The $5,000 scholarships, aimed at encouraging diversity within the wine industry, are for eligible students at four schools with established wine-related programs of study.

April 27, 2021
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Last September, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Napa Valley Vintners (NVV)—the region's 550-member-strong winemaking trade association—announced a five-year partnership with UNCF (also known as the United Negro College Fund) to offer annual scholarships totaling $200,000 per year to increase diversity in the wine industry. This week, NVV is popping the proverbial cork on that program: The first round of scholarships is officially open for applicants.

With the launch of applications, more details have also emerged. These scholarships are open to students in any year of college, including graduate students, and "Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander and other candidates of color are encouraged to apply," according to NVV.

Additionally, since the scholarship is specifically intended to steer students into the wine industry, "qualifying institutions" are required to have an established wine-related program of study. So to start, students have to be attending one of just four schools: Napa Valley College, Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, Sonoma State University, and the University of California at Davis. That said, NVV implies that more will be added in the future.

Over the course of the program's five-year term, 200 need-based scholarships of $5,000 each will be awarded—with the first financial assistance arriving this fall. Additionally, it appears recipients can continue to apply on an annual basis as NVV adds that the scholarships can last for "up to four years for $20,000 total."

"The NVV represents one of the foremost wine regions and strives to be a leader in the world of wine. We hope to strengthen our industry by attracting more diverse talent who will bring new points of view and contribute in meaningful ways to all aspects of our wine community," Linda Reiff, president and CEO of Napa Valley Vintners, said in the announcement. "We're excited to have an opportunity to make a difference starting this fall with the first 40 recipients beginning their careers in as soon as one to four years."

Speaking of careers, beyond financial aid, NVV adds that the program is intended to offer a path for long term success by giving students experience and contacts in the industry. "This is a unique and outstanding partnership," Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF, added. "We are thankful that Napa Valley Vintners has offered this first-of-its-kind scholarship program—to open doors to our students that would not otherwise be there. This opportunity will lead to more career options for students across all spectrums, and that's what all of us are striving for at UNCF."

The deadline for applications is June 20. To apply, head to scholarships.uncf.org/ToProgram/Napavalley.