Image Courtesy of Ashleigh Frans
If It Weren’t for The Hue Society the Wine World Would Undoubtedly Be a Less Diverse Place.
Using the skills she learned working in leadership positions in restaurants, coupled with her desire to see people of color represented in the wine industry, Tahiirah Habibi founded The Hue Society in 2017. The organization is dedicated to increasing Black, Brown and Indigenous representation in and access to the wine industry.
A skilled entrepreneur, Habibi wanted to focus her efforts on giving back to the Black community, which has been historically underrepresented in wine: “The standards of this industry are polarizing for many of us; oftentimes we are not allowed to be ourselves. I created The Hue Society because of and despite those experiences—because I know that connections are healing.”
While working as a sommelier at renowned restaurants, Habibi found she was constantly made to feel she didn’t belong in the wine industry. So, she founded the community-based organization to better the experiences of fellow colleagues of color she knew were battling similar barriers.
The Hue Society is in a unique position to empower not only Black, Brown and Indigenous wine professionals but consumers as well. “We amplify, educate and increase economic impact across the board,” says Habibi. The organization connects a community of innovators, educators, sommeliers, winemakers and wine professionals and bridges the economic and representation gap of the global wine industry for communities of color.
The community-based group hosts events, organizes engagements and opportunities that further enriches wine knowledge and gains a direct connection to influential professionals.
By centering members of the wine industry who have been historically overlooked, The Hue Society is helping to set a precedent for the industry. Habibi knows a little something about setting a precedent. In 2020, she became the first Black woman to grace the cover of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
As for the future of the wine industry, Habibi believes The Hue Society and its ideals are the future. And she’s not just referring to Black and Brown people in wine. “We welcome everyone who is committed to fostering equitable and joyous environments.”
Habibi wants to leave a legacy of inclusivity that will continue to be the new standard of the wine community. “We all belong,” she says.