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Breaking boundaries: The CollectEve unveils its vision

Published:  26 April, 2024

A group of 12 female-led wine importers has united under the banner of The CollectEve, an innovative alliance committed to empowering women within the wine industry.

The inaugural tasting of The CollectEve took place 22 April at 67 Pall Mall. With a focus on networking, collaboration, sustainability and inclusivity, the group aims to challenge the prevailing norms within the industry.

In a post-event debrief, the founding members of The CollectEve engaged in a thought-provoking Q&A session with Harpers, delving into the necessity of such an initiative and outlining its ambitious plans for the future.

The founding members of The CollectEve are:

• Basket Press Wines

• Déja Bu Wines

• Ealing Wine Cellars

• Emile Wines

• Marta Vine

• Museum of Sake

• Okanagan Roots

• Sustainable Wine Solutions

• Special Cases

• The WineBarn

• Vinos Latinos

• Vins-Clairs

What specific challenges or barriers do women face in the wine industry that led to the creation of The CollectEve?

As a group we all face similar issues in the industry, such as visibility and finding an affordable platform to show our wines to trade professionals and journalists alike. Creating an opportunity to showcase the wonderful producers we represent in the UK market made sense, so we made it happen – and it was a brilliant success.

We decided to come together as a group to unite and celebrate our differences, diversity and each other’s expertise. We are all independent businesses, facing the same challenges, whether operational or financial. With The CollectEve we have extended our pool of knowledge and resources and we all now know that help is always within easy reach. We can share and exchange experiences and problems, and help find solutions collectively.

Can you discuss any gender disparities or inequalities present in the wine sector that The CollectEve aims to address?

It is funny you ask this question as none of us thought of this angle at all when planning this event. Gender disparities and inequalities are areas which will take a long time to change, it is an ongoing issue in all aspects of modern life. But we believe that by setting up The CollectEve we are sending a powerful message that we want to change the course and it is high time women came together to support each other and uplift our tribe.

We have all had similar experiences. Not being promoted or put forward for certain roles or sometimes simply not being recognised for our achievements. And despite being overachievers, it is only when we took full control and became business owners that we have been able to achieve what we wanted to. We have now given ourselves the platform we need to promote our companies.

Overall, our key objective is collaboration above competition and to inspire other women to forge their own career paths in the wine industry.

What impact does The CollectEve hope to have on the broader wine industry in terms of promoting diversity and representation of women?

We are firm believers that by uniting we can get better results and have more impact.  We simply want to give ourselves a platform and a presence in the wine trade, but also to inspire others and lead by example to show that success is within reach of anyone with ambition and a willingness to work hard, regardless of gender. 

How does The CollectEve plan to collaborate with other initiatives or organisations working towards gender equality and empowerment in the wine industry?

This is a great question and one that we would like to explore further. It’s still early days in our new collaboration and we do intend to use the momentum we’ve achieved so far as a force for good. We are open to exploring relationships with any initiatives or organisations with these goals. We’ve already felt how powerful the support can be. 

How does The CollectEve plan to engage with clients and consumers to introduce them to a world of extraordinary wines?

We are a strong team of importers, with an incredible reach and coverage of regions that deserve a place on wine lists. Our group has the ability to provide a unique offering for customers as we have wine styles/grape varieties covering so many bases. Collectively we offer wines from France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, South America, Japan and Canada. 

Starting with our inaugural tasting, we are entrusting everyone who attended to carry our voices through to their restaurants, wine shops, articles and other publications. We are here to promote great winemakers and we need professional partners to get them to the final consumer.

How do you ensure people come away from this talking about the wines as much as the event’s diversity initiative?

We hope that ultimately the wines speak for themselves and leave a lasting impression on those who attended the tasting. Our unique range of portfolios means that attendees had the opportunity to try wines from a huge selection of countries with a range of styles, all under one roof.

By combining our database of contacts, we successfully attracted a very diverse audience – welcoming all ages from the trade, from various backgrounds, which demonstrates the success of our collaboration, making the event as inclusive as possible.