Flight for Allyship debuts at Santana Row; aims to highlight Asian American winemakers in Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new partnership between winemakers and restaurants is taking flight at Santana Row in San Jose.

Serena Harkey, wine director at Vine Dining Enterprises, is behind the Flight for Allyship, a new program that aims to feature under-represented winemakers. The effort started last summer following the Black Lives Matter protests, but this month, she's putting the spotlight on Asian American winemakers who are based in the Bay Area.

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"With what's happening in the AAPI community now, we recognize that this was really the time to acknowledge that community and give back, and shed a light and have some exposure for those producers who need it," said Harkey.

To help curate the program, Harkey worked with an organization called Diversity in Food and Beverage, an inclusive community for those who advocate for equality and equity in the hospitality industry. A portion of the proceeds will go to support their work.

Representation matters," said Lia Jones, DIFB executive director. "When you see someone that looks like you, it's compelling, it's welcoming, and it's giving people a sense of belonging."

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The wine flight will be available at Left Bank Brasserie, LB Steak, and Meso Modern Mediterranean. Kenny Likitprakong, one of the featured winemakers, was glad to see both his Ghostwriter Pinot Noir and his Hobo Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon getting some love.

"The people behind a bottle of wine are as important and as big a part of the story as the place and the variety," said Likitprakong.

Hospitality veterans say it's a chance to not only empower those in the industry but to also educate consumers.

"It is about bringing people together," said Harkey. "It's about the community and this is just another opportunity to enhance that and get to know someone you wouldn't necessarily have before."

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