Nottingham Cellars in Livermore is discontinuing its flagship red blend, Supremacy, upon deciding that the name is insensitive to the Black community.
The move comes as part of the Vasco Road winery's #endSupremacy initiative, a wider effort on the part of the Nottingham team to expand inclusion in the winemaking industry. Nottingham Cellars is owned by Collin Cranor with his parents Jeff and Diane Cranor of Danville.
"When Nottingham Cellars opened its doors in 2009, the Supremacy program was launched in hopes to capture and represent the best that the Livermore Valley had to offer. It was never their intention for it to represent anything other than the pinnacle of winemaking here in the valley," explained Jeremy Troupe-Masi, Collin Cranor's partner on the initiative.
"With that being said, regardless of their initial intent, the name is insensitive and after eight vintages, they decided enough was enough,"Troupe-Masi said. "In 2016, Collin Cranor and his father Jeff made the decision that this vintage would be the last for the flagship. In light of all that is happening, we made the decision that rather than let the name simply fade away, we would make a statement and launch this #endSupremacy initiative."
The initiative aims to create "a future of inclusion and taking an active stance to end systemic oppression," according to a statement on the winery's website.
Nottingham is working to develop a successor to Supremacy, though details are still being finalized.
As they sell the remaining inventory of Supremacy, 15% of all sales will go to the Oakland chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. with a goal of raising $30,000. They will continue donating 15% of all sales even after the Supremacy inventory is depleted.
100 Black Men of America, Inc. is an organization that "serves to create environments where our children are motivated to achieve and to empower our people to become self-sufficient shareholders in the economic and social fabric of the communities they serve," according to Troupe-Masi.
The Cranor family first learned of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. when they met chairman Thomas W. Dortch in 2017 and were impressed by the mission statement of the organization and, more significantly, the results that the organization was able to produce.
"(Dortch's) passion for our wines was undeniable, and conversations of making wine for the organization began," Troupe-Masi said. He explained that Nottingham Cellars then created a red blend called 'Significant GSM', and 100% of the proceeds of this wine are directed back to 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to support the group's programs.
"When it came to doing more with the #endSupremacy program, we knew immediately that we wanted to do more to feed this vast and powerful team and organization," he stated.
"Our long-term goal is to work alongside their local Oakland chapter, further developing their hospitality sector," Troupe-Masi continued. "We believe that this program will begin to serve as the bridge that connects us to talented, hungry, and motivated young (African American professionals) looking to make a difference. Achieving our goal of $30,000 raised in year one would give opportunities to over 20 mentees."
"We believe it is time that we collectively prioritize the well-being and social equity of our employees as much as the guests who choose to visit us," Troupe-Masi said.
Nottingham Cellars is not alone in its push for more racial awareness in the wine industry.
Enter Phil Long, owner and operator of Longevity Wines and a San Ramon resident. Longevity Wines, located near Nottingham Cellars on Vasco Road, is one of approximately two dozen Black-owned wineries in the United States.
Earlier this year, Long was appointed president of the Association of African-American Vintners (AAAV). Founded by Mac McDonald in 2002, the AAAV's mission is to promote awareness of Black winemakers and winegrowers in the industry, promote their products, and, most importantly, "pave a path for future generations of African-Americans in this industry," Long explained.
"We have a scholarship fund with the United Negro College Fund for African-American winemakers, vinologists and viticulturalists," Long said. "We are partnering with several other entities to pave a path for more scholarships from level one all the way to master's. We're also partnering with national magazines to continue promoting awareness and to keep this train rolling that got rolling under unfortunate circumstances."