Seven scholars from different regions have been picked to join the first Bordeaux Mentor Week, launched by wine writer Jane Anson to promote inclusion and equity, as well as empowering the industry new-starters with valuable connections and first-hand experience on the Bordeaux wine market.
Hosted by Anson, author of Inside Bordeaux and founder of janeanson.com, the inaugural Bordeaux Mentor Week will take place from 26th – 30th September 2022.
Since the announcement of the launch in March, the program has received more than 103 applications from 28 countries, spanning the globe from Lagos to Beirut to Sydney to San Francisco.
“I know how important mentors have been in my own career,” Anson explained on the initiative, “not just in terms of gaining access but in gaining confidence. I also know that Bordeaux is a region that can be difficult to penetrate, and yet offers real potential for career advancement for those interested in working in the wine industry.”
“But more importantly, it’s time for us to take a stand and speak out against tokenism in the wine industry,” Anson added. “The idea of Bordeaux Mentor Week is to empower our brilliant Scholars so that each of them can return home with new knowledge, new skill sets, new contacts, and a renewed sense of excitement about the future. Equity and inclusion are key, but we also need to focus on empowering others and putting long-term support structures in place.”
To assist starters in entering the Bordeaux wine scene, the 5-day journey will offer scholars a wide range of activities to absorb knowledge on the region’s market. Accommodations will be provided by Château La Lagune, 1855 classified growth in the Haut-Médoc.
Three mentors will guide the scholars in the programme, including Anson. She will be joined by Nigerian-born Chinedu Rita Rosa, owner of Vines By Rosaconsultancy specialising in importing wines across Africa, as well as Treasure Makwanise, Zimbabwe-born star chef who has managed a variety of innovative restaurant kitchens, including both One&Only in Cape Town and One&Only Nyungwe House in Rwanda.
During the week, Scholars can meet with start-up companies and wine innovators, obtain insider details about the Place de Bordeaux (Bordeaux’s trade network), learn about wine marketing and selling strategies, work alongside the team at Château La Lagune during the harvest and in the cellar, explore the latest concepts in organic and biodynamic farming, and taste some of the finest wines of Bordeaux to study older wines and olfactory development.
Each Scholar will also be paired with additional mentors based on their specific area of interest. The Scholars will be encouraged to stay in contact with their mentors after the program to continue developing their skills and advance along their career paths.
The 7 scholars of Bordeaux Mentor Week 2022 are as follows:
- Audrey Annoh-Antwi – Haggerston, England – sommelier
- Tracy Blessing Williams – Lagos, Nigeria – customer service manager
- Zintle Mkhize – Johannesburg, South Africa – food & beverage supervisor
- Isabelle Mueller – student at École hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland
- Shane Shadrack Mumba – Stellenbosch, South Africa – sommelier
- Fernando Nieves – San Juan, Puerto Rico – fine wine sales representative
- Tanmay Rathod – Cahors, France (born in India) – manager/head sommelier
According to Anson, all accommodations and transport within the region will be covered for attendees. Several travel bursaries were made available for those who are not able to fund travel to the region.
Several generous sponsors have also donated their time and resources to Bordeaux Mentor Week including IWSC Foundation, the charitable arm of the wine and spirits competition IWSC; Vignobles Bernard Magrez, a notable Bordeaux-based wine powerhouse; Club DVin, newly-founded NFT wine club; Quo Global, branding agency headquartered in Bangkok; and Château La Lagune. Further sponsors will be announced shortly.
For interested parties who have missed the first edition of Bordeaux Mentor Week, the new application period for Bordeaux Mentor Week 2023 is set to be 1st March – 30th April 2023. Applications can be sent to email@example.com.