Monique Bell leads a presentation of her research into Black-owned wineries on April 21 during the inaugural Craig Talks event at Fresno State.

published on April 25, 2022 - 2:28 PM
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“Wine, Water & Land” was the theme for an inaugural event at Fresno State’s Craig School of Business last week celebrating the revamped Central California Business Review publication.

The publication took a hiatus for 2021. With its return for April the Craig School hosted a reception dubbed “Craig Talks” April 21 to highlight the three stories written by Craig School faculty members based off of their research.

Monique Bell, associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Logistics, shared research she gathered during sabbatical about Black entrepreneurs in the wine industry.

While less than 1% of U.S. wineries are Black-owned, Fresno State lays claim to a number of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) wine entrepreneurs including alumna and winemaker Tara Gomez; former Fresno State basketball player and Center Cork wine label owner Demetrius Porter and current enology student and wine influencer Justine Osilla.

As part of her research, Bell surveyed more than 100 Black wine entrepreneurs in 2020 during the summer protests of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. A majority of vintner respondents cited inclusion as a key motivation for starting their businesses.

A movement to support Black-owned businesses led to increased publicity, awareness and sales for these vintners, but one respondent expressed a sense of “survivor’s guilt.”

“… I had that sense of guilt and trying to be successful in the same environment where this man has just lost his life. I struggled so hard, emotionally and personally, to find that center again,” according to the report.

Fresno State industry faculty fellow Cordie Qualle and Laura Ramos, associate director of the California Water Institute, shared their research into the “wicked water problems” plaguing the Central Valley. Michael Shires, associated professor at Pepperdine University, also co-authored the piece, with his focus on the economic impact of drought on the Westlands Water District.

Jacquelin Curry, assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Business Law, presented the latest results of the Real Estate Sentiment Index that is sent to about 1,500 real estate professionals in the region. In a piece co-authored by Gazarian Real Estate Center Director Andres Jauregui, they found that overall sentiment has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, “yet they do reflect progressive improvements as real estate markets adjust.”

After the presentation, there was a reception featuring wine from Black-owned vintners.

For more information about the next Craig Talks event, be sure to visit the Craig School website.

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