The Curse of Connoisseurship

Discussions of the Boston Beverage Landscape

With its focus on expensive luxury goods, gatekeeping, and arcane learning, the world of wine and spirits is largely exclusive. The elitism associated with these products contributes to class differentiation, with some groups gaining from the involvement while others become marginalized. The field of beverage studies offers a platform to consider these intricate and previously unexplored aspects of classmaking.

To explore the related pitfalls in today’s beverage industry, Gastronomy students Amy Johnson and Altamash Gaziyani have organized a conference, The Curse of Connoisseurship: Discussions of the Boston Beverage Landscape. The program is hosted and funded by the Boston University Office of Diversity & Inclusion as part of the  2020-2021 Learn More series focused on the theme of  social class.

Structured as a series of six webinars to be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the month of March, the conference will address who is othered and made invisible as a result of underrepresentation in the wine and spirits industry. Gastronomy students and alumni will host these conversations, bringing together industry professionals from across the Boston beverage scene to discuss the existing barriers present within this community.

Conference sessions will foster conversations about the language, rhetoric, spaces, and events used to discuss, share, and sell wine and spirits. This virtual conference is broken down into six different discussions which are free and open to the public. Please register here to join in the conversation.

Tuesday March 2, 6 pm:  Crafting the Back Bar: Capitalism vs. Classism, with  Jared Sadoian, General Manager, Craigie on Main

Thursday, March 4, 6 pm: One Foot in the Saloon: Recreating Classist Spaces, with Kayla Quigley, local representative of Flor de Cana, a fair trade certified, natural rum company.

Tuesday, March 9, 6 pm: Creating Hospitality Through Diversity, with TJ & Hadley Douglas, owners of the award-winning wine shop Urban Grape, in Boston’s South End.

Thursday, March 11, 6 pm: We Deserve, with Ty-Juana Flores, Creator/Founder, Suhayl Ramirez, Industry Attaché, and Charlene Chinn, Business Strategist, TFLUXÈ. The TFLUXÈ mission is to diversify, disrupt, and demystify the landscape of the wine industry one sip at a time through curated virtual events for a growing community of BIPOC consumers.

Tuesday, March 16, 6 pm: Reckoning with Power Dynamics in the Wine World, with  Marie-Louise Friedland (Sommelier & Graduate Student) & Liz Mitchell (Advanced Sommelier, CMS)

Thursday, March 18, 6 pm, conference De-Brief Session: Let’s Discuss: Inclusivity in the Beverage Industry

Conference Registration link:

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