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Entrepreneurship Program

Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program: Making Space for Underrepresented Wine Entrepreneurs

There is an equity and inclusion problem within the wine industry. Lift Collective is taking action to change the trajectory of underrepresented wine entrepreneurs who report being overlooked for financial funding opportunities and regularly face bias and racism. The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program puts the power in the hands of the participants to steer their own business journeys with the support, resources and mentorship from industry professionals working to empower the next generation of wine entrepreneurs.


The Program

Pillar 1:

Business foundations and sustainability mindset in the wine industry

Pillar 2:
Business Growth

Tactics for launch and growth of business

Pillar 3:
Sales & Marketing

Tips and tools for pitching, selling, closing

Pillar 4: Implementation

Group exercises, Q&A, and implementation

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The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program is a six-month initiative open to entrepreneurs with a new business concept that is 1 - 3 years old. Entrepreneurs will be chosen for their need to take their business concept to the next level within the wine industry. Each participant can expect to network with peers, receive mentorship from industry luminaries and gain strategic relationships and skill-building within the business of wine.


I started The Wine Linguist (TWL) with a focus on expanding the wine language through global cuisines. Having worked in various parts of the wine industry over the last 7 years, I intend to change what I believe is lacking: representation of the global majority’s language, culture, and cuisine. For far too long the wine language has been centered around Eurocentric/western society. While there are various ways to diversify the wine industry, a core focus of TWL will be on global cuisine and wine. For me the beauty of the wine language is that it relies on our individual sensory memories. Foods we’ve grown up eating and the scents that surrounded us, play a massive role in our wine vocabularies. The current wine language needs to change and expand. I believe by exposing our palate to other cultures’ cuisines as well as inviting in those cultures, we will be able to advance the wine language in a way that is more inclusive and relatable to the global majority. Expand your palate. Expand your wine language

United States Marine, Black woman vintner and co-founder of Cheramie Wine, Cheramie Aho is a woman on a mission to share the beauty of Texas wine with the world.  Cheramie has been advocating for Texas wine since 2014 from which she launched her wine brand Cheramie Wine in 2019. Cheramie’s vision is simple: “My hope is to inspire those who don’t see themselves represented in the wine industry and to show them there’s a seat at the table for them. So pull up a chair and raise your glass, because wine doesn’t have to be so serious. We’re here to have some fun!”

A socio-technologist and the founder of the Telesomm app, Vanessa is passionate about justice, equity, and connections that make real change in the world. Telesomm is a community where wine lovers connect with wine professionals for custom wine experiences. She built & launched the app from her bedroom in 2020. Telesomm supports the work of a diverse group of wine professionals committed to client education and justice issues in wine by building a playful & dynamic community where wine lovers and wine professionals discover wine together. Vanessa lives and works in Alaska, and is proud of her mixed race Samoan heritage.

Ward Four Wines pays homage to wines Justin grew up surrounded by at her dining room table. As her love for wine has grown, new staples have entered. Each offering will pay tribute to her family dynamics, showing how wine evokes emotions and how moments in time can be captured in one of life's simplest pleasures, a bottle of wine. Originally from Washington, DC, Justin was destined for the wine industry. With over 6 years of luxury winemaking experience in both the US and Internationally, as well as a degree in Wine Business at Cal Poly SLO. Justin has completed 14 vintages, gaining a special fondness and appreciation for low intervention, intentional winemaking that honors the sense of place.


Angela McCrae is a creative strategist and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in media, entertainment, and championing diversity. During her 6+ years at NBCUniversal, she's won the Gem Award for excellence and leadership. She leverages her twenty years of media experience to engage diverse audiences with impactful storytelling and innovative 360 experiences.


As a creative producer, Angela has worked with global brands, independent filmmakers, non-profits, festivals, wine advocacy organizations, and wine regions on branded content, wine travel experiences, and trade-focused events.


Angela launched the wine and culture digital publication, Uncorked & Cultured during COVID. The media company is a content, marketing, and engagement solution to the inequitable relationship between the luxury wine and travel industries with BIPOC consumers. She was recognized by Wine Business Monthly as a 2022 Wine Industry Leader and selected as part of the inaugural Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program. Angela also serves as the Executive Director for the Association of African American Vintners.

Program FAQ

What is the Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program? 

The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program has been designed to provide monetary support, tangible resources, community, and professional connections for new business owners working in the wine industry. In partnership with national business associations and beverage industry thought leaders, the six-month program will guide entrepreneurs through the process of building and executing a sustainable business plan. Divided into four pillars, the program offers participants a variety of group workshops, individual sessions and roundtable discussions, which will all be led by qualified and vetted facilitators.

How does the program work?

The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program will be hosted virtually in 2022 on The Us Space platform where attendees will participate in weekly group work, individual workshops, and industry-led roundtables. Each accepted entrepreneur will also receive a monetary stipend to be applied to upstart and operational costs of their businesses. 

What is the time commitment for the program?

The program will run for six months (September 2022 - March 2023) with weekly sessions ranging from 1-2 hours. Please note - the program will have a break December 17, 2022 - January 2, 2023.

What is the required participation?

At the conclusion of the program, entrepreneurs will receive a certificate of completion. In order to receive the certificate of completion and the monthly program stipend, attendance will be tracked during each pillar with no more than (1) session per month allowed to be missed but no more than (5) total for the duration of the program.

How do I apply?

Applications for the program are currently closed. 

When does the program begin?

The program began on September 20, 2022.

Who is eligible to attend the program?

We are inviting new, part-time, and full-time wine entrepreneurs with businesses age 1-3 years to this first year of the program. The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program is geared toward sole and majority owners of businesses. If you are an entrepreneur with a business partner(s), the majority partner is eligible to join. We strongly encourage persons from underrepresented communities to apply. This includes, but is not limited to: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, people of color, persons from racially diverse or intersectional communities, persons with disabilities, and persons from LGBTQIA+ communities.

What are the goals of this program?

The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program aims to inspire, prepare and deliver entrepreneurs in the wine industry with tangible tools, resources and connections in order to successfully grow businesses. Participants of the program can expect to:

  • Engage with wine industry experts and leaders

  • Position their business to create impact inside the industry

  • Create connections with like minded entrepreneurs and business owners

  • Build and execute a sustainable business plan to navigate your business to profitability

What types of businesses are a good fit for the program?

The Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program has been created by wine industry professionals for wine industry professionals. Entrepreneurs and business owners working in Sales, Service, Production, Education, Community and Events, and/or Media and Journalism within the wine industry will likely find the greatest benefits from this program’s curriculum.

Is the Lift Collective Entrepreneurship Program an accredited course?

At this time, the program is not an accredited course. 

Learn More About LCEP

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