Limited Capital No. 1 Challenge for Black Winemakers

Limited capital remains the No. 1 barrier to business success for Black Wine Entrepreneurs, according to the Sales of domestic table and sparkling wines through NIQ off-premise outlets totaled $850 million in the four weeks ended Oct. 7 down 3% versus a year ago.

That's according to Terroir Noir: 2023 Study of Black Wine Entrepreneurs, published by business professor and researcher Dr. Monique Bell.

Volume in the period fell 6% to just under 8 million cases. Heading into the heart of the OND sales period, it’s unclear how consumers will spend this year with premiumization showing signs of slowing.

About half of respondents are neutral or disagree that the wine industry is taking meaningful action to increase inclusion for Black wine entrepreneurs (50%), Black consumers (51%) and Black wine professionals (55%), respectively.

Notably, 65% of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that their businesses have directly benefitted from industry diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

Nearly 80 percent were motivated to start their businesses “to change the current situation for the better.”

Additionally, the 2023 Terroir Noir report includes sample anonymized quotes from more than 40 in-depth interviews conducted with Black wine business owners in 2020. Through more than 60 hours of one-on-one interviews, which yielded more than 2,000 pages of transcripts, the research provides a striking time capsule of the heartbreak and hope that Black wine entrepreneurs experienced.

A scholarly analysis of some of this data was recently published as "Examining Motivations and Challenges of Black Wine Entrepreneurs using the Push–Pull Theory of Entrepreneurship" in the International Journal of Wine Business Research.

“The survey responses highlight some progress, yet as targeted funding for women, who represent more three quarters of survey respondents, and people of color entrepreneurs comes under threat, it’s more important than ever for the wine industry, lenders, trade and government organizations and consumers to bolster these businesses,” says Bell.

The report also illuminates the buying power and potential of Black wine consumers. Bell adds, “Overall, particularly in the U.S., the industry is seeking growth areas; partnerships with and investments in these entrepreneurs can yield win-win results and competently serve diverse audiences.”

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