AAAV 2024 Symposium Honors Black Wine Entrepreneurs
AAAV 2024 Symposium Honors Black Wine Entrepreneurs

Three recipients pose with awards at ceremony

The Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) honored Christopher Renfro of 280 Project for Innovation and Le and Leslie Jones of 1010 Wine & Events for Community Impact at the 2024 AAAV Symposium and Wine Festival in March.

AAAV membership program with Wine Enthusiast continues for its fifth year

LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA, USA, March 29, 2024 / — The wine industry’s oldest trade organization focused on making wine inclusive, the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) honored Black wine entrepreneurs during its biennial Symposium and Wine Festival at CIA at Copia in Napa in early March. The sold-out industry day that featured compelling panel discussions and a luncheon keynote by Donae Burston of La Fête Wine Company concluded with awards for Trailblazing, Innovation and Community Impact.

AAAV’s 2024 Trailblazer Award was given Iris Rideau, the first Black woman in America to own and operate a vineyard. Iris integrated her New Orleans heritage with wine, and Rideau Vineyard ( still stands in her honor in Santa Barbara County, Calif. She also is the published author of a memoir about her journey from Louisiana, through navigating the politics of Los Angeles, to becoming a winery proprietor.

Christopher Renfro was honored with AAAV’s 2024 Innovation Award. He launched the groundbreaking 280 Project ( by converting a public park in San Francisco into a working vineyard and teaching inner-city individuals to practice urban community gardening. Through an apprenticeship program developed with 280 Project Program Director Rita Manzana, in partnership with Dr. Beth Forrestel of UC Davis and Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines, Chris has built a sustainable food and wine community that nourishes the economy and ecosystem. As a winemaker-activist, Chris uses hybrid and indigenous grapes to create transformative change in the wine industry.

AAAV’s 2024 Community Impact Award was given to siblings Leslie and Le Jones, founders of 1010 Wine & Events (, the first and only wine bar in Inglewood, Calif. By featuring and nurturing the popularity of Black-owned wines, Leslie and Le have created a strong community of Black wine lovers. Their wine bar also has become a hub for Black wine producers across the country to debut wines and host immersive events.

The awards ceremony also highlighted an incentive program that was created to support AAAV membership. Thanks to a partnership with Wine Enthusiast that is now in its fifth year, any new member who joins the organization will receive 50% off their membership fees. Like AAAV, Wine Enthusiast believes in making wine approachable for all and welcoming everyone to the wine lifestyle. For details, visit the membership section of

As AAAV’s media sponsor, Wine Enthusiast will host recordings of the 2024 AAAV Symposium programming on Links will be announced on AAAV’s social media channels in the coming weeks.

AAAV’s 2024 Wine Symposium Weekend was sponsored by Total Wine Spirits Beer & More, Bronco Wine Company, CIA at Copia, H-E-B, GALLO and Wine Enthusiast.

About Total Wine Spirits Beer & More

Total Wine Spirits Beer & More has an extensive selection of over 8,000 wines, 4,500 spirits, and 2,500 beers, all at exceptional prices. Additionally, Total Wine Spirits Beer & More is committed to giving back to the local community. In 2023, Total Wine Spirits Beer & More contributed over $13.5 million in monetary and in-kind donations to 16,000+ organizations helping those organizations raise in excess of $85 million to support their good works in the community.

About Bronco Wine Co.

Founded in 1973, Bronco Wine Co. has become a force in the US wine industry. As a family-owned company, its focus on crafting quality wines for every table is evident through hard work, innovation, and willingness to embrace change. These fundamental virtues are the backbone of the company’s success and have laid a solid foundation for generations to come.

About CIA at Copia

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia is an epicurean destination in downtown Napa, where guests can immerse themselves in the past, present, and future of food. Located in the Oxbow District, CIA at Copia offers an array of enticing culinary experiences delivered by CIA chefs and experts, including hands-on cooking and beverage classes; lively public events and art exhibits; a signature garden-to-table restaurant; Lunch Box, a casual weekday eatery; Wine Bar, a self-service tasting experience; a culinary and lifestyle-themed marketplace; and The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum. CIA at Copia is also a unique setting for weddings and private events. All proceeds from CIA at Copia benefit CIA student scholarships.

About H-E-B

H-E-B, with sales of $43 billion, operates more than 430 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrates its 118th anniversary this year. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience and lowest prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs over 154,000 Partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities. For more information, visit and the H-E-B Newsroom.


Founded in 1933 by brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo, GALLO is a family-owned company and global leader in wine and spirits. With a goal of serving joy in moments that matter, GALLO is deeply committed to providing the highest quality, sustainable products for every occasion. GALLO’s entire portfolio is featured here:

About Wine Enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast Companies is a Certified B Corporation and the ultimate source of innovation and information around wine. Founded in 1979 by Adam and Sybil Strum, the company is composed of Wine Enthusiast Commerce and Wine Enthusiast Media. Embodying the commerce side, the Wine Enthusiast Shop provides premium wine-lifestyle products, reaching millions of consumers globally via direct mail, an e-commerce site, and a business-to-business division. Representing the media side, Wine Enthusiast magazine is an award-winning print publication and online resource that showcases wine news, food trends, and more than 25,000 ratings and reviews annually. By the end of 2023, reached 4.5 million monthly pageviews and is the industry leader with the most traffic of any wine media website. Wine Enthusiast events include the annual premier Wine Star Awards gala. Together, Wine Enthusiast Companies is the indisputable hub for everything wine. We bring wine to life.

Tami Kelly
Tami Kelly PR, Inc.
+1 925-640-9997
email us here

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