Dear Friends,

My daily mantra is “head down, work hard and worry about what you can control.” Often, there are instances that arise that pull me out of that mode and teach me what I don’t know. The most recent prompt for action came from this email last week. This quote is so fitting for me this week as it relates to the conversation around equity, diversity and inclusion. Like so many others, I ask myself “What can I do?” I brought this question forth to many of my colleagues, friends and even my adult children over the course of the week.

Black Lives Matter. I am a believer in taking action to demonstrate who Brooks is and what we stand for through transparency and accountability. I am inspired to know that others are listening, learning and taking action. The next few sections present what we are doing, what we will be doing and how we are working together with our partners. More to come.

Accountability Through B Corp Certification

To become a Certified B Corporation, one of the measurements of a Company’s performance includes diversity, equity and inclusion. We are evaluated on those three pillars as it relates to:

– Ownership
– Management
– Hiring Practices
– Employee Training and Programs
– Wages
– Our Supply Chain Ownership and Management Teams

We scored well in this section for certification and since being certified, we have sent members of our team to B Corp education in both Portland and at the National Conference that taught about diversity, equity and inclusion. One of the great things about B Corp, is once you are certified, to become re-certified, you must show improvement in every area. This month, all team members of Brooks are completing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program developed in partnership by Starbucks and Arizona State University. This is an action I took after listening and learning this week.

Help Us Support the Association of African American Vintners

For the past few weeks, we have been sharing our upcoming Read & Sip event in partnership with Lifetime Vintage. In support of people of color in the wine industry, Lifetime Vintage has offered to donate their entire share of the proceeds from this event to the Association of African American Vintners. Brooks has agreed to MATCH this. 20% of total proceeds will be donated.

For $99, you receive 3 bottles of Brooks wine, the book Leadership and Life Hacks by my friend and business maven, Alyssa Rapp, as well as a virtual book club event with myself, Alyssa and the team at Lifetime Vintage. And as a special guest, a principal of the Association of African American Vintners will share information about their organization.

The Zoom conversation is June 20th at 4pm EST/1pm PST. Join us in this great event and supporting our fellow industry members!

sign up for read & sip

Partners Taking Action

As you know, we are members of 1% For The Planet and our proceeds benefit Kiss The Ground. I am so proud of our decision to work with them and this email, that I received from them yesterday, is one example of why.

“This past week, our team has been called to engage in deep reflection and raw conversations, both as an organization and as individuals, on how we truly stand up for not just the soil, but all the people who stand on it.

Some of the conversations we’ve had are not new to our organization; seeds have been planted to support programmatic changes. However, when we take a deeper look, we recognize that historically we’ve only taken baby steps to assure equality in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender in comparison to the leaps we’ve taken for the ground beneath our feet.

As a society, we need to begin to see all people as whole and complete human beings that have the love and intelligence to create a new future.

To create the future we believe is possible, we must no longer accept baby steps as progress.

Moving forward, here are the commitments we’ve decided upon unanimously:

– Scholarships: We will reserve scholarships for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). This applies to our Farmland Program, which supports producers (farmers and ranchers) in transitioning landscapes and adopting management practices aligned with the principles of regenerative agriculture, as well as our Stewardship Educational Program, which we are significantly expanding this year as we build upon our Soil Advocate Training and Regenerative Gardening course offerings.
– Diversity Within Our Educational Offerings: We will integrate the principles of Intersectional Environmentalism and diversity training into our Stewardship course offerings, and partner with educators to provide inclusion and diversity training. We are also committed to diversifying our library of resources to represent all voices.
– Internal Training: We will engage in ongoing racial inclusion and equity training for our team and invite other environmental groups to join us.
Media: We will tell more BIPOC stories and continuously amplify their voices on all of our media platforms.
– Diversified Teams: We will increase the diversity that is reflected on our team, our Board of Directors, our Advisory Council, and our Internship Program.
– Ongoing: We will continue to listen, learn, grow and integrate internal policies that support equality in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender.

To all reading, thank you for taking part in our work at Kiss the Ground thus far. We are forever grateful for your active participation and inspiration. We trust this brings us one step closer to realizing Kiss the Ground’s vision, founded in reciprocity between nature and humans, one where life is regenerative and we have fully embraced our role as caretakers of the planet and each other.

The work begins now.

With love,
Team Kiss the Ground”

Brooks’ Continued Commitment

One of my biggest take aways from my conversations this week was the need for the wine industry to be more approachable and accessible to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) for careers, wine tasting, education, events and appreciation of wine. And while I have a few things planned to move our efforts forward, there are many more conversations I need to have.

I am ready to listen, to learn and to develop unified steps that further the efforts of Brooks regarding equity, diversity and inclusion everywhere, but particularly in the wine industry.

If you have thoughts or suggestions, I am listening: [email protected] and cell 831-238-4828.
For me, it was an emotionally tiring week on many levels as I am sure it was for you. I wish you a safe, great and productive week ahead.

Be well,


2 comments on “Let’s Do Better”

  1. Nicole Mandala

    Thanks for posting. Proud to be a member of your winery. Just want to share something I am constantly reminding myself as a white person who wants to practice real allyship: remember that this is not a self improvement project for white people to feel better about themselves and their brand. Really allyship is a sustained effort, involves real work and requires consistent action once some learning and listening has happened and a long term commitment to creating real change.

  2. Ekua

    I’m sort of blown away by this and appreciate the efforts made to do better in the wine industry. Well done.

Comments are closed.