“Wine Democracy”; A testament to emerging democracy in the wine sector

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“Wine Democracy”, an instant style book, is one of the latest Mamma Jumbo Shrimp publication and is aimed at helping readers understand how the democratic process can be extrapolated through specific interview conversations undertaken by the hosts of the Italian Wine Podcast (IWP).

Wine Democracy
“Democracy; a system based on the principle that all members of society are equal rather than divided by money or social class.” (Oxford online dictionary) - So how does this definition apply when speaking about the wine sector?

“Democracy; a system based on the principle that all members of society are equal rather than divided by money or social class.” (Oxford online dictionary)

So how does this definition apply when speaking about the wine sector? Wine Democracy, an instant style book, is a Mamma Jumbo Shrimp publication and is aimed at helping readers understand how the democratic process can be extrapolated through specific interview conversations undertaken by the hosts of the Italian Wine Podcast (IWP); the podcast network that publishes podcasts each day of the week, 365 days a year on varying topics from diversity and equality, business, marketing & communications, food, wine travel, and science & education.

The meaning of democracy in wine can seem convoluted; in fact, everyone has an opinion as to what it means to them, just like dogma, because of the many degrees democracy must permeate within the various areas throughout the industry. The authors (namely the podcast hosts) of the book “Wine Democracy” do an admirable job of identifying some of the issues and possible solutions for this subject matter, which certainly puts things in perspective.

Examples of these issues include: the world of wine is often perceived as elite and exclusive; the language around wine can be inaccessible; diversity in the workforce is still missing, or even that demographics for wine consumption is lacking because perhaps the wine industry has not quite hit the mark when it comes to marketing to what a specific demographic is asking for (Gen Z for example). However, solutions to these issues have also been put forward, and not merely on a whim. The solutions have been attained through the personal and professional experiences of the hosts, as well as researched data; the abutting central force of the book, or the “hole in one” so to speak, is the real-life experiences of the guests; the recorded conversations. Each IWP host provided a range of interviews that furnished their own personal idea of what wine democracy looks like.

Cynthia Chaplin’s show deals with diversity and equity, thus, she focuses on conversations such as those with Elaine Chukan Brown (a guest from an indigenous community in Alaska specializing in personal empowerment, education and social justice), or Hoby Wedler (a Dr. of organic chemistry turned wine guru, who has been blind since birth), or Ntsiki Bayella (a prominent black female winemaker in South Africa).

Marc Millon’s idea of wine democracy is a bit subtler. He focuses on the struggles overcome by guests who had to overcome obstacles in their journeys to bring wine to common man or, preserve the traditions and history of a wine, at great personal cost. An example we might use here would be Marc’s inclusion of Matteo Bisol’s conversation. Bisol, through his Tenuta Venissa project, brought the Dorona grape back to the Venetian lagoon, ensuring it was not lost to history because of climate change; allowing wines from this variety to be available to people today, all over the world.

Steve Raye on the other hand, with his business focus, has “taken the point of view that Democracy in Wine speaks to equal access of consumers to products imported into and sold with the US, a subject that is fundamental to the consulting working with brands to help them navigate the complexities of the U.S. market.” He illustrates the aforementioned ideas on wine democracy with conversations with the likes of Cheryl Durzy (Founder of LibDib, the first alcohol distributor and tech company to offer a three-tier compliant web-based platform) and Josh Wand (Founder of Bev-Force, a boutique recruiting and staffing agency that specializes in hiring strategies and organizational design for beverage companies, nationwide).

Polly Hammond, IWP’s digital marketing expert, concentrates on the idea of adaptability in the current environment, that shifting demands, digital landscapes and saturated markets have created a tricky forecast. She believes that rather than remaining in the stasis of the status quo and the congestion of fast paced content, in order to achieve wine democracy, players need to think outside the box, go beyond what might be expected, have confidence, take risks, questioning norms at every turn. And so, to emphasize these thoughts, she offers up conversations with guests such as Cindy Gallop (Founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, co-action software launched in beta at TED 2010, it enables brands to implement the business model of the future – Shared Values + Shared Action = Shared Profit (financial and social).

It is clear each host has their own unique approach to the topic of wine democracy, but there are cross-overs between all of their varying viewpoints. Most poignantly, it seems that more awareness and empathy is needed in the industry, regardless of which area within the sector is being discussed. Coherency has been achieved with the use of real-life stories, bringing intangible thoughts into a realistic space. In summation with regards to the contents of this publication, what makes these learned experiences even more impactful are the reiterated “take away’s” after each conversation, so as to ensure the reader is left with a final overarching objective.
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About: Mamma Jumbo Shrimp is the umbrella brand of the Just Do The Work agency, founded by Stevie Kim, Managing Director of Vinitaly International. The goal of Mamma Jumbo Shrimp is to bring together a global community of wine enthusiasts by harnessing emerging social media platforms and creating high quality content in its products, such as podcasts, books, videos and maps. Mamma Jumbo Shrimp promotes engaging communication, information, and education in entertaining, inclusive formats.

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