Wine Geek of the Week Olivia Siu

Welcome to the Wine Geek of the Week
Where I ask my favorite wine geeks shitty questions!
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This week's guest is Olivia Siu @crazywineasian Co-Founder @vin.equity

Tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you a wine geek?     

Game of Thrones fans like to know every detail about the GOT universe and would go down rabbit holes of wiki articles and forums... See, like any wine geek, I enjoy reading everything that has to do with wine, far beyond the beverage itself. Thankfully, unlike GOT, our wine world is not fictional, so the time spent on reading about wine to my heart's content is time well spent learning about the world we live in!

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Extraterrestrials just landed on earth. What wine do you pour them? 
The empty bottle on my desk seems quite fitting. It is Green Glow by Supernatural Wine Co., a skin fermented Sauv Blanc from Hawke’s Bay New Zealand. The wine was pretty supernatural... which makes it an appropriate greeting wine for our supernatural tourists!
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What's your favorite scent you have ever smelled in a wine?

Bacon.

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Any favorite music or podcasts you like to listen to while you drink wine?

Anything from Caravan Palace. They are good at painting the space around you with positivity. I highly recommend. 

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If you could visit any wine region in the world right now what would it be any why?

Southern Argentina, so I can live my mountain dreams (and drink cool-climate Argentinian wines!)

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What do you think is the most exciting thing going in the world of wine right now?

A growing contemporary wine culture that comes along with a growing appetite for low-intervention wines. What appeared to be a movement brewing underground for a long time has grown considerably since COVID, thanks to social media entering the wine world’s mainstream. I am excited to see more collaboration between wine and contemporary artists, believing it is a great way to recruit a new generation of wine drinkers and bring more diversity to the wine industry. 

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What would you like to see in the future of wine?

I would like to see more BIPOC professionals taking on leadership roles in North American wine companies. If you look at the board of directors and executive members, it is evident that leadership lacks diversity. Change takes time, and there are a lot of non-profit organizations popping up over the past year with the goal of normalizing diversity in wine! 

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What advice would you give yourself looking back to when you first started working in the wine industry?

Study the business of wine. It forces you to take off the rose-tinted glasses and understand how the wine industry operates. 

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Who are some people that inspire you in the world of wine? 

Most of the people that inspire me also happen to be educators. Carmine Caravaggio, my WSET 2 teacher, I am in awe with his education style. Madeline Puckette, Wine Folly, ‘nuff said. Pascaline Lepeltier, my Loire hero. Oh, and Vanessa Price, her book Big Mac & Burgundy and IG are great sources of creative inspiration!

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Anything in the works you'd like to mention or promote? 

I’d like to promote Vinequity (@vin.equity), a federally incorporated non-profit on a mission to empower Canadian BIPOC wine professionals with equitable treatment and opportunities to access, grow and thrive as visible leaders in the Canadian Wine Industry. Vinequity is working towards this goal through the following three pillars: 

1) Host a national online directory of BIPOC wine professionals to heighten the community’s visibility,  

2) Raise and award wine education funds to BIPOC applicants wishing to further their wine industry careers in Canada, and 

3) Provide advocacy and resources, mentorship and educational opportunities, to help BIPOC professionals overcome systemic barriers. 

We recently awarded our first round of mentorship program where we matched 7 mentees with their mentors. Soon we will be rolling out scholarship applications, made possible with the help of our generous sponsors. These resources are all available, free of charge, to people who have created a profile in the Vinequity Directory, and we hope our initiatives can reach as many Canadians as possible, so we can help as many people as possible.

Website: vinequity.ca

Feel free to also check out my website at crazywineasian.com for Loire-focused educational materials and occasional opinion pieces.

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Thank you Olivia!

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