Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) have announced that scholarship applications are now being accepted for students wishing to pursue a career in the wine industry.
The first recipients will receive support toward college tuition this fall.
Last September, NVV committed $1 million to the fund, pledging $200,000 each year for the next five years, and has begun a fundraising effort to build the fund beyond that initial investment.
"The NVV represents one of the foremost wine regions and strives to be a leader in the world of wine," said Linda Reiff, president and CEO of Napa Valley Vintners. "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. 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."
The new scholarship program was created to encourage people of color to pursue college degrees and careers in the wine industry in subjects ranging from grape growing, winemaking, marketing, business and more at a college or university that has an established wine-related program of study. Over the next five years, 200 need-based scholarships will be awarded.
Recipients will receive $5,000 each to assist with tuition up to four years for $20,000 total. Students in any year of college, freshmen to senior, as well as graduate students are eligible. Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander and other candidates of color are encouraged to apply.
The scholarship program not only provides financial assistance, but also helps ensure students are set up for long term career success. Upon graduation students will already have work experience and contacts in the industry.
Qualifying institutions must have mentorship, internship and career placement programs in place to help students succeed in their careers beyond their studies. For the first round of scholarships there are four qualifying colleges and universities: Napa Valley College, Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, Sonoma State University and University of California at Davis.
“We decided to partner with UNCF because of their long-standing history of empowering minority populations through college success. Their track record of helping more than half a million students graduate since their founding is unmatched. Through their network we hope to broaden our reach,” Reiff said.
UNCF is the largest and most successful minority education organization of its kind, second only to the federal government in providing funds to assist students to get to and through college.
“This is a unique and outstanding partnership,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “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 to apply is June 16. Interested applicants should go to scholarships.uncf.org/ToProgram/Napavalley.