To Make the Wine Industry Less Toxic, We Need to Get Loud


The sexual assault allegations against sommelier Anthony Cailan make clear that the wine world has work to do. But how do you change the culture of a business that is built on drinking?

…we need to be more proactive about changing the culture so that sexual harassment stops happening, period. Those of us in leadership positions—shop owners, importers, event organizers, winemakers—need to ensure that our bars, restaurants, wineries, festivals, and other events are inclusive and safe for everyone.

That means creating zero-tolerance policies for toxic behavior—then clearly stating and enforcing those policies. It means using tools like The Color Code of Conduct, a simple system for calling out sexual harassment in restaurants, created by the women-led team at Homeroom in Oakland. Or adopting programs like Safe Bars, a D.C.-based program that trains bar staff to handle sexual harassment and assault. These types of policies empower people by giving them the tools they need to respond when something doesn't feel right.

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