After launching The Dream, a semisweet white wine blend, in February to raise money for its scholarship fund, the Michigan Wine Collaborative’s Inclusion and Expansion Committee has recently started accepting scholarship applications. Students of color from Michigan hoping to enter the wine industry and working on certain wine certifications or a degree in enology or viticulture have until May 15 to apply.
The launch of The Dream was a catalyst for the scholarship fund, which got off to a slow start almost three years ago.
“We launched the program in December of 2020 with an initial fundraising push,” says Emily Dockery, the executive director of the Collaborative. “The timing of the pandemic and general uncertainty at the time hindered the success of the original timeline, but with The Dream on the market, I am confident we will see results.”
Applicants must be at least 21 years old and identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color. Experience in the wine industry or with wine, hospitality, service, agriculture, and/or food is preferred. As part of the application, they’ll need to write an essay about why they are interested in pursuing an education in wine, their plans to advance their career through their education, and how they could change the future of the Michigan wine industry.
Awardees will receive funding to help with their enrollment costs, study supplies, and/or cost-of-living expenses as they study wine, viticulture, and/or hospitality. They will also be mentored by leaders in the wine community.
Those interested in supporting the scholarship initiative can purchase The Dream at several Michigan retailers, as well as online at shop.chateauchantal.com/prod-403509/The-Dream.html. Donations can also be made directly at mwc.wildapricot.org/Donate.
Chuck Jackson, chair of the Collaborative’s Inclusion and Expansion Committee and a wine specialist at House of Pure Vin in Detroit, has big plans for The Dream and the scholarship fund well beyond this round of applications.
“Hopefully moving forward, we can produce more cases, involve more wineries and winemakers, and experiment with different variations of wine,” Jackson says. “It’s all about supporting the scholarship fund and finding the best way to do that.”