep the industry off its feet. And this can very well become a reality, being that the Latino community has $3 trillion in buying power.
Leading the way
Noticing the lack of representation of Latinos in this industry, Latinas Wine Club, Inc., a club with tiered memberships that offer wine education classes with their own Latina sommelier, was created. This club, launched by Martha Cisneros and Erlinda A. Doherty, believes Latinas and anyone alike belong at the table — the first of its kind initiative that’s been missing for far too long.
“There’s been a lack of [wine] programs focusing on Latinos,” Cisneros, the business founder, told BELatina News in a recent phone conversation. “Also, the industry has not acknowledged us, and we bring a lot to the table — not only as wine consumers but also as people working in the industry — from the person that helps you in the liquor store to those working on the farm.”
At the height of the pandemic Cisneros, the mastermind behind Latinas Wine Club, Inc., brought an Instagram page to life that focused on educating Latinas about wine while supporting one another through their wine journey. Doherty joined Cisneros shortly after to help intensify the impact this digital space could have.
Both of them are well-rounded in wine matters and know that their influence can be of great use to the community. Cisneros said she started as a wine blogger and has been called a wine diva by her best friends since college. Doherty, who also is well-versed in the language of wine, is a sommelier, wine educator, and wine writer.
The two of them first met during the pandemic, virtually, without ever having met each other. Their connection was fueled by their love of wine and their desire to empower Latinas and making them feel confident in immersing themselves in the wine industry.
“We connected literally through direct messages on Instagram,” Cisneros said. “And then we spoke over the phone, and we knew we had to do something.”
They evolved their company from what started as an Instagram page. Both of the minds behind Latinas Wine Club, Inc. knew it was not only a space that could bring lots of fun to other Latinas; they felt it was necessary.
“Martha started the idea. She connected all of our Latinos in wine through the social platform,” Doherty added.
They both clicked thanks to an article that Cisneros found written by Doherty where she spoke about the lack of representation of people of color in the wine industry. In that article, Doherty wrote about how Latinas, and women overall, are the fastest-growing demographic in the wine industry.
“So as far as consumers go, where people of color make up a third of the wine enthusiasts, if you will, or the wine drinkers, had no advertising, no education, no marketing, nothing was really factoring in that equation,” Doherty said. “And that was disturbing, obviously. Now, a lot has changed.”
That’s why they knew it was imperative to move forward with their vision and create a space that hadn’t been present before. Cisneros recalls her journey in the wine world, which started 12 years ago.
She went into it as a wine blogger and tried to make her way into other spaces where wine education took place, such as wine classes, but quickly realized that she was constantly the only Latina in the room. The wine blogger couldn’t relate to anyone around her because no one shared her same perspectives, or at the very least, similar views, based on their background.
“I wondered why I was the only Latina there and why everyone would be looking at me,” she told us.
Education as a cornerstone
Their individual experiences as they navigated through the wine industry allowed them to come into agreement with the goal of Latinas Wine Club, Inc., where connecting the community is as important as educating it.
“Together, we created an educational platform to address the lack of representation and inclusivity for Latinas in wine. Whether you are just a casual wine enthusiast or whether you’re actually a Latina wine professional, it’s been our goal to connect everyone,” Doherty said.
They know the power of the community. They’ve studied it. They’ve seen it unravel before their eyes and understand that tying Latinas to one another is key.
“So, to really connect our community and to amplify the power that we already have — the dynamism that is happening in our community with respect to growth and capitalize on that. This is an opportunity for us to take it to another level and to really try to address the inequalities that already exist.
Their platform is a testament to their commitment. The founders ensure that Latinas and women are highlighted as much as possible in the space they created. For example, every Wednesday, they feature a woman winemaker, but, of course, they do try to find as many Latina winemakers to feature as well.
Part of the reason why their vision is flourishing is that they complement each other. Both Cisneros and Doherty carry the tools and resources needed for the success of their up-and-coming wine business.
Through that, their classes can be more accessible and substantial for their members.
A Community Project
Their events are plentiful and are not stopping any time soon. Now that the dangers of the pandemic are subsiding, they are finally hosting hybrid events. However, they will continue to incorporate the virtual component into their programs as they know the world is still relying on digitized activities. These events help them sign up more socios or partners (meaning their members), and that’s how the power of the Latino community will be felt.
They also send out a newsletter where they communicate with their socios or partners every two weeks as well as host Instagram Lives.
Cisneros and Doherty also make it a point to keep their themes broad enough in their classes. So, even if their socios go to a local wine store, they’ll be able to find wines and participate. This furthers the accessibility of their programs.
Of course, the experts shared a few other nuggets of information with us — they gave us some wine recommendations for this summer.
“We have a winery that we’re working with that is located in New Mexico but also has an interesting connection between wines from Spain and wines in the New World. So, we have like a white wine and a vermouth bundle, which is kind of interesting,” Doherty shared.
“And the wine is from Albariño, which is from Spain, and then Buta, which is like a white wine,” Doherty continued. “The Albariño is delicious and racy and just lovely, very food-friendly. And same with the Buta, a little bit more body on the Buta, but just as delicious. Then, we’re going to be showing a couple of cocktails with a dulce and seco vermouth, so like dry and sweet vermouth. That’s actually an older trend to have the Burmese wines that way, which fell out of fashion for a little while. But now it’s obviously back on trend again. So, we’re going to be drinking, tasting those meats, but also in a Negroni cocktail. So those would be our recommendations.”
As Ernest Hemingway once said: “Wine and friends are a great blend” — a still prevalent truth. So, use their recommendations and call up your friend for a venting session, but in style. After all, what a lovely event it is to vent to a friend while indulging in a couple of glasses of wine.
They ended the conversation with a few words of encouragement for Latinas and the BELatina audience.
Doherty concluded by saying, “Latinas should take advantage of opportunities — it’s still important for us to connect and for us to be strong and to really look for more empowerment within our community. Think more in terms of collaboration and not competition.”
You can become a socio of the Latinas Wine Club, Inc. by going to their website.