Stacey Khoury-Diaz is the Chicana owner of Dio Wine Bar in Washington, D.C., the city’s first natural wine bar — but Dio is so much more than just a place to drink wine that honors traditional methods and the wildness of nature. As a Latina business owner, Khoury-Diaz has made a point to foster an inclusive space that differentiates itself in a male-dominated, white industry. On any given day, there might be a fundraiser for a local non-profit whose mission supports refugees, a yoga and wine flow, or an evening that features wine made at women-owned vineyards.
In fact, any woman-made wine on Dio’s menu is listed alongside a female symbol so that you know you’re actively supporting a winemaker who has faced the social hurdles and constraints of the industry. “This is actually made by someone!” Khoury-Diaz reminded me, when I told her that I had never actually considered the gender of my winemaker before. “That’s the whole story of diversity in any industry. If you have more women, if you have more people of color, that is going to change the conversation.” She added, “And at Dio, of course we highlight Mexican-American or Chicano made wines.”
As an establishment, Dio Wine Bar supports a diverse, all-female staff, a quality that Khoury-Diaz credits for a more diverse clientele and sparks conversations about wine that might not otherwise have taken place in other wine bars. “I think that because we’re the people behind the bar, that becomes the people on the other side of the bar too,” she said, noting that people feel comfortable asking if Dio has wine that is made by someone who looks like them. While Khoury-Diaz believes that every wine bar is at least a little bit responsible for fostering inclusive spaces, she feels especially drawn to that task. “For me, it just feels natural, it’s more organic for me to have these conversations, to care about highlighting who these people are that are making these wines.”
She added, “I think what’s special to me is to see people that might not have seen themselves fit into spaces that are dedicated to wine, feeling like that space is theirs, like feeling like they have ownership over these spaces. That’s what’s so cool.”
Dio’s next big event is coming up this weekend: On Sunday, December 1st from 11am to 4pm, the wine bar is hosting its Second Annual Latinx Holiday Market in its intimate space, featuring work from Latinx creators and makers from the D.C. area as well as food from Vegan Feast by V. There will be healing crystals and jewelry from Cosmo Castle; issues of the zine La Horchata founded by Veronica Melendez and Kimberly Benavides; original artwork from several DC Latinas; and more.
“[The Latinx Holiday Market] is something that I feel really strongly about, creating community spaces — especially being of Latinx heritage, that’s something that’s important to me,” said Khoury-Diaz. You can RSVP to this free event and get more details on the lineup at eventbrite.