Earlier this year IG Wines, together with Wine Owners, Lay & Wheeler and the Gérard Basset Foundation, created a Golden Vines® Scholarship for 1 BAME/BIPOC entrepreneur wishing to break into the wine trade.

Four applicants spread across three continents applied for the Scholarship, and after the Judging Panel (consisting of Nick Martin, Katy Keating, Magnavai Janjo and Alexander Lushnikov) conducted interviews with each of the candidates, we are delighted to announce the winner of the 2023 Wine Owners Golden Vines® Off-Trade Startup Scholarship is Brandon Street.

Brandon Street is an African-American winemaker from Southern California. With a professional background in marketing and information technology, Brandon’s entry into the wine world was not traditional. His parents acquired a 5-acre property in 2016, on which is situated a vineyard, and Brandon has since then gone on to begin producing wine from these vines. At first, Brandon “spent months researching and teaching [himself] to care for the Cabernet and Riesling vines” which predominated on his parents’ land. He “began sourcing the best grapes, and experimenting with different production techniques until [he] found the perfect formula for [his] wines”, and subsequently he created a small production of red, white and rosé wine for his friends and family to try; in his own words, “it was an instant hit”. A local art gallery owner and his wife who were able to sample Brandon’s wines were so taken with them, that they offered him a window display, from which they have since gone on to gain more fans.

Brandon’s production philosophy is rooted in his values: he seeks to produce a high-quality vegan wine, focused on an artisan approach which seeks to respect and incorporate viticultural approaches from various cultures globally. Alongside his winemaking, Brandon seeks to develop an e-commerce platform, which will be used not only to distribute his wines, but furthermore to give a platform to other producers of natural and low-intervention wines, catering towards the growing market of wine enthusiasts who are interested in these styles and wish to support their producers.

Brandon is now preparing to move to the UK and begin his internships, first with Lay & Wheeler and later with us at IG Wines, before starting the process of building his e-commerce platform with the support of Wine Owners’ industry-leading software and mentorship.

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